Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Guest Post - Braised Lion Head Meatballs 紅燒獅子頭
My lovely friend Kenny from Chic Eats has just requested a guest post for his wonderful blog over our chat on MSN after seeing one I did for Velva. I am extremely touched to be given such honour but the only problem is - it has to be posted on his birthday which is a few hours away (I'm typing this while we are chatting). I have chosen an everyday dish that will shine at any fancy banquet and hopefully it will be good enough for our foodie birthday boy. 福如東海，壽比南山！Do spend some time exploring his blog, it will be very useful if you are planning a trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan soon!
Please read on before calling the RSPCA as endanger animal parts were not used in the dish! This is a classic dish from Zhejiang Province in China; there are many versions from other provinces, when it comes to lion head meatballs this is the version that I know and love best. As with many other Chinese dishes, poetic names are often given, in this dish the meatballs are supposed to resemble the lion heads and the cabbage leaves the lion's mane. You may stew the cabbage together with the meatballs but I like them to maintain the refreshing colour and crunch to lighten up this otherwise a very rich and dull looking dish.
P.S The water chestnuts give these 'melt in your mouth' meatballs a wonderful crunch and by frying the rock sugar first will ensure a sauce with a very desirable colour time after time.
serves 6 as part of a Chinese meal
for the meatballs;
1kg minced pork (30fat/70meat)
1 can or fresh water chestnut (227g), chopped
1.5 tbs of grated ginger
2 spring onions (white part only), chopped
dash of soy
dash of white pepper
dash of Chinese cooking wine
dash of sesame oil
6 Chinese cabbage leaves, halved lengthwise and blanched just before serving
peanut oil for deep frying
rice flour for dusting
for the sauce;
2 star anise
5 slices of ginger
2 spring onions (white part only)
4 tbs of rock sugar, crushed
1/2 cup of light soy
2 tbs of dark soy
1/2 cup of Chinese cooking wine
1.5 l of water or chicken stock
corn flour solution
Place meatballs ingredients in a large bowl, using your hand with a circular motion mix everything til well combined. Throw the meat mixture against the side of the bowl several time to get a nice firm ball.
Divide mixture into 12 equal size balls and dust each meatballs with some rice flour.
Deep-fry meatballs in batches til golden, drain well.
Heat up 3 tbs of peanut oil in a pot and add in the rock sugar, stir for a few minutes til sugar dissolves and turns a nice caramel colour. Add in the garlic, ginger, spring onions and star anise and continue to fry for a minute of so. Pour in the stock and add the 2 types of soys and Chinese cooking wine.
Return the meatballs into the broth and simmer on very low heat for 2 hours. Thicken the sauce with a little corn flour solution when it is done.
Wrap each meatball with a piece of Chinese cabbage leaf and pour the sauce over. You'll need plenty of steamed rice with this.