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 egg
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.


  1. I've heard of these many times but never had them (strange, as I am half Chinese). Maybe it's time I made them myself. They look fabulous!

  2. Harriet from CarltonFebruary 24, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Oh you have been very busy guest posting :) Another marvelous dish and the photos say come eat me :)

  3. That is so sweet of you! I love lion head meatballs and you certainly has made it look very easy to prepare! Beautiful photos!

  4. wonderful! Your post makes this look so simple to make!

    I might try this :D

  5. Hey buddy that is very sweet of you to do a last minute guest post :) The dish certainly will shine at any banquet! Cheers buddy!

  6. 好吃好吃很好吃 , it is my son Jermaine's BD today and we have celebrated for him on Monday since it was his off day from his school vacation job.

  7. These look fantastic. Chinese is one of my favorites!

  8. OMG they are stunning! I can imagine biting into the water chestnut pieces..... Certainly has the wow factor! :)

  9. I am blessed to have this post as my guest post, thank you so much!!!

  10. Have you cooked the same dishes twice since you started your blog? This is one big plate of goodness, how much stock should be used?

  11. You are so sweet! :) You are cooking all the classic dishes and this is making me extremely homesick :(
    I have tried making them but the result was rather disappointing, I'm going to try yours! The photos are great as usual!

  12. I've read about these before but haven't made them yet. This recipe sounds great, I'm definitely stealing it.

  13. I just saw this at Kenny's and was marvelling at it! it is truly a beautiful dish!!bravo!

  14. I haven't been here for a while, what a wonderful dish to welcome me back lol
    Lovely photos!!!

  15. Hungry dog,
    Haha yeah you must give it a try! Thanks :)

    Haha thanks! It is a great experience! :)

    Thank you! It is very easy indeed! :)

    Brisbane Baker ,
    Thank you and please do!

    Hey buddy,
    Thanks it is all great fun :) It certainly is good enough for a banquet!

    Thank you! Wish him happy birthday from us too!

    Thank you! There are more Chinese dishes on the way ;)

    Haha thank you ! :)

    You are most welcome my friend!

    love to eat,
    MMM all the time, I'm also trying to take new photos for my older posts :) I have just put the amount up, You only need enough to cover the meatballs.

    thank you! Oh there are going to be more classics coming up ;)

    Please do :)

    Haha thank you very much! :)

    Welcome back I'm glad you like this dish! Thank you!

  16. This looks like a restaurant dish....beautiful presenttaion and I'm sure it's very delicious.

  17. I've watched an episode of Martin Yan cooking this before but I haven't try making it myself. Yours look really good :)

  18. Another great recipe but you need to get back to Sichuan !

  19. Anncoo,
    Thank you very much!

    Haha thank you :)

    大肥 ,

    Oh You must give it a try then :)

    Mr Noodles,
    Thanks , there will be more Sichuan dishes, just need to space them out a little.

  20. You have been a busy boy! What a good looking dish! Well done!

  21. la recette de ces boulettes est superbe, un mélange de saveurs irrésistible, en plus avec une jolie présentation
    bonne journée

  22. I had started to worry about the lion head thing... phew!!

  23. woww..looks delicious :)...neer of this before but the name itselfsounds attarctive towards the dish :)

  24. I love this dish but I am not a good cook. Will try your recipe. Haha hopefully successful. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Yasmin,
    Haha not really! Thank you!

    Fimère ,
    merci beaucoup!

    Eternally Distracted ,
    Haha :)

    Thank you, you must try making it!

    All the best and make sure to let me know the result!

  26. WOw, that looks meat balls...its been ages I made them at home. I liek ur step by step pictures, very useful...will try this real soon:)

  27. Meatballs is one of my favorite comfort food. I love the poetic name and the artistic presentation.

  28. Wow..that looks too good..The name confused me a bit B'day to Kenny

  29. I've heard of this name before and your dish is sooooo mouth-watering. Must 'tambah nasi'!

  30. LOL! I wasn't sure what to expect with the title Lion's head meatballs, but these look divine!

  31. I saw this post over at Kenny's blog and I was so excited! I love meatballs and these meatballs look fantastic!! Love it!

  32. Malar,
    Thank you! I'm glad they are useful to you! Please try and let me know!

    Cool Lassi(e) ,
    Oh thank you very much!


    Gulmohar ,
    Haha thanks! There will be more confusing names in the future lol.

    Thank you! Certainly must tambah nasi!

    Sinful Southern Sweets ,
    Haha thank you very much!

    Thank you! Do try making them :)

  33. Oh yeah! this is what I'm talking about.

  34. This looks awsome! I had this once when I was in Beijing, thanks for making it looks so easy to do it at home!

  35. Omg, am hungry now..Such a delicious meat balls ..U r rocking gal!

  36. Happy Birthday to Kenny T! Kenny is a smart guy to ask for you to do a guest post on his birthday. This is a great guest post!

    I think we will soon ask to pull up a chair at your table and enjoy some of your wonderful dishes.

  37. looks amazing wow your a busy boy guest posting but your blog rocks, have to get over to Kenny's blog and wish him happy birthday he is so sweet

  38. I have been without a computer for a month, now I have so much to catch up with lol. Great looking meat balls you have it there!!

  39. love the balls!!! i got the same ingredients here from the dumplings i made days ago but ummm i have to refrain today coz im too lazy to braise for 2 hours and im hungryyyy loll

    good recipe and the balls look very very delicious!

  40. I always how to make these lion heads. Eaten heaps of them as well... heh

  41. Alex,
    I'm glad this does it for you!

    Thank you! It is very easy indeed!

    kothiyavunu ,
    Thank you very much!

    Velva ,
    Haha very smart indeed!
    That would be so great!!

    Haha thank you very much! :)

    Mary G,
    Welcome back! Take your time to enjoy!

    Thank you very much!
    It is very easy to prepare, it does take time lol

    Oh looks like you are very familiar with them :)

    Somewhere in Singapore ,
    Haha thank you!

  42. Hey!

    I would like to make this but how much garlic did you use? Sorry I am such a noob in cooking!


  43. Quinn,
    Hey you may use 3 to 4 cloves, they will dissolve at the end :)


Please leave a note. I love to know what you think!

press me

3 hungry tummies

My photo
melbourne, victoria, Australia