[CC cooks]: 獅子球 (Lion’s head meatballs)

獅子球
I’m sure many of you have heard of 獅子球, or literally Lion’s head meatballs. This is a Shanghai dish and it’s named as such due to the sheer size of the meatballs. They are usually absolutely massive in comparison to…for example, IKEA meatballs. 獅子球 are probably at least 4-5 of those all mushed up and moulded into a ball. 
Anyway, this is a very simple dish to make actually and it’s one of the first things Dad showed me how to make. From making the mince meat mixture to the sauce. Keep reading to see how it’s done! 

Recipe (serves 6-8)
(CC, aka. Dumpling Love & her Daddy)
Meatballs
500g pork mince
Ginger, finely chopped or grated
Spring onion, finely chopped
Coriander, finely chopped (optional)
Water chestnut, diced (not too finely, but not too big)
1 egg
Water
1/2 tspn Chicken powder (I use KNORR brand)
Light soy sauce, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Xiaohing cooking wine
Canola/Vegetable/Olive oil (best to use “used” oil because it’s more fragrant. Can also use shallot oil).
Sesame oil
Sauce
3 star anise
Spring onion, cut into strips
2-3 slices of ginger
2 chillis (optional) 
Chinese cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
Water
Light soy sauce, to taste
Dark soy sauce, for colour
Sugar, to taste

Glass noodles, soaked (optional – I used sweet potato noodles)
Cornstarch solution = cornstarch + water

1. Combine the mince, ginger, spring onion, coriander and water chestnut and mix until combined. 
2. Add some xiaohing wine, water, oil, the pepper, light soy sauce, sugar, and chicken powder. Continue to mix. It should start to form a gummy thick paste. (*Do not add too much water yet, because the egg will continue to add some liquid and you don’t want a super-wet mixture).
3. Add egg and mix to combine. If the mixture looks a bit dry, add a bit more water. The mixture should be semi-stiff and should have a slight glaze on it from the oil, if not then add a bit more oil.
4. Add a small bit of sesame oil for fragrance.**You can opt to fry a small portion of this for taste, but I can kind of tell from smelling it too. 
5. Heat some oil in a wok to first cook the meatballs. (I pan-fry them, that’s why they’re not exactly round). 
6. Cook each meatball until around 80-85% cooked and dish out. 
7. When you’re up to the last few meatballs, push them to one side and add some oil in the centre of the wok and fry the spring onion, ginger, star anise until fragrant.  (*You can also just take all meatballs out if you wish)
8. Add the Chinese cabbage and fry a bit until fragrant, then add the chilli.
9. Add water to make as much sauce as you want, and let it boil, then add all meatballs and bring to a boil.
10. Add light soy sauce to taste (remember the meatballs also have flavour), dark soy sauce for some colour, and sugar to taste. Let it boil.
11. Test the flavours are all right for you and the meatballs are cooked, then add the glass noodles if using. 
12. When the noodles have soften to the desirable consistency, and the sauce is boiling, add the cornstarch solution until sauce has reached a thickened consistency to your liking. 
13. Add a few drops of sesame oil and dish out. 
14. EAT! It’s perfect with a nice bowl of rice! 
 

Ok, I would like to apologise profusely for my bad recipe. But my cooking style is very much not measurements and just taste as I cook. I have tried to put *some* measurements in there, but with the sauce, it really depends on your own and your family’s preferences so you need to adjust as necessary.

Dad typically adds quite a bit of oil into the meatball mixture but I don’t think it’s necessary for the homecook so I reduce it significantly. It’s more to make the meat smoother but I think it can also be achieved with the addition of the egg. Notice also, we don’t add any flours/starches into our meatball mixture so it’s PURE meaty and fragrant herbs goodness! Plus, the crunch from the water chestnut! =)

Hope my recipe is ok enough for some of you to try this at home. If you do, let me know if it works and if there is anything you think I should clarify in the recipe, let me know and I’ll update it!

Thanks for reading! ^^ Happy cooking!

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