Destination Flavour China: Episode 4 

Lion Head Meatballs

A dish named simply for it's size, Adam Liaw shows how to recreate this delicious Lion Head Meatball dish in your own kitchen.

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Now, the reason they're called Lion Head Meatballs is that they're actually just giant meatballs that have a main of green vegetables around them.

A bit of pork mince. Some water chestnuts, these a lovely when they're fresh. A couple of aromatics and some ginger and onion. And then these green vegetables will be the main around the outside. To this, I'm adding some ginger and spring onion and these will help flavor my pork mince. And it just needs a very, very simple seasoning. A touch of salt, a bit of sugar, just a dash of white pepper and a bit of yellow wine, Shaoxing wine. Shaoxing wine is a rice wine similar to a dry sherry.

Whenever you're stirring a minced meat filling like this, stirring in only one direction aligns the protein filaments of the meat and that allows it to trap more moisture, which gives you a more tender and delicious dumpling or meatball. The meatballs need to be fried until they're browned. And while that's happening, I'll prepare that bing-bung signature, a red brazing sauce. A rich, sweet and salty mix of sugar, dark and light soy sauce, and of course, some of that Shaoxing wine. When the meatballs are nicely browned, I'll take them out and put them straight into my braising liquid.

And I just need to top up my braising liquid with some good chicken stock. I swear to you, chicken stock or any good stock is the building block of Chinese cuisine. While the meatballs are braising, I'm going to cook my greens, and that's going to be the main that goes around the outside. The most common Chinese way to cook greens is just to quickly boil them in salted water with some oil added to the water for gloss. The meatballs braise for nearly two hours, by which time they're tender, and have absorbed that rich bing-bung flavor.

Now, these look absolutely fantastic.

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