Updated: Oct 1, 2021
This is a Japanese version of a Chinese dish that goes by the name of "Lion's head" meat balls.
Apparently, the meat balls wreathed in cabbage are said to resemble the head of a lion. I'm not sure any self-respecting lion would be happy with the comparison but they would probably gobble up a few of the meatballs given half the chance as they are rather tasty.
The Japanese version of this recipe tends to keep the flavours quite subtle - no wham bam of garlic and ginger, just a laid back flavour that you can really savour. Of course, if you find it too subtle, you can always up the seasoning to suit your taste. This dish typically has the meat balls fried or braised but I simply pop them in the broth and simmer them for a few minutes - that makes this dish quick and healthier too! I serve this with bowls of freshly steamed white rice but it goes equally well with noodles too.
If you 'd like to try this recipe, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Lion Head meatballs or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
(PS: leave any leftover meatballs in the broth over night and they'll make the flavour even better the next day!)
For another Chinese inspired dish, why not check out my Bang Bang Chicken with Noodles.
Lion Head meatballs
(makes 2 servings)
1 clove garlic
1 x 5mm slice ginger
2 spring onions
250g minced pork
1.5 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp chinese cooking wine*
2 tsp plain flour
1 tsp sesame oil
4 chinese leaves
2 shiitake mushrooms
1 bundle of vermiccilli
a little pepper
1/2 tsp salt**
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp vegetable bouillion or chinese stock
*you can use Japanese cooking sake or a dry white wine as a substitute
**optional according to your taste
mince the ginger & garlic
finely chop the spring onions
combine the minced pork, ginger, garlic, spring onion, flour, cooking wine, sesame oil
& soy sauce and mix well in a bowl
roll 1 heaped dessert spoon of the mixture into a meat ball
(you should be able to make 10-12 balls)
remove the ends of shiitake mushrooms and slice
cut the chinese leaves into bite sized pieces
pour the water and stock powder into a pan, bring to the boil and cook the meatballs for 2 mins
add the shiitake & leaves to the pan and cook for 2 mins
add the pepper & soy sauce to the pan and salt to taste
add the vermiccilli to the pan and cook for a further 2 mins
your dish is now ready for the table
serve with freshly steamed rice