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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lion's Head

The plain variety is usually stewed or steamed with napa cabbage. The red variety can be stewed with cabbage or cooked with bamboo shoots and tofu derivatives. The minced meat in the meatball tends to be made from fatty pork (lean pork making for a less desirable taste), often with some chopped water chestnut for textural variation.

The name derives from the shape of the meatball which is supposed to resemble the head of the lion and the cabbage (or other vegetables), which is supposed to resemble the lion's mane.

The dish originated in the region of Yangzhou and Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, with the plain variety more common in Yangzhou and the red variety more common in Zhenjiang. The dish became a part of Shanghai cuisine with the influx of migrants in the 19th and early 20th century.

In Northern China, especially in Beijing, the dish is known as "Sixi Wanzi" (四喜丸子,"Four Happy Balls") because the meatballs are usually served in a set of four. These meatballs tend to be smaller than the Southern variety.

Ingredients A
600g minced meat  |  100g water chestnuts (minced)  | 
100g carrot (minced)  |  2 stalks of spring onion (only white portion, minced)  |

seasoning A
1tablespoon oyster sauce  |  1 tablespoon light soy sauce  |  1 tablespoon corn starch  | 
little bit of pepper  |

Ingredient B
200g Chinese cabbage (thick strips)  | 
1tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water (for thickening gravy.)

seasoning B

500ml water  |  1 tablespoon soy sauce  |  1 tablespoon light soy sauce  | 
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce  |  1 teaspoon sesame oil  |
mix all ingredient A with seasoning A set aside for 30 minutes.

Divide into 10 portions and shape them into meat balls.

Deep-fry until golden brown, drain and set aside.

Bring seasoning B to boil, add in meat ball and chinese cabbage and simmer with lowest heat
for 30 minutes, thicken gravy with corn starch water.

Dish out and serve with steam rice.