Lion’s Head Meatballs

fixed meatballs

This is a dish from Shanghai. It is called lion’s head because the meatballs are quite large and are supposed to resemble a lion’s head. It is usually served with steamed cabbage which is supposed to resemble the lion’s mane. The meatballs are first browned in a pan and then steamed with the vegetables. I like to eat it with some stir-fry mushrooms which I end up eating all by myself since my husband can barely look at them.


500gr Minced pork (not lean)

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of rice wine or dry sherry

1 ½ tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

2 spring onions, chopped

2 tablespoons of ginger, chopped

1 egg

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

5 baby Pak Choi, Bok Choy or a Napa cabbage

1 tablespoon of vegetable stock (optional)

100gr Enoki mushroom or any other that you like

½ clove of garlic

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

White rice to serve


First separate each leaf of the Pak Choi and wash them. Don’t worry about drying them. The water on the leaves will help to steam the meatballs later. Assemble all the leaves at the bottom of a large pan with a lid.

Add some vegetable oil to another pan and over medium-high heat allow to heat up.

In a large bowl, mix the minced pork with the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, salt, spring onion, ginger, egg and cornstarch. Mix it all through. I like to use gloves because it is very sticky. Then form large balls, larger than a golf ball. It makes about 8 meatballs. The dough is quite wet and sticky so don’t worry about them being a perfect round shape. Place each ball in the pan, and brown both sides. It doesn’t have to be completely cooked because it will finish cooking while steaming.

Once the meatballs are browned on both sides, remove from the heat and place them on top of the Pak Choi. You can add here one tablespoon of vegetable stock to help the steaming, but I find that if you didn’t dry the Pak Choi, that bit of water plus the juices of the meatballs create enough moisture. Cover and let it steam for 15 minutes.


While the meatballs are finishing cooking, stir-fry the mushrooms with the garlic and some salt.

Serve with white rice.






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