Lion’s Head Casserole is a traditional pork meatball dish that every Chinese kid is familiar with. It’s definitely Chinese comfort food. There are so many variations of this recipe out there from different regions and just varying family tradition. Most use some sort of filler, bread, breadcrumbs, or tofu, but my mom’s version doesn’t. She said that my brother and I preferred it this way as kids. She also says that if you use tofu, it must be eaten within two days or the meatballs will get a little sour. In any variation, this is a great make-ahead meal. I think it actually tastes better the next day.

Lion's Head Casserole 3

Kelly’s Lion’s Head Casserole
~makes 6 large meatballs

  • 1 small head napa cabbage
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup + 5 teaspoons water. divided
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • salt to taste
  • rice to serve

Instructions –

1. Separate and clean the leaves of the napa cabbage. Cut them into 2″ wide segments and separate the stem pieces from the leaf pieces. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl. mix together ground pork, scallion, soy sauce, sugar, and 2 pinches of salt. Sprinkle cornstarch over the mixture, add 5 teaspoons water, and mix thoroughly.

3. Heat the oil in a wok on medium high heat, while dividing the meat into 6 meatballs. Fry meatballs until brown all over, by turning them.

forming meatballs frying meatballs

4. When the meatballs are done, remove them to a medium sized clay pot (traditional) or Le Creuset/dutch oven (what I used). Set aside.

5. Dump most of the oil out of the wok, leaving just a thin coating, and stir fry the stem pieces of the napa cabbage lightly with a little salt. Transfer into pot with meatballs. Pour in 1 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil on high heat.

Lion's Head Casserole

6. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the leafy pieces and cover, just until the leaves soften. Serve with rice or save for tomorrow.

Lion's Head Casserole 2

*Notes: Napa Cabbage lets out a lot of water. If it’s too wet, you can thicken with a slurry (cornstarch and water) or add Mung Bean Thread/Cellophane Noodles at the end.

posted by jessica at 02:11 PM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.