Chinese Lion's Head Meatballs Braise 红烧狮子头

Isn't that just meatballs? Why is it called Lion's Head Meatballs 红烧狮子头? This Shanghai casserole dish has such a name because the typically over-sized meatballs is like the "head of the lion" braised with surrounding Napa cabbage that resembles "the lion's mane".

For the recipe today, I have tried to simplify the preparation and cooking, hoping to achieve a healthier yet delicious dish.

First, for those who avoids deep-frying at home, this lion head meatball recipe shares a over-roasted meatball version that eases up stove-top deep-frying. Second, the meatballs are of standard meatball size (not over-sized) so that cooking or baking time can be easily managed. For example, if you deep-fry a gigantic meatball, it takes a much longer time to cook through the meat compared to smaller meatballs.

While the meatballs are baking/cooking, multi-task by starting a braising liquid with mushrooms and vegetables, then later braise and simmer the meatballs with the vegetables to combine the natural sweet flavors of Napa cabbage and savory meatballs.

Chinese Lion's Head Meatballs Braise with Cabbage & Mushrooms 红烧狮子头
1 shallot, finely minced
1tsp finely minced ginger
2-3 cloves garlic
1 Thai chili,/fresh red chili
3-4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 handful bunashimeji mushrooms
12-15 Napa cabbage
4-5 Bok Choy
1tsp light soy sauce
1tsp dark soy sauce
Chicken stock or water
Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste

[Meatballs]: 1lb ground chicken or pork or turkey, egg white of 1 organic egg
[Seasoning]: 1tsp finely minced ginger, 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce, 1/2 tsp light soy sauce, 1tsp cooking wine, 1 tbsp chopped green onions, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, pinch of ground white pepper

Directions: Preheat oven 375F. Line the baking tray with parching paper and brush some oil on the baking sheet. Season the pork/chicken with all the seasoning ingredients, then add the egg white to combine and shape them into meatballs. Lay on baking sheet. Bake in oven for 25mins. Remove and set aside.

Saute shallots, ginger, garlic, and chili till fragrant. Add in shiitake mushrooms, and add soy sauce, then saute till the msuhrooms soften and reduce slightly in volume. Add in chicken stock or water to partially submerge the mushoom and simmer for about 8 minute till mushrooms are tender. Add in napa cabbage, bok choy, and beech mushrooms, add in meatballs, cover the pot, and simmer at low-medium heat till the vegetables are cooked and all the flavors of the vegeatbles and meatballs are combined. Salt and pepepr to taste, and drizzle of sesame oil to impart aroma before serving the dish warm.

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