Baby Lion’s Head Meatballs With Braised Cabbage Recipe

Baby Lion’s Head Meatballs With Braised Cabbage Recipe


  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 2 bunches scallions, both white and green parts chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine for cooking (preferably Shaoxing, or substitute with a dry sake)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 8-10 whole leaves cabbage (preferably napa, savoy or Taiwan cabbage, but green cabbage may be substituted)
  • 3-4 tablespoons neutral oil such as vegetable, peanut or canola
  1. Combine all the ingredients besides the 1/4 cup rice wine and the cabbage in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. (Mixture may be covered and chilled up to 2 days before use.)
  2. Meanwhile, remove the toughest, thickest, whitest ribs from the celery leaves. Finely chop these pieces (you should have about 1/4-1/2 cup of them chopped) and fold them into the meatball mixture. Tear the remaining cabbage leaves into halves and set aside.
  3. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan or wok over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of the oil to coat the pan. Scoop the meatball mixture with a large spoon or an ice cream scoop to create 1-2″ or so balls (or whatever size you like) and place them on the pan immediately. Continue scooping and placing the balls directly on the pan until the pan is filled with meatballs no closer than 1 inch apart. Gently brown each side as you turn the meatballs on another side so that they are just browned all around and are somewhat ball-shaped (they do not need to be cooked through). Set the browned meatballs aside and repeat the procedure with the rest of the mixture, adding more oil to the pan as necessary, until all the meatballs are browned.
  4. Wipe the same pan with paper towels to remove any browned or blackened specks. Heat the pan over high heat and add the 1/4 cup rice wine. Bring to a boil and let bubble for about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water to the pan and the torn cabbage leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Place the meatballs on top of the cabbage leaves and add any juices from the meatballs to the pan. Add enough water to the pan to submerge the meatballs by about a quarter of their height and let cook on a low simmer for at least 20 minutes to cook the meatballs through or up to 1 hour. Taste the broth and add salt, white pepper, or soy sauce as desired. Serve the meatballs in its broth with the cabbage over rice or noodles.

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