See Ji Tan - Chinese Lion's Head Meatballs

     This delicious recipe is my favorite kind, simple and complex at the same time. How is that possible you ask? Well, it's a meatball recipe with lots of aromatics, cooked in a broth that is enriched with more aromatics. And cabbage. I love cabbage. It gets tender and delicious cooked with the broth and the meatballs. And those meatballs, they are a conversation on their own! Have you ever had deep-fried meatballs? Well, you should. They get a delicious and golden exterior while being soft on the inside. They are so delicious I kept my large family-sized recipe large, you are going to want leftovers. But if not, feel free to cut the recipe in half. 

Improv Cooking Challenge: March 2022

Cabbage and Meat

Meatball Recipe
3 lb. ground pork
10 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. flour
2 eggs, well beaten
2 Tbsp. sherry
1 tbsp. ginger paste
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground Sichuan peppercorns
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, minced

32 oz. chicken broth
1 pork bouillon cube
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Napa cabbage
24 oz. oil to fry
Cooked sticky rice, to serve

Simmer together all of the broth ingredients until reduced to 3 cups. Once it is reduced remove from the heat and allow to sit until ready to use. 

Start heating the oil for frying in a large skillet. While that is coming to temperature prepare the meatballs. 

Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Keep mixing in a stirring movement until the meat mixture is smooth. Portion in to twelve large meatballs. Take each portion and compress, and roll, until the meatball is is round and the outside texture is uniform. It won't be smooth, it will be slightly shaggy. 

Place half the meatballs in the hot oil. The oil should come most of the way up the meatballs. Fry until browned on the bottom, flip and continue frying. Remove from the oil and keep warm. The meatball won't be cooked in the middle, that's ok. Cook the second batch of the meatballs and set aside. 

Drain the hot oil in to a glass jar and set aside. 

Take the napa cabbage and cut in half length-wise, though the stem. Cut in half again, and then cut each piece into thinner wedges. Make sure they all go through the root keeping the wedges intact. 

Place half the cabbage wedges in the bottom of the pan. Top with the fried meatballs. Tuck the remaining cabbage in around the meatballs. Strain the solids out of the broth and pour over the meatballs, then add an additional half cup of water. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the cabbage and meatballs are cooked through. 

Serve with cooked rice. 

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  1. I have made these meatballs before and they were a huge hit. Sooooo good.

  2. Oh this sounds so tender and flavorful! I need to give these a try soon

  3. Those meatballs really do look heavenly - so large and soft and moist. I am excited to try them.

  4. They look so delicious and mouth-watering.

  5. This is a good reminder for me to make these again. Thanks


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