Lion's Head Meatballs (狮子头)



  1. Combine everything except water chestnuts in a mixing bowl. Allow the mixer to run for 10+ minutes - you really want the meat to be really really well mixed.
  2. Chop up the water chestnuts really finely and add to the meat mixture. Stir for another 5 minutes.
  3. Take out the meat mixture and mold into balls. I usually make them about the size of my clasped hands, although I think that the proper way to make them is to be absolutely ginormous. I always get nervous about cooking them thoroughly for large meatballs, so mine are much smaller.
  4. Heat oil in a fairly small saucepan to just around 350 degrees F, and put in a few meatballs at a time. It is nice to use a thermometer for this process, to monitor the heat of the oil. The temperature drops a lot when you put in the raw meatballs, so add in small batches. Each meatball only requires maybe 3 minutes of being in the oil - just enough for them to be golden on the outsides.
  5. After all of the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, go ahead and move to a large wok. You want to add the sauces from earlier - cooking wine, light and dark soy sauce, and maybe a bit of oyster sauce. Add sugar to taste as well - rock sugar is traditional as usual. Be sure to add a lot of water - it will boil off over time. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Serve with blanched qingcai and rice.

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