Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lion's head meatballs in clear broth 【清炖狮子头】

Last year when I was back in Malaysia for Chinese New Year celebration,I made this less oily version of Shanghainese Lion's Head Meatballs for my family and they loved it. I also made a mental note that I will write a recipe of this delicious dish when I have a chance. I didn't get a chance to make it again until this Chinese New Year.

This is a simple yet tedious dish, requiring good cooking skill and patience. No wonder it is a signature dish for reunion dinner at the then Kuomingtang leader Chiang Kai-Shek's home!



500 g of Pork Belly (Use the part that is closer to ribs, the ratio of fat and lean meat is just right)
50 g of Chinese Water Chest Nuts, canned or fresh
2-3 Slices of ginger root
2 tbsp of Corn starch
2 Scallions (Use only the white part)
5-6 Sichuan pepper corns
1 tsp of salt
A pinch of white pepper powder

Others :
2 Cup of Chicken stock/clear broth
2 Baby Bok Choy
4-5 Pieces of Chinese Napa Cabbage Leaves

500 克 五花肉 (靠近猪肋骨部分肥瘦相间的部分最好)
50 克 罐头清水 荸荠/马蹄  或 水煮新鲜的荸荠/马蹄
2-3 片 生姜
2 大勺 生粉/淀粉
2 根 青葱 只取葱白部分用
5-6 颗 花椒
1 小勺 食盐
一撮 白胡椒粉

2 大杯 清高汤 (我用了鸡汤)
2 棵 小白菜苗
4-5 片 大白菜叶

1. 清炖狮子头对猪肉的要求很高。所以选新鲜上好的猪肉是很重要的,千万不能使用买来的猪绞肉。 先把五花肉去皮切成片,然后切成条,再切成丁,稍微剁剁,把剁好的肉末放到一个大盆里。

1. The most important ingredients in this dish is the pork belly, using fresh and good quality meat is utmost important, shop bought ready minced meat is a big NO NO.

2. Remove the skin of the pork belly, cut it into slices about 5 mm in thickness, then cut the slices  into strips, and strips dice into small cubes. I will chop the  meat for 2-3 minutes to further mincing the meat a little. Place the meat in a large mixing bowl.

2. 花椒加1/2 杯水入微波炉里加热两分钟后取出花椒丢弃不用。冷却的花椒水加葱白和姜片用搅拌机搅拌成姜葱水。把搅拌好的姜葱水慢慢地加入肉末里用手抓匀至都吸入肉里。

3. 荸荠/马蹄沥干水切碎后加入肉末里用手抓匀。间中加入食盐、白胡椒粉、料酒和淀粉。

4.  取适量肉末团成球状,然后轻轻丢到另外一只手里,这样两只手抛来抛去的过程中丸子表面会渐渐变得平滑而紧实。这个时候的丸子手感还是很软的,你可能会怕它煮的时候会散开,但你可以不必担心。只要丸子表面已经平滑紧实了,放到高汤里的动作轻柔的话,肉丸子不会那么容易散开。


3. Microwave Sichuan Peppercorns with 1/2 cup of water at high for 2 minutes. Remove the peppercorns and reserve the water. Once it is cooled to room temperature, use it to blend ginger slices and white part of scallions in a mixer to make ginger scallion water.

4. Add the ginger scallion water in batches into the meat, mix with hands until the water are all incorporated into meat.

5. Drain and minced Chinese water chestnuts, if you are using the fresh ones, peel and boil the water chestnuts before using.

6. Add the minced water chestnuts to the mixing bowl together with salt, white pepper powder, cooking wine and cornstarch. Mix the ingredients together with hands until well incorporated.

7.  Before you work on the meat balls, lay 2 pieces of Chinese Napa cabbage leaves at the bottom of a claypot/pot.

8. Take a handful of mince meat to form a ball around the size of a tennis ball. Lightly throw the meatball from one hand to another, do this for about 25-30 times. The meat ball will starts feeling firmer and smoother in your hands. The meatball should still feel soft in your hands, but as long as you "throw" meatballs and it feels firmer and smoother already, it should retain its shape while cooking yet remain soft inside.

9. Add 2 cups of Chicken stock/clear broth with 2 cups of water into the Claypot/pot. Gently place the giant meatball into the pot, if it is floating in the broth, you are half way to success!

10. Repeat the same process to make 4-5 large meatballs and place them all in the pot. Lightly cover the meatballs with 2 pieces of Chinese Napa cabbage leaves, do not press the leaves down, it should just cover the meatballs gently.

11. Cook the meatballs at medium heat for 5 minutes, turn the stove to low and simmer for 2 hours. Simmering on low gives you clear brother and very tender meatballs without breaking apart. Season with salt 20 minutes before it is ready.

12. Once it is done, remove the Chinese Napa Cabbage leaves (these are crazy delicious, make sure you save it!) Add halved and cleaned baby Bok Choy and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve the meatballs with broth and Bok Choy in individual dishes.

5. 做大丸子之前先在一口瓦煲/锅子里铺上两大片的白菜叶子。锅底垫了白菜叶子丸子就不会粘底,而且炖出来的汤汁更鲜甜。白菜叶子垫好后,倒入两杯高汤和两杯水。

6. 轻轻地把握好的丸子放到锅里,如果丸子能够浮在汤里而不散,那么狮子头就已经成功了一大半!

7. 把剩下的肉末都做成大丸子入锅,轻轻地在丸子上盖上两大片的白菜叶子,千万别压实了,轻轻地覆盖即可。

8. 加盖中火煮5分钟后转小火炖两个小时。小火炖煮出来的狮子头汤汁清澈不浑浊,狮子头软糯细腻。出锅20分钟前可以稍微加点食盐调味。

9. 炖好打开锅盖,轻轻地把白菜拨到一边取出(这个白菜特别特别好吃,千万别丢了哦!)。汤锅里加入洗净切半的小白菜苗煮至断生即可和狮子头一起上桌。

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