Lion's Head

Photo by star5112/flickr

Serves 5.


2 rose-leaf sized pieces dried tangerine peel
500 g/1 lb pork mince
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions,
green leaves included
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg white, stiffly beaten
Sauce and vegetables
3 or 4 bunches Shanghai bok choy
(3 in each bunch)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 thin slices fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups chicken stock or hot water
3 tablespoons warm Chinese wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)


Soak tangerine peel in 3 tablespoons warm water until softened, then chop very finely and return to the soaking liquid. Mix all ingredients for meat balls together well, folding in egg white last. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or longer, then form into 5 large meatballs. Slit bok choy down the centre, wash well, and soak in salt water for 20 minutes. Drain well and shake dry.

Heat wok, add 1 tablespoon oil and when oil is hot fry the ginger for a few seconds, then add the bok choy and stir-fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from wok. Add remaining tablespoon oil and lightly brown the meatballs. Put half the bok choy in a flameproof casserole or a sandy pot. Arrange meatballs on the layer of vegetable and cover with the rest. Add salt, hot stock and wine, cover and simmer gently until meatballs are well cooked, about 35 minutes.

Before serving, thicken liquid with cornflour mixed with a little cold water. Serve hot.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)