Shanghai Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs

Tested Recipe with Slight Adjustment Adapted from



110g firm tofu (cut into ¼-inch slices)

350g ground pork (lean fat ratio 7:3)

¼ cup chopped fresh water chestnuts

1 tsp minced young ginger

2 spring onion (white parts finely minced and green parts thinly sliced, divided)

1 egg yolk

½ tsp sugar

2 tsp Chinese cooking wine

3 tsp light soy sauce (divided)

¾ tsp salt (divided)

2 ½ tsp corn starch (divided)

¾ tsp ground white pepper (divided)

3 tsp minced garlic (divided)

3 tbsp + 1 tsp cooking oil (divided)

1 ½ cup water mixed with 1 tbsp concentrated chicken stock

5 heads baby bok choy (halved)

6 napa cabbage leaves (cut into 2-inch pieces, thick stalk and leafy parts separated)

100g glass noodles

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Place tofu slices in a heatproof bowl, and pour boiling water on top to cover. Let stand for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer tofu to a paper towel-lined plate. Press gently on the tofu with paper towels to dry thoroughly.
  2. Transfer tofu slices to a bowl. Using a fork, mash tofu into fine pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground pork, mashed tofu, chopped water chestnuts, minced young ginger, minced white part of spring onion, egg yolk, sugar, Chinese cooking wine, ½ tsp of salt, 2 tsp of minced garlic, ½ tsp of ground white pepper, 2 tsp of light soy sauce and 1 tsp of corn starch, and gently mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the mixture into 6 portions and shape into meatballs.
  5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, pan-fry the meatballs until golden brown. Flip meatballs and brown other side. Transfer meatballs to a plate.
  6. In a bowl, combine chicken stock, remaining ¼ tsp of ground white pepper, 1 tsp of light soy sauce, 1 ½ tsp of corn starch and 1 tsp of minced garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  7. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tsp of cooking oil over medium heat. Add bok choy and thick stem parts of the napa cabbage. Season with ¼ tsp of salt and cook for 3 minutes. Arrange meatballs in the pot in a single layer, pour the chicken broth mixture in, and bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, soak glass noodles in warm water until softened. Drain well and set aside.
  9. Stir glass noodles and leafy parts of the napa cabbage into the pot. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  10. Dish out to a large serving bowl, garnish with green part of spring onion and serve.

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