Skip to main content

China: Cooking Around the World Adventure

We traveled, by tabletop to China, last week, but I am just now sitting down to blog about that fab meal. When I was researching what to make for that dinner, I emailed my friend Belle who responded with exactly what I had open on another tab: lion's head meatballs. Taking that as a sign, I decided that was the recipe for tonight. Thanks, Belle.

Belle also suggested onion pancakes, so we kicked off the feast with our version of that. Dylan did a great job on them. But really, what 8-year-old wouldn't have a blast squishing dough with a rolling pin?!?

Traditionally this Shanghai casserole dish features oversized pork meatballs and greens and is cooked in a sand clay pot. The large meatballs are meant to represent a lion, and the shredded greens its mane. I didn't have ground pork, so I used ground beef. And I had a bounty of greens from my High Ground CSA box that I had picked up that afternoon, so my version used kale and spinach and arugula for the mane. 
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 C wild arugula
  • 2 leeks, diced and divided
  • 1 t minced ginger
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 lb organic 96/4 ground beef (traditionally, it's made with pork, I had beef)
  • 3/4 t pink Himalaya salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 1/2 t white wine (traditionally, it's made with pale dry sherry, I had some leftover Frascati in my fridge)
  • 3 T light soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 t toasted sesame oil
  •  flower pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 C organic chicken broth


1. Wash and dry the greens. Cut crosswise into 1-inch strips. Dice the leek; mince the ginger and garlic; and chop the cilantro.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef with one of the leeks, ginger, garlic, salt, honey, wine, 1 T soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, flower pepper, if using, and the egg, using your fingers to mix together the ingredients thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet, add cornstarch or flour 1 t at a time; I didn't use any.

3. Form the ground beef into 4 large meatballs. Flatten them a bit so that they are not completely round.

. Heat oil in a skillet or wok on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook the other side.

5. In a large saucepan that is large enough to hold the meatballs, saute the second leek and cilantro until softened completely. Pour in the chicken broth and 2 T soy sauce. Bring to a boil.

6. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the greens. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and there is no pinkness in the middle.

To serve Lion's Head Meatballs, serve each meatball on a small plate surrounding by the greens, or in soup bowls with some of the greens and broth. You can also thicken some of the broth with cornstarch to make a gravy to pour over the meatballs.

Enjoy my tabletop travels. Join me in whipping up a dish or two. If you cook do cook a recipe from one of these countries, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to comment on the posts themselves or email me at constantmotioncamilla at gmail dot com.

This Knight of the Global Table Adventure is signing off for now. We're moving through the 'C's now. Stay tuned for Columbia.


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P