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Lion Head Meatballs

Lion Head Meatballs

lion head meatballs

(獅子頭) Lion head is a famous dish in Chinese cuisine. It originates from Eastern China and the history of this dish goes back to the Sui Dynasty.

Emperor Yang of Sui brought his queens had take a boat trip to south east China. He especially loved the landscape and views of Yangzhou. So, afterwards he went back to his palace and gave his chefs four cooking subjects which were inspirited from landscapes of Yangzhou. Lion head was one of the dishes been created but back at that time Lion head is not known as Lion head. It wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty that the name changed to Lion head because it looks like a male lion’s head.

You will find out the meat balls really look like a Chinese guardian lions head if you have ever seen the pictures. Well, now you know when Chinese people talking about “ hey, let’s have lion head tonight for dinner “ it doesn’t mean real “Lion’s head”, it’s just Chinese style of meatball. I always remember when I told my Italian friend that I’m going to cook him “Lion head” and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor with a terrified look. Until now, this memory still makes us laugh all the time.

Here is the recipe for Lion head meatballs:

 

Lion Head Meatballs

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Lion Head Meatball's Ingredients

  • 50 g pork mince
  • 300 g pork belly without skin
  • 2 spring onions chop really finely
  • 10 g ginger chop really finely
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 g tofu

Seasonings for Meatballs

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch

Ingredients for soup

  • 1/2 medium Chinese leaf medium size leaf quartered lengthways
  • 3 bunches glass noodles soak in warm water until soft
  • 2 spring onions cut 3cm lengthways
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • 200 g tofu place into a container and cover in the water. Frozen it for a few hours until it has small honeycomb ish holds. After it defrost a little bit and slice it to 2 cm thick squire shape. (This is optional. “frozen tofu” is very popular in Taiwan because I had lots tofu left over from make mixture of lion head so I deicide to cook with it.)

Seasonings for soup

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • water or stock
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Instructions

Lion Head Meatballs Procedure

  1. Cut the pork belly into small dice and use blender to blend it into really finely mince.
  2. Mix all the ingredients and seasonings together and start throwing down the meatballs mixture a few times. This is for pursuing the better texture and taste of meatballs. It’s also a fantastic way to release your anger.
  3. With damp hands, take a large mound of the minced meat mixture and mould into a ball. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining meatball mixture.
  4. Heat up a deep pan with oil for fry the meatballs or use a frying pay with more than 1cm high of oil to fry the meatballs. This is help the meatballs to settle the shape and enhance the colour of it. After just leave meatballs on aside.

Soup Procedure

  1. Use a frying pan to sauté ginger, garlic, spring onion and leek until it turned a little bit soft.
  2. Add star anise and cinnamon to sauté with.
  3. Place procedures 2 and meatballs we made earlier into a stock pot or a casserole dish.
  4. Add all the seasonings into the pot and use water or stock to cover the meatballs.
  5. Use full strength power to boil it then turn to lowest fire to simmer it for 30~45 minutes and then put Chinese leaf, frozen tofu into the pot to cook for another 15~20 minutes until it’s soft.
  6. Add glass noodle at the end to cook with the meatballs as glass noodles will absorb a lot of soup. After the glass noodles soften add the lion head meatballs. Then of course you can eat.

Recipe Notes

You can also blanch some bok choy for garnish.

 

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

When I was a child coriander chili beef mince was one of my favourite dishes. It’s a very popular dish within my family and my mother and grandmother used to cook this dish often. I always pigged out on this coriander chili beef mince with a big bowl of rice and my grandmother always felt really proud I loved it so much. My grandmother loves cooking for people and is happy when people walk away from the table feeling pregnant from eating.

Coriander is also known in the Far East as “Chinese parsley”. We use a lot of coriander in our dishes in Taiwan. Coriander has a special fragrance and the taste can really enhance the flavour of the fish.

I had bit of a problem making this dish though. British Supermarkets only sell chopped coriander but in China and Taiwan we can buy whole stalks of coriander. For us the stalks/roots have the most flavour so while this dish has a coriander taste it’s not as strong as I would have liked. So as compensation I added a small amount of celery diced really small to enhance the flavour.

Before service you can deep fry some shredded sweet potato for garnish for this dish. The colour alone of the sweet potato makes this dish look a lot better and it tastes really great.  You can also use Chinese celery instead of coriander if you have problem finding coriander.

Here is another tip to make this dish even more delicious. Don’t use packet mince from a supermarket. I bought rib eye steak (or you can use sirloin steak) and froze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not “frozen” hard. Shred the steak first then chop really really finely. Steak chopped up always tastes so much better than mince although it’s really up to you if you want to do this or not.

coriander chili beef mince

 

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch coriander stalk chop finely
  • 400 g rib eye steak or sirloin stake, mince it
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1 chili remove seeds and chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

Instructions

  1. Wash the coriander and remove the leaves, chop stalk finely
  2. Take the ribeye (or sirloin) and freeze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not frozen hard. Shred the steak first then chop really finely.
  3. Marinade the steak mince with all the seasoning and leave it for half an hour.
  4. Heat the wok with some oil until the oil is smoking and stir fry the steak mince for 10 seconds. Get rid of the oil and place the mince on to a plate.
  5. Heat the wok with some oil. Turn to a low heat and stir fry the garlic and chili first and then add the coriander and stir fry for another 10 seconds. Add a little bit of salt to season it and turn the gas to strong heat and add beef mince to stir fry it together for 1 minute. It’s now ready to serve.

 

Cooked Rice with Bak Choy and Gammon

Cooked Rice with Bak Choy and Gammon

When we were in Taipei one of my favourite restaurants is Kao Chi. Kao Chi serves really delicious Shanghai cuisine and one of the dishes we ordered was this really delicious Cooked Rice with Bak Choy, Chinese ham and mushroom.

So for this recipe I decided to make something very similar. The main difference between the dish at Kao Chi and my recipe is I had to use smoked gammon instead of Chinese ham as I can’t find Chinese ham here in the UK. I also used chestnut mushroom instead of the tinned mushroom that they used (I prefer the taste of chestnut mushroom).

Normally Chris really dislikes bak choy, in fact he hates it usually, but he ate all of the bak choy in this dish which was a really big success for me. Finally, I can eat bak choy (one of my favourite vegetables).

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

cooked rice with bak choy and gammon

 

Cooked Rice with Bak Choy and Gammon

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups rice
  • 200 g gammon steak
  • 300 g bak choy
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Chop bak choy finely and remove the skin from the gammon steak. Cut the gammon steak into really small dices.
  2. Cut the mushroom into small dices as well.
  3. Heat up a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil. Saute the bak choy with garlic until the bak choy is cooked. Leave aside once it is cooked.
  4. Put the rice into a rice cooker with the gammon steak, mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of oil. Also use the juice that came out of the bak choy. Add a little more than 2 cups of water to cook everything.
  5. After the rice has cooked add the bak choy into the rice and mix evenly. Cover the rice cooker with the lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  6. The dish is now ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

Tip for cooking Eastern food: Buy a rice cooker. Most of my friends and colleagues in the UK assume we boil rice in the East but most people use rice cookers. They can be bought as cheaply as £15, last ages and cook rice perfectly every time. Rice cookers can be used from cooking food, steaming food, making soup, steaming meat and many other things, all for £15 upwards!

 

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe. Hello everyone, I’m home! So two days ago we returned from our holiday and we’re still suffering from jet leg (not helped by both of us shooting a full day’s wedding the day after we returned) but also suffering from not being able to eat the food we’ve been eating in Taipei and to an extent Bali.

Before going on holiday I was starting to struggle for ideas about what to cook but going home and eating both my grandma’s food but also visiting a number of restaurants that I used to go to has rejuvinated me. I’ll be writing up some restaurant reviews for various restaurants that we visited in the very near future and these restaurants had everything from authentic Chinese and Taiwanese food to the most fabulous Japanese fine dining.

So this dish is called Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork (long title I know!). Rice cake is known as Nian Gao in Chinese. Nian Gao has been part of Chinese cuisine for more than 3000 years and there are many different kinds of Nian Gao. Nian Gao can be eaten sweet or savoury. This recipe was influenced by Nian Gao from Ningbo.

The first time I ate this dish was in one of my elementary school classmate’s home. Her grandparents came from Ningbo and they would cook this dish for me. Immediately after eating it for the first time I fell in love with this dish.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

stir fried rice cake with spring greens and pork

 

 

Stir Fried Rice Cake with Spring Greens and Pork recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 150 g shredded pork
  • 200 g spring greens shredded
  • 450 g Ningbo rice cake bought from local Chinese supermarket
  • 1 chili shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 dried shiitake mushroms soak in hot water to soften then slice
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar

Seasonings for Pork Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp potato starch or cornflour starch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Marinade the pork for 20 minutes and heat up a wok with a little bit of cooking oil. Stir fry the pork until it’s cooked on the outside.
  2. Beat the eggs and add 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Keep mixing together until all of the seasonings have mixed evenly.
  3. Heat a frying pan with one tablespoon of oil and just fry the eggs. Once fried leave aside.
  4. Heat up a wok with a small amount of oil. Stir fry the ginger and garlic until the fragrance comes out from the wok. Add the spring greens into the wok and stir fry for 1 minute then add the rice cake and shitake mushrooms with half a cup of water.
  5. Lower the heat and continue to stir fry the dish until the rice cake has softened. Add the pork and eggs and continue to stir fry the dish for another 2 minutes. It’s now cooked and ready to serve.

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Stir-fry pickled bamboo shoot with chilli beef mince is one of my favourite dishes that my grandma cooks. Every time I go back to Taiwan I always ask grandma cook this dish for me which she does and I really love.

Grandma is a very traditional Chinese and Taiwanese mother and grandma. Kitchen is her stage and she is the queen of kitchen. She will kick you out if you try to cook in her kitchen and her happiness comes from her children or grand children’s compliments about her food. So, I especially taught my husband to say: “I love you grandma, your food is delicious” when we went back to Taiwan.

She is original from Guangdong (Canton), China. So all the dishes she has cooked for her family are always influenced by Cantonese cuisine. She and my grandfather are two of the best chefs in my heart. She is also my role model for my old and retired life. She is always full of energy, enthusiasm and has a real passion for life. She’s been through a lot of really bad moments in her life but she always stays such a strong, happy person and rarely complains about her life. She is also the busiest old retired lady I’ve ever met in my life. She learnt (patchy) English, how to swim, play the erhu fiddle, ballroom dance, join the chorus, become a member of women’s Federation meeting and much much and more. She also has so many friends who always invite her shopping and have tea together. Even she is that busy she still manages to look after us. Whenever we come home she always prepares the tastiest dinner imaginable. I wish when I get old I can be just like her.

I was so excited to see they sell this pickled bamboo shoot in my local Chinese supermarket. I even called grandma on Skype to show her it. I know how to cook bamboo shoots just like grandma but I still ask for it when I go home and somehow it tastes so much better.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

pickled bamboo shoot

 

Stir Fried Pickled Bamboo shoot with chili beef mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 400 g pickled bamboo shoot
  • 100 g beef mince
  • 2 chilies (optional), chop roughly
  • 1 piece ginger chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp rice wine

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. Soak the bamboo shoot in water for 15 minutes and drain it. Rinse it with water and leave it to dry.
  2. 2. Cut the bamboo shoot into the size as photo shows.
  3. 3. Marinade the beef mince with marinade.
  4. 4. Heat the wok with a little bit oil to fry the bamboo shoot first until the surface looks slightly golden brown. Place it on a plate and leave it aside.
  5. 5. Heat the wok with 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry the mince for 30 seconds and add chilli, keep stir fry until the mince is cooked.
  6. 6. Add bamboo shoot and stir fry for a couple minutes. Add seasonings and check the seasonings before plate it up.

Recipe Notes

* This dish should taste a little bit sour and a little bit spicy. It’s great when served with rice. (I always have 2 big bowls of rice with this dish)