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Cockle Meatballs Recipe

cockle meatballs recipe
Today’s recipe is a Chinese cockle meatballs recipe I learnt whilst I lived in Shanghai but before that a little update about things.

I really expected when I quit my job working as a chef my life would become quieter and while it’s an awful lot less stressful I’m busier than ever with my freelance illustration work. I’ve picked up a few commissions recently, two of which came from my home country Taiwan. One job is to initially create 6 illustrations based on popular tourist spots in Taiwan for a Taiwanese souvenir company. The other is to illustrate a children’s interactive book this time for a publisher in Taiwan. I’m also working on a top secret commission job which I can’t discuss right now but this is also something I’m really excited about. One thing I will say, my illustration for the last project will be viewable in supermarkets soon.

Back to the food, I made these cockle meatballs around a month about but due to Chris and myself having absolutely tonnes of work to do we literally haven’t had time until now to sort out the photos and type up the recipe.

I ate these cockle meatballs while I lived in Shanghai but in Shanghai restaurants they use clams (蛤) instead for making this meatballs dish and they cook this dish with super sweet soy sauce, which is a bit too sweet for me. But in general, I really like this dish no matter the flavour or the presentation. So I remade this dish at home myself based on my memory of this dish but turn down the sweetness. Also, I found cockles are quite salty, so please be careful with the the seasonings.

cockle meatballs recipe
 

Cockle Meatballs Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 14 meatballs

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 14 cockles shelled
  • 250 g pork mince you can also use beef mince
  • 1 tsp ginger chop finely
  • 1 tbsp spring onion chop finely
  • 1 egg white

Seasonings

  • 1 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 150 ml stock vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce or sticky soy sauce
  • 1 tsp potato starch mix with 2 tbsp water. Makes potato starch water

Instructions

  1. Leave the cockles to soak in water for a couple hours to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Pick the cockles meat out. Keep both meat and shells.
  3. Mix the mince, ginger, spring onions, egg white and all the seasonings in a big bowl. Use your hand to mix it evenly in the same direction for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Chop the cockles up and mix with step 3.
  5. Roll the mixture into small balls and put back into the cockle shells.
  6. Steam the meatballs for 7-9 minutes until the meat is cooked all the way through.
  7. Pour the oyster or stocky soy sauce, sugar and stock into a small sauce pan and boil at first then reduce down the liquid to about half the original amount. Gently stir the potato starch water into the sauce and keep the stove at a lot heat. Keep stirring while cooking and turn off the fire after the sauce has started to boil.
  8. Place the cockle meatballs on a plate and pour the sauce on it. The dish is ready to serve.
cockle meatballs recipe

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.