Chinese Lion's Head pork meatballs recipe

As a Chinese person from central China proud of his culture, I refuse to call it mega meatballs with gravy.

Peter Lyu posted in Chinese
12w ago
Lion's head (狮子头)

Definitely not, mega meatballs with gravy

Cook time35min
CuisineHuaiyang cuisine (淮扬菜), Chinese


  • 350-400g pork mince (20% fat, or pork belly)
  • 50-100g yam, or lotus root, or carrot
  • 2 mushrooms (shiitake or chestnut)
  • 35-40g ginger
  • 1 or 2 spring onions
  • An egg
  • 50g hard tofu
  • Some pak choi (optional) (can also use whatever leaf vegetables you like)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Light soy sauce
  • arbitrary amount of scallion (if you have)
  • Peppercorns
  • Star anise (if you have)
  • Cinnamon (if you have)
  • 20g starch
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sugar
  • MSG (optional



  1. mince the pork.
  2. pick 20g of ginger, smash, finely cut and mix with the pork mince.
  3. add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tsp of pepper, 1-2 tablespoons of cooking wine, 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce, the hard tofu (squashed) and an egg, stir in one direction until the mixture feels dry and tough.
  4. finely dice the yam/lotus root/carrot and mushrooms, and scallion (if you have), add into the meat and stir until all ingredients are well mixed
  5. add 20g of starch and mix well.
  6. shape the mixture into 3 to 4 mega meatballs.
  7. prepare another bowl (of spices), put in 1 star anise, 2 cinnamons and some peppercorns.
  8. cut 15g of ginger into pieces and 2 spring onions into sections, put them in the bowl of spices.

Deep fry

  1. prepare a saucepan (I don't know about the sizing but it should be big enough to fit two to four meatballs, you can also use wok).
  2. heat up the saucepan or wok, then add a LOT of oil, heat the oil to around 150 degree C (you can feel the heat when you put your hand above the oil)
  3. switch to medium or low heat, make sure the meatballs are in shape and put them in the hot oil.
  4. deep fry until the meatballs are fixed in shape.
  5. put the meatballs on a sieve/colander.
  6. recycle or dispose the oil (whatever you prefer, I recommend recycling as it's got lard in it after frying pork fat).

Slow cooking

  1. heat up a wok, add some oil, spin to get a layer of oil on the wok, dump the excessive oil but leave a shallow puddle of it. If you have use the wok to deep fry, you only need to add a bit of oil after dealing with the deep fry oil
  2. when the oil is hot, empty the bowl of spices into the wok.
  3. stir fry in low/medium heat.
  4. when it becomes aromatic, add 2 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of light soy sauce, stir fry.
  5. add some water and boil. The water may be about half as high as the meatballs.
  6. when the water is boiling, add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of MSG (optional), 1 tsp of pepper.
  7. put the meatballs in and switch to medium or low heat.
  8. cook for 30 minutes.
  9. If you fear they may not be cooked on top, you can also flip it after 15 minutes.


  1. add 1tbsp of starch in an empty bowl and add some water (not much) to dilute it, mix with a spoon (starch water).
  2. wash and cut the pak choi (or other leaf vegetable you prefer) into strings and put in the plate (garnish).
  3. after 30 minutes of cooking, take out the meatballs and put them in the garnished plate.
  4. scoop up and dispose all the other solid stuffs (now-useless spices) in the wok.
  5. stir the starch water to make sure there's no precipitation, then add the starch water into the soup.
  6. Now the soup becomes gravy. Pour it on the meatballs.
  7. Enjoy.

Recipe Notes

The ingredient list is a bit messy because I didn't know which ingredient I should add until after I watched some tutorials and tried it out.

Recipe by

ancestors of Chinese people

Have you tried this recipe? Share your photos & thoughts in the comments below

I might have confused it with another dish from another genre (Lu cuisine 鲁菜 from Shandong) but they're too similar for me to notice... and I'm not from either of these regions so I don't really care. I like it anyway.

For that "other dish", there's a video made by Chef Wang Gang. The techniques are similar so you can take it as a reference.

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Comments (8)

  • The recipe looks delicious!! Chef Wang minced the pork with two massive knifes 💪🔪.

      2 months ago
    • It looks super cool with those cleavers, it must be very satisfying! It will probably be like being a drummer, you just use the action from the wrist and let the cleaver blade weight do the work 😂

        2 months ago
    • True.

        2 months ago
  • Thank you so much for posting this, I can't wait to try 😍😁

      2 months ago
  • Thanks for sharing!

      2 months ago
  • That sounds very flavorful.

      2 months ago