The inspiration for this post in my mini series came when I overheard a conversation last week between two chaps in a Dun Laoghaire bar. Some snippets of their collective Chinese cookery wisdom; “They make it tasty by adding MSG. That stuff is really bad for you, full of lard.” “It makes you real hungry”. “There’s always loads of salt in the curry.” “The one in XXXX got closed down for serving seagull.” So went the assassination of the centuries old culinary traditions of one point four billion people.
It’s a bit depressing when we think this way. Particularly when there are so many simple dishes of Chinese origin. Dishes that are both easy to cook and are good for you. My next mind opening recipe in the series is Lion’s Head Meatballs.
The lion’s head name comes from the idea that the bok choi looks like a mane on the meatball lions head. Or so they say…
The ingredients list runs as follows;
- 5 pork chops
- 6 heads of bok choi
- 1 pint of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of ginger
- 3 or 4 spring onions
- 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour
- a splash or two of soy sauce
- a splash of rice wine or sherry, if you have any left over from that funeral.
- salt and pepper to taste
First, mince the pork chops. If you don’t have a mincer, get a big knife and chop the meat up very small. Keep chopping until you have a coarse mince and muscular arms.
Be sure to mince the fat as well as the lean. Then add the garlic, ginger chopped spring onions, cornflour rice wine and soy sauce.
While the meatball mixture is mixing, chop the bok choi.
Next, mould the meat mixture into meatballs. Mine are a little bigger than a golf ball.
Fry these off over a medium heat until they are brown on most sides.
In a different (bigger) pan, add the chicken stock. Transfer the (partially) cooked meatballs and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cook for ten minutes or so before adding the bok choi.
It’s about as far away from the standard Irish Chinese takeaway as Dublin is from Beijing (about 5,000 miles as the very tired seagull flies). It’s easy, inexpensive and delicious. Mind you, it’s not as easy as calling the Jade Palace for some chicken balls, if that’s what floats your junk. Go on, open your mind and give this a go.
I’ll have another western take on a Chinese classic next in the series. Keep an eye out for Cha Sui Roast Pork with Stir Fried Noodles, coming soon.