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Lions Head Meatballs

Lions Head Meatballs
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WebMD Recipe from

This is a famous dish along the Yangtze, with regional variations. In Shanghai, the sauce will be sweet and sour. In Chongqing, it will be hot and spicy. And in Wuhan...well, it will depend on the season and the mood of the chef.

Prep: 45 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes
  • 1 cup
    "lite" coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons
    reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon
    curry powder
  • 1 pound
    lean ground pork, or beef
  • 1/2 cup
    scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup
    leek, minced, white and pale green part only
  • 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon
    all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon
    toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon
    fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons
    fresh chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon
    ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons
    extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium head
    Boston or iceberg lettuce
  • 1/4 cup
    fresh basil, or Thai basil; chopped
  • 1 tablespoon
    lemon zest, freshly grated
  1. Combine coconut milk, soy sauce and curry powder in a large saucepan. Set aside.
  2. Place pork (or beef), scallions, leek, cornstarch, flour, sesame oil, ginger, chile, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Knead by hand until thoroughly combined and the mixture becomes sticky. Divide into 10 equal portions, about 1/4 cup each. Roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the sides. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Bring the coconut-milk mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs; cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 8 minutes.
  5. Line a serving bowl with lettuce leaves. Arrange the meatballs on top. Garnish with basil and lemon zest. Serve hot with the coconut-milk sauce drizzled over the top or on the side for dipping.


Nutritional Information

Makes: 10 meatballs, for 5 main-dish or 10 appetizer servings
  • Calories115
  • Fat7 g
    • Saturated fat3 g
  • Cholesterol26 mg
  • Carbohydrates5 g
    • Dietary fiber1 g
  • Protein10 g
  • Sodium297 mg
* Nutritional Guidelines based on the USDA's MyPlate Standards.
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