Shanghai Meatballs with Bok Choy and Glass Noodles


I've been eyeballing this recipe for a long time on Food52. I'm so glad I finally dove in because I've never made such unique or delicious meatballs. The meatballs taste almost exactly like the filling to a delicious dumpling or potsticker. A major thanks to Cynthia from Two Red Bowls for introducing the recipe. Go check out her awesome blog. 

After doing a little research on Lion's Head meatballs, it seems this is a pretty traditional dish in Chinese food culture, especially the Shanghai. You guys know how much I love experimenting with new Chinese recipes. This one's pretty easy. I hope you guys test it out!

Shanghai (Lion's Head) Meatballs with Bok Choy and Glass Noodles
makes 3-4 servings
modified from cynthia's recipe on 'two red bowls'

1 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
1 tbsp sriracha
1 green onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp ginger (minced or grated)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 1/2 - 3 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 - 7 baby bok choy heads (stems trimmed so each leaf is loose)

for the glass noodles
1/2 package Saifun glass noodles
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chili sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 green onion (rough chop)

Start with the meatballs. Get out a large mixing bowl and add all ingredients except eggs, cornstarch and bok choy. Mix together with your hands. It will be super liquidy - you're not doing it wrong.

Next, add the cornstarch and combine with a fork. It will get a little more solid, but still not thick. Next add about 2 1/2 beaten eggs to the mixture. Just toss the leftover 1/2 egg. Ditch the fork and get your hands back in. The mixture will again feel really liquidy. Keep mixing with your hands until it has thickened up a little. It's not going to be nearly thick enough for form meatballs that keep their shape. That's okay. 

Get out a Dutch oven or large pot and add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom with 1/4 in oil. Turn the heat up to medium. Use an ice cream scoop to form the meatballs. Drop the meatballs in. Let each side cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove meatballs from the oil to a plate and set aside. Don't crowd the pan, you'll probably need to do it in 2 batches. The meatballs won't be perfectly round, more like thick patties. 

Drain the oil from the pan and lower heat to low. Add all the bok choy leaves to the bottom of the pan. Top the bok choy with the meatballs and cover with lid. Let steam over low heat for 35-40 minutes.

As the meatballs are steaming, make the noodles. Boil enough water to cover 1/2 package of noodles with water. Pour boiling water over noodles and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain noodles.

In a saute pan, heat chili sesame oil over medium heat. Add garlic and green onion, cook for 2 minutes. Add noodles and soy sauce. Cook only long enough for noodles to get a good coating of soy and chili oil, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve aside meatballs and boy choy.


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