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Lions Head Casserole - an authentic Chinese recipe - braised meatballs with napa cabbage - comfort food!

Lion's Head Casserole

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 409 kcal


Lion's Head Meatballs

  • 1.3 pounds ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 scallion minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons water

Coating Mixture

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cooking Meatballs

  • 4.5 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 pound napa cabbage cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water


Lion's Head Meatballs

  1. In a large bowl, mix together pork, egg, cornstarch, scallion, ginger, wine, sugar, salt and pepper. Add 4 tablespoons water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix in the same direction until the mixture forms a ball and sticks together. 

  2. Form into 8 meatballs.

  3. Stir together Coating Mixture ingredients in a small bowl. Brush the meatballs all over with Coating Mixture.

Cooking Lion's Head Meatballs

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in wok or large pan. Brown meatballs on all sides. You may have to do this in batches. Remove meatballs and set aside. Clean wok.

  2. Heat remaining oil in clean wok. Add garlic and stir fry a few seconds. Add napa cabbage pieces and saute 2 minutes until just softened. Place meatballs on top of napa cabbage. Pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered for one hour.

  3. Mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Stir into sauce until slightly thickened.

  4. This dish reheats well if you choose to make it ahead.

Nutrition Facts
Lion's Head Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 409 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 891mg39%
Potassium 548mg16%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 305IU6%
Vitamin C 27.3mg33%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.