A meatball is a foodstuff made from an amount of ground meat rolled into a small ball along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, and possibly eggs. Pork meatballs are a popular dish from Southern China. In most Chinese restaurants, the meatballs are cooked in a traditional Chinese clay pot.

There are many kinds of meatball recipes using different kinds of meats and spices, including vegetarian alternatives, and various methods of preparation.Today I will introduce you how to cook Chinese Meatballs with Greens ,one of my childhood favourites.

Chinese Meatballs with Greens

Deep down in my vein, I must be a meat lover. Because whenever mentioned about the food of that time, I always remember first about the meat dishes. However, big pieces of quality meat was hard to come by. So people usually make dishes with grounded pork. And there was no pre-grounded pork, either. You’d have to make your own. This actually makes the dishes taste better, I believe.

Traditionally this Shanghai Meatballs with Greens is made with pork fat and cooked in a sand clay pot. The large meatballs are meant to represent a lion, and the shredded greens its mane.
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients for Chinese Meatballs with Greens:

as with a lot of Chinese cooking,  I don’t have the exact amounts, as when we cook, everything is…hmm…”add a bit more.”,”that’s enough.”,”it looks right…”HEY. COOKING IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. ;) get it to taste good is the key :D )

Ground pork: best from chopping fresh pork with some fat left on.
Potato: cooked, skinned, and mashed roughly, leaving pea-sized pieces – adds texture to the meatball. (my family secret)
Ginger root: some minced, some cut into pieces.
Onion: minced.
Egg: binding agent. Some people uses flour instead, I rather use the eggs.
Chives: or green onion. Some finely chopped, some tied into knots.
Greens: I used baby Shanghai Bo Choy. Actually, any greens without strong flavour can be used.

Other ingredients not photo’ed:
corn starch, salt, dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, sugar, five-spice powder (optional)

Step by step to cook Chinese Meatballs with Greens:

1,Combine ground pork, roughly mashed potato, minced ginger root, minced onion, minced chives, some salt, at least 1 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine, 1 egg. Use a pair of chopstick to stir only in one direction when you are combining. This makes the meatball firm yet juicy and tender inside. Combine until the mixture is even, and sticking to itself.
2,Form them into balls of about 2 inch size, roll them in some corn starch, drop into hot oil to deep fry. The frying don’t take long, and don’t have to cook through. What it does is to form a solid crust on the outside.
3,Drain these meatballs off of oil. Put them into a pot, add water to 2/3 of the content. Add dark soy sauce, ginger root pieces, knotted chives, and five-spice powder, a bit of salt to taste. It should not be very salty since we are going to reduce the sauce. Bring the content to a boil, and simmer for half an hour to get the flavour into the meatballs. Add 2-3 tbsp of sugar, and bring the content to a medium boil again, reduce the liquid to about 1/4 of it’s original volumn.

4,To serve Chinese Meatballs with Greens, serve each meatball on a small plate surrounding by the greens, or in soup bowls with some of the bok choy and broth. You can also thicken some of the broth with a cornstarch and water thickener and pour over the meatballs. Enjoy with a big bowl of rice!

Cooking Tips for Chinese Meatballs with Greens:
1, The greens taste super good soaked in the meatball juice.
2, The meatballs can be frozen right after being deep-fried. Then you can enjoy this dish quickly whenever you crave for it!

{July 9, 2010} {Tags: }