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Lion's Head Meatballs


jo-mel
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To me, cilantro roots taste similar to the leaves, but a little more intense--not that far off from the stems. Pan, you've probably had cilantro root as an ingredient in a lot of Thai dishes before. It is pounded into a lot of curry pastes, and is the main ingredient in a common marinade for gai yang--fish sauce, black pepper, and cilantro root.

To me, the main flavor difference in coriander in all its forms is dried versus fresh. The "seeds", which I learned are actually fruit right here on eGullet, taste like really strong fresh coriander leaves when green, as do the stems. The dried fruit tastes very different. And the dried leaves, while almost tasteless, taste nothing like fresh cilantro leaves.

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It sounds like I may have considerable trouble finding cilantro roots for sale, even in New York.

I don't find that coriander seed tastes much like cilantro leaves or stem at all, incidentally.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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It sounds like I may have considerable trouble finding cilantro roots for sale, even in New York.

While I'm obviously not too aware of what's available in New York, try finding places which cater to Thai customers. Coriander in such places is usually sold with the roots on, and I have even seen coriander roots for sale without the rest of the plant.

If you can find plants with the roots, they have the bonus of staying fresh much longer than coriander sold without the roots. You can even cut off the roots first and use them separately and, as long as you have left a tiny stub of root attached, the leaves still stay fresh for longer.

Growing it yourself is also not entirely out of the question. I have managed to successfully grow coriander in window boxes, and in climates quite similar to New York. I sow the seeds quite thickly as at best I get a germination rate below 50 percent, and keep very thoroughly watered. Growing this plant can be a bit variable. Great germination and growth on one occasion, and complete failure on another.

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Growing it yourself is also not entirely out of the question. I have managed to successfully grow coriander in window boxes, and in climates quite similar to New York.

Unlike other Italian herbs, with cilantro (coriander), growing them at home is very impractical because you need to use so much of them for cooking in just one dish.

And it is relatively cheap to get bundles of them in grocery markets.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I don't find that coriander seed tastes much like cilantro leaves or stem at all, incidentally.

Have you had green (fresh) coriander seeds? Are they commonly used in any cuisine? I have never seen these sold as a product, while I have seen some cilantro sold with roots on it. Of course, both the green seeds and roots are very easy to grow on your own. I'd be interested if the fresh seeds are traditionally used in any dish. I use them much the same as I would the roots, but this is only because when the weather is hot coriander goes to seed really quickly so the seeds are very plentiful. I like the intensity of the flavor, but cilantro haters would really hate it.

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  • 1 year later...
How big do you usually make each meat ball? Golf ball size? I recently went to a restaurant that served tennis ball sized ones that were incredibly puffy and perfect in texture.

I think, traditionally, the balls are the big ones. Usually four. That is what I make when I'm just presenting the dish as part of a meal. But when it is something for a crowd, then I make the little ones so they can be picked up easily.

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my mom makes this all the time. the secret to the texture is fatty ground pork and you have to mix the hell out of the meatball mixture. i've seen her add water or broth to this meat mixture too. then you deep fry the meatballs before braising them. :)

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Isn't that how it gets its name "Lion Head"?  So the meatballs are supposed to be big... the bigger the better showmanship?  Big like a lion's head.

Usually, large pieces of Chinese cabbage (suey choi) are placed around the meatballs as they are steamed. This gives the appearance of the lion's mane, thus the name Lion Head.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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  • 1 month later...
Isn't that how it gets its name "Lion Head"?  So the meatballs are supposed to be big... the bigger the better showmanship?  Big like a lion's head.

Usually, large pieces of Chinese cabbage (suey choi) are placed around the meatballs as they are steamed. This gives the appearance of the lion's mane, thus the name Lion Head.

Errrr, All this talk about Lion's Head meatball, can we have a visual clue please? I have read in many books regarding this dish but have never had it, I have tried to replicate it according what I think the dish should look like, I have read of Lion's head meatball cook in chiang Tong or braised (Hong Siew) Which is the original?

Anyone has a picture of the dish?

Thanks

:huh:

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Errrr, All this talk about Lion's Head meatball, can we have a visual clue please?  I have read in many books regarding this dish but have never had it, I have tried to replicate it according what I think the dish should look like, I have read of Lion's head meatball cook in chiang Tong or braised (Hong Siew)  Which is the original? 

Anyone has a picture of the dish?

This is one that I had at "Shanghai Dumpling King" in San Francisco. Each meatball is about the size of a tennis ball.

gallery_19795_2014_32659.jpg

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Errrr, All this talk about Lion's Head meatball, can we have a visual clue please?  I have read in many books regarding this dish but have never had it, I have tried to replicate it according what I think the dish should look like, I have read of Lion's head meatball cook in chiang Tong or braised (Hong Siew)  Which is the original? 

Anyone has a picture of the dish?

This is one that I had at "Shanghai Dumpling King" in San Francisco. Each meatball is about the size of a tennis ball.

gallery_19795_2014_32659.jpg

Mmmmmm! I want a bowl full of that gravy!

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Errrr, All this talk about Lion's Head meatball, can we have a visual clue please?  I have read in many books regarding this dish but have never had it, I have tried to replicate it according what I think the dish should look like, I have read of Lion's head meatball cook in chiang Tong or braised (Hong Siew)  Which is the original? 

Anyone has a picture of the dish?

This is one that I had at "Shanghai Dumpling King" in San Francisco. Each meatball is about the size of a tennis ball.

gallery_19795_2014_32659.jpg

Mmmmmm! I want a bowl full of that gravy!

A pictorial would be nice too. :wink:

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  • 1 month later...

Inspired by this thread and a pound of fatty pork in the freezer, I made these last night. I used the KitchenAid, threw in an egg and chopped fresh water chestnuts. I was running out of oil, but I had a hunk of Manteca lard in the fridge and browned them in that before braising in the pressure cooker.

They were indeed soft and delicious...and pink inside. No cilantro in this mix so there goes that theory.

Thanks for all the advice on this thread!

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another tip my mom told me is to "bao" the cabbage before braising. "bao" meaning a quick fry in shallow hot oil. i suppose this carmelizes the greens a bit giving the final result a bit more sweet and smoky depth of flavor.

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So, where can I find the definitive recipe for this? I saw this made on Rachel Ray's brief celebrity cooking show. The Chinese actress who was on ER (Ming na wen?) made them. It looks lovely, like deconstructed Polish stuffed cabbage, so I want to serve it to my polish SMIL.

Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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  • 1 year later...

Well, I don't think there is a definitive recipe--I had it 4 times in Taiwan from some incredible home cooks (one of them being my fiancé's mom) and I know you first need to get some fatty pork. The cooks told me you couldn't get the same taste using the pork in the US because it isn't flavorful enough. Henry's mom spent 2 hours chopping 2 lbs. of meat, gradually adding ginger juice, water (or chicken stock--you need a lot, to give it that super moist, dissolving texture), scallions, and water chestnuts. (Their housekeeper spent another 2 hours chopping the other 2 lbs. of meat.) Everything is chopped so finely that you can't even pick it out once the product is cooked. We had it the 'hong siao' way every time we ate it over there, with the cabbage on the bottom of the clay pot and egg pockets (like mini egg crepes) filled with pork on top. One version had Chinese broad beans as well.

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  • 8 months later...

So, anyone here can post a tried and true recipe? Mom was talking about this dish the other night and how it may be good to make it at home. The fact is, she can't really cook. Instead of letting her experiment on me, I rather cook it myself.

Mom said something about using a mixture of pork and beef. Now, browsing this thread, it seems that pork is what I should be using. Any thought on this?

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  • 4 months later...

Here in Beijing, Da Dong 大董烤鸭店 does a *particularly* elegant version of Lion's Head using white fish instead of the pork and a green pea broth for the liquid. Immensely elegant and satisfying. Unfortunately, every time I order it, it gets eaten before pictures can be taken . . . :angry: but I guess that's my fault :blush:

Another favourite private kitchen of mine here does a lovely version which is ethereally delicate in a clear broth....

So there's a lot of potential riffs on the subject...

Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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