Lion’s Head Meatballs

To make the meatballs – mix together 1kg of fatty pork mince, a finely diced shallot (or small onion), a few cloves of finely chopped or crushed garlic, about a quarter cup of rice flour, a quarter cup of light soy, a tbsp of dried ginger, a good slosh each of sesame oil and dark soy, and a little salt. Roll into golf-ball sized balls, fry in plenty of oil in a hot skillet till browned all over and remove from the pan.

For the wombok – in the same oil from frying the meatballs, fry a couple of chopped leeks, some celery, and about 100-200g mushrooms (preferably Asian types like shiitake or oyster). When the leeks and celery start to soften a little, add a couple of chopped garlic cloves, then deglaze with a little Chinese cooking wine, then add about a half litre of chicken stock, and a good slosh of light soy. Remove from the heat, arrange a whole shredded wombok on top (other types of cabbage would also work), arrange the meatballs on the wombok, put a lid on the skillet and put in a 140C oven for two hours. (This will brown the meatballs on top but give a braised texture on the bottom. The liquid should be well below the cabbage at the beginning of cooking, but the cabbage will gradually become submerged throughout the braising period).

To serve – remove the meatballs; taste the broth and adjust seasoning with soy sauce or salt if necessary. Bring to the boil, and thicken slightly with a cornflour slurry. Add some finely sliced red chilli/fresh ginger/spring onions (any or all of) for freshness, then portion out the veg and broth into bowls, topped with the meatballs, then drizzle over some sesame oil and/or chilli oil.