Mini Lion’s Head Meatballs with Bok Choy

Lion’s Head Meatballs (Yields ~16 meatballs)

  • 500g pork tenderloin
  • 70g white beech mushrooms or substitute with shiitake
  • 2 medium shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tblsp shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 80 ml water (1/3 cup)
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tblsp cornstarch with 3 tblsp water

Soup Base (for 6-8 meatballs) to serve 3

  • 1 bok choy or 2 baby bok choy
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 fresh bamboo shoot (if available)
  • chicken stock (optional)
  • 1 tblsp shaoxing cooking wine
  • salt to taste

The addition of shiitake and beech mushrooms to these lion’s head meatballs make for a lighter and more flavorful meatball. I prefer making smaller meatballs as they are easier to serve and take less time to cook. Fresh bamboo shoot is only seasonally available, but adds another layer of umami to the soup.

Note: This recipe yields enough meatballs to make this soup twice or you can braise the other half. If you only want to make lion’s head once, halve the recipe for the meatballs.


Grind pork tenderloin with meat grinder or food processor. Use a food processor to finely chop mushrooms and shiitake. Finely chop one green onion. Add all to large mixing bowl and start mixing clockwise.

Add cooking wine and salt. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add 80 ml (1/3 cup) water while continuing to stir clockwise. Add egg white. Stir clock wise to incorporate. Meat should start forming a paste.

Finally make a slurry of 3 tblsp cornstarch with 3 tblsp water. Add slurry to meat mixture and stir clockwise to incorporate. Mixture should be fairly evenly mixed and smooth from stirring continuously in one direction.

Fill medium sized pot with water or chicken stock half full. Bring to boil. Add bamboo shoot and simmer for 5-10 mins. Then add large bok choy leaves.

Form meatballs approximately 2 to 2.4 inches in diameter. Slap meatball down against your other hand. Drop meatball carefully into water on top of bok choy leaves. Keep doing this until pot is filled (approximately half the meat mixture). You can refrigerate remaining meat mixture for up to 1 day.]

Add salt, green onion whole and cooking wine. Simmer for 45 mins until tender. 

Add remaining small leaves of bok choy. Continue to simmer another 10-15 mins until done. Serve hot.