vegetable, pork balls,
A Nyonya in UK, Culture, Dinner, Lunch

Lion’s Head

nyonya, recipe, easy



This is a very old recipe. I used to find this in the old days. Nowadays, I seldom see them being sold anymore in restaurants. Sometimes, I still see them being sold in economy rice stalls in Penang and I will not hesitate to include them onto my rice.

The original recipe used quite fatty pork, which gives it more flavour (if you like porky flavour) and more bite. I am using lean pork mince (less than 5% fat), so it should be a healthy choice.

The reason it is called Lion’s head is because it is BIG!  The Chinese cabbage looks like the lion’s mane. I shape the mince into 4, but you can make it into 6 or 8 depending on how many you need to feed. Actually, I find making it into 4 balls is quite heavy so I would recommend 6 or so. If you have children, do consider making it child size.

It is such an easy dish to make and children and adults love it.

Update: I have made a video in You tube with some changes to the recipe.

The changes are in green.

Quick Info:

Serves:  6-8 with accompaniments
Difficulty: easy
Cost: ££
Time: 45 mins to cook

Smart Points:

Per recipe : 17

Per serving: 4



500g   Extra lean pork mince (less than 5% fat), raw

2          Spring onions – chopped

1 tsp   Fresh root ginger –  chopped

1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry

1 tbsp  Cornflour

1 tsp    Salt

250g   Chinese cabbage – quartered length wise with the centre left on

4 sprays  Calorie controlled cooking spray or 1-2 tbsp of oil

250 ml   Chicken stock (fresh or from stock cube) or from the boiling water

¼ tsp    White pepper powder

2 star anise



  1. Mix the minced pork, spring onion, ginger, cornflour, wine, salt and pepper.
  2. Divide into 4 portions and roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Boil the balls in a pan of water, just about covering it. Boil until the ball is firm. Remove fry the balls.
  4. In a non-stick pan, spray with the calorie controlled spray and lightly brown the meatballs. You can do it all at once in the pan.
  5. In another pot, arrange the Chinese cabbage in the bottom of the pot. When the meat balls are done, remove and place on top of the cabbage. Add in the stock and bring it to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. Season the gravy if necessary.
  7. Dish up and serve rice and other accompaniments.


Pork, mixture
The meat and other fresh ingredients.


pork lion's head
The big lion’s head, all ready to be pan-fried.


pork, Lion's Head, pan fry, healthy,
Lightly browning the meatballs gives it a better flavour.


Chinese cabbage, pork
The Lion’s heads fitting snugly on top of the Chinese cabbage.


vegetable, pork balls,
There, the final product. Nice big meat balls in a well-flavoured braised vegetable and stock.


You can add the vegetable and stock in the original pan or wok, and cook as usual.

It is just that I am cooking other things as well and I need space for another wok.


I hope you like this recipe. Please like and share. I normally post once a week, so there will be some recipes and the occasional reviews on food in restaurants or from my travels.

Until the next post, enjoy the weekend!

Penang Lassie.


You may also like...