Prep 45 mins
Cook 15 mins
- coarse salt
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 lb shiitake mushroom, stems removed and finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1⁄3 cup tamari
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch, plus
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 napa cabbage, cut into large dice (a medium to large head of cabbage)
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil; add in salt, then the rice; when the water returns to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer and cover the pot; simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed; set aside.
- Drizzle some oil in a small nonstick skillet preheated to med-high heat; then cook the mushrooms and garlic for 3-4 minutes; season with a little salt.
- Remove from the pan and cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour 2 inches of oil in the bottom of a large wok or wok-shaped skillet and heat over high heat.
- Place pork in a bowl; add in the mushroom/garlic mixture, tamari, egg, a few spoonfuls of the cornstarch, and pepper.
- Use a pair of chopsticks to mix the meat, stirring only in one direction until combined; the mixture will be wet.
- Place all but one tablespoon of the remaining cornstarch on a plate.
- Form 10-12 large soft meatballs and dust them lightly but evenly in the cornstarch.
- When the oil smokes, add the balls and flash-fry them for 2 minutes on each side, or until deep golden in color; drain the balls on paper towels.
- In a deep pot, heat the chicken stock to a bubble; add half of the cabbage, then layer in all the balls and the remaining cabbage.
- The pot should be filled to the top; place lid on pot and simmer 10 minutes; the cabbage will cook down and add to the broth, remove a ladleful of broth to a small bowl and dissolve a tablespoons of cornstarch in it, then return it to the pot.
- Simmer with the lid off for a minute or two to thicken the broth.
- Serve the cabbage in a pile, the meatballs in the middle (a head surrounded by a mane—lion’s head).
- Serve with rice and extra tamari.