Lion's Head Meatball Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Lion's Head Meatball is a Shanghai dish, and one of my favorites.  It's normally served like a casserole dish.  Giant, oversized pork meatballs are served on a bed of cooked napa cabbage.  The ruffled cabbage leaves surrounding the meatballs supposedly resembles a lion's head and its mane, which is where the name comes from. This soup recipe is inspired by the traditional casserole dish.


For the Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 to 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp minced green onion
  • 1 tsp minced ginger root
  • 10 minced water chestnuts
  • 3/4 cup cold water

For the Soup

  • Napa cabbage
  • Glass noodles
  • Chicken stock
  • Lion's Head Meatballs


Make the Meatballs

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Take a large chunk of meat (whatever size you desire your meatballs to be), and roll into the shape of a ball in between you palms. Traditionally the meatballs for the casserole dish are very big.  But for the soup, they should be a bit smaller, about 2 inches in diameter.
  3. Fry the meatballs in a pan of hot oil, until meatball is fully cooked.

Make the Soup

  1. Soak dried glass noodles in a large bowl of water and set aside.  The glass noodles I buy are usually separated into little individual bundles.  I used 4 bundles, but it really depends on how much you want to use.  By soaking them in water first, when you put the noodles in your soup, it won't soak up all the soup liquid as it sits in the soup.
  2. Chop napa cabbage into bite-sized pieces.  I used about 7 napa cabbage leaves.
  3. Boil 8-10 cups of chicken stock in a large pot.
  4. After the chicken stock is boiling, add in the already cooked lion's head meatballs.  I put in 10 meatballs.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes on a low boil.  Add in napa cabbage and glass noodles, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and serve.

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

Did you make this recipe?

Share it on Instagram with the hashtag #kirbiecravings!