To mark the Chinese Lunar Year, I cooked these Chinese Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs, in the Instant Pot, along with several Chinese dishes. I did this to attract the aura of good luck and I had the ingredients in my kitchen. Inspired by a recipe from the site Omnivores Cookbook, I got cooking.
Chinese New Year is an annual moveable feast and a time of renewal for Asians. Houses are cleaned. Bills are paid. Matters are put in order. It is a time for taking stock. Families come together from afar to celebrate with food. Filipinos celebrate Chinese New Year in a big way. In the Philippines, the event is vibrant and loud. In Manila, the country’s capital, one finds bargains at the malls. Food is abundant on everyone’s tables. The city is one big party. Traffic gets snarled, too. If you celebrate Chinese New Year in Manila or Asia, make advance reservations for accommodations, restaurants or visiting friends.
The Chinese community in the Philippines is very much a part of the economy, culture and landscape. Chinese influence is strong in foods and traditions. Growing up, we enjoyed ‘tikoy’, a steamed brown sugar and rice cake along with a buffet of dishes.
Here in my American kitchen, I make sure we have an abundance of food like these hefty, savory pork meatballs. I also cook Asian Braised Pork Ribs, Pancit Bihon Noodles, Char-Siu Pork, Steamed Fish, Pineapple Tarts, Chinese Peanut Cookies and for good luck Tikoy or Nian Gao. I am certain the abundance of heartwarming Chinese-inspired food on our table will herald good luck, good fortune and good vibes on all of us, hopefully for a better world this year and the coming Lunar New Years. Happy Chinese Lunar New Year to you, my dear friends.
Gong Xi Fa Cai (in Mandarin).
Gong Hey Fat Choy (in Cantonese).
Chinese Lion's Head Pork Meatballs - Instant Pot + Stove-top
- Instant Pot multicooker - 6 quarts or 8 quarts.
- Standard steamer for stove-top
- Large skillet or Wok: 12 to 14 inches diameter
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 4 Tablespoons toyo (soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 stalks scallions, chopped Divided, use whites for meatballs mixture; rest of greens for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup chopped water chestnuts, canned drained
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs regular, plain-flavored
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 whole white or yellow onion, chopped
- steamed rice
To cook meatballs stove-top:
- In a large mxing bowl, combine the ground pork, rice wine, toyo, salt, sugar, ginger, cornstarch and scallion whites. Add the chestnuts and eggs. Add the bread crumbs. Pour the sesame oil. Blend ingredients well till all are incorporated.Shape meatballs into 2-inch sized balls. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to firm up.
- In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the onions.Add the meatballs to the skillet or wok. Brown the meatballs for 2 minutes till they are a light gold color.Remove the meatballs and transfer to a steaming rack.Steam inside a standard steamer over boiling water for 40 minutes.When meatballs are done, arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with scallion greens. Serve with steamed white rice.
To cook in the Instant Pot:
- Combine ingredients for meatballs and shape into 2-inch balls. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.Click the Saute function of the Instant Pot.Add the vegetable oil to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. When oil is hot in 1 to 2 minute, saute the onions till translucent, for 2 minutes. Add the meatballs to the inner pot with the onions. Braise the meatballs for 2 minutes till brown. Remove the browned meatballs and set aside.Click Cancel to turn off Saute function.
- Let the inner pot cool down for about 5 minutes. Discard any leftover oil.Pour 2 to 3 cups water into the inner pot. Place a trivet in the inner pot, over the water. Water should reach the side of the trivet. Do not drown it.Place the pork meatballs in a round, 7-inch steaming pan that has holes. Put this steamer pan over the trivet.Close and lock the lid. Set the valve to Sealing.Click Manual + High Pressure and cook the meatballs for 20 minute.When buzzer sounds to announce cooking is over, do a Quick Release.Carefully unlock and open the lid. Set the lid on a safe, dry place of the counter.Using a large cooking spoon, transfer the meatballs to a serving platter.Garnish with scallion greens. Serve warm with rice.
Notes on the Instant Pot:
- It takes about 17 minutes for the Instant Pot to preheat before the High Pressure cooking time begins. For other multicookers, please consult the product manual.Safety: Use metal or silicone accessories recommended for the Instant Pot. Do NOT use glassware. Read the manual for complete safety information.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. Buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.