Ground Pork for Meat Balls

Ground pork is a staple of the Chinese diet; it is as popular in China as ground beef in the West. As the basis of all sorts of meat balls and meat loaves, it can be poached, fried, or steamed. Its use reflects the Chinese knack of economical stretching of meat.

Although pork has more flavor and texture than beef, many of these same techniques can be used for beef, and for lamb as well. If you use ground beef, be sure to use the fatty type, which is also less expensive. Ground turkey mixed with a little ham fat may also be used.

The Basic Meat Ball recipe that follows is used to make deep-fried stuffed meat balls and steamed meat balls coated with glutinous rice. You can also deep-fry the Basic Meat Balls and top them with a tomato sauce, for example, for an unusual pasta sauce. Or simply deep-fry them and serve them with a plum sauce dip.

Ingredients

Basic Meat Balls

  • 1 pound pork (pork butt), coarsely ground
  • 1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon roasted and crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and minced

Method

Deep-frying

Mix these ingredients together well. Rub vegetable oil over your hands to keep the meat from sticking to them. Roll about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture between the palms to form a ball. These can be deep-fried at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or prepared in either of the ways that follow.

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