chinese style lamb meatballs

Chinese-Style Lamb Meatballs Recipe



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, thickly sliced
  • 3 cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) shaoxing wine
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind puree
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) light soy sauce
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced steamed greens and rice or rice noodles, to serve


  • 750 g lamb mince
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, or until golden. Add the ginger, garlic and star anise and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until aromatic. Pour in the shaoxing wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the brown sugar, tamarind puree, light soy sauce and stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium–low and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the sauce is reduced by one-third.
  2. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide the mixture into eight portions. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into balls. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat and fry the meatballs in two batches, shaking the pan and turning them regularly, for 5–6 minutes until browned all over.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and gently turn to coat without breaking them. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook over low heat for 35–40 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the meatballs from the pan. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the cornflour paste. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy. Return the meatballs to the pan.
  4. Scatter the sesame seeds and spring onion over the meatballs and serve with steamed greens and rice or rice noodles.
How to make whisky sticky ribs


Slow cooker method

Follow steps 1 and 2. Transfer the sauce and meatballs to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours. Remove the meatballs and turn the slow cooker up to high. Add the cornflour mixture and cook for 5–8 minutes to thicken, then return the meatballs to the cooker. Follow step 4.


NZMCD the slow cook

‘The Slow Cook’ by Justine Schofield, Published by Plum,
RRP $39.99. Photography by Rob Palmer

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