SPOONING: Chinese Pork Meatballs

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

A couple years ago, my sister introduced me to the Meatball Shop, which promptly became my new favorite restaurant in NYC (the owner may have had something to do with it). Such rich, bold flavors! So many varieties! I had no idea that the humble meatball could be elevated to such culinary achievements. I became even more smitten when my sister gave me a signed cookbook from the Meatball Shop and I discovered that making them required almost no skill. If you could form play-doh balls in preschool, you could make meatballs.

Fast forward to 2014. I’ve tried most of the recipes at this point (Mediterranean Lamb Balls and Jerk Chicken Balls are my two favorites), but I realized that something was missing. Despite the cookbook’s 28 variations, I noticed that a Chinese-inspired meatball was missing from the pantheon. Thus, in the honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year, I present my first original meatball recipe. Gong hey fat choy!

Chinese Pork Meatballs

10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking. Makes 20.


2 pounds lean ground pork

2 eggs

½ cup cooked white rice

1 cup green onions (about 4 stalks), chopped

2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced

2 red chili peppers, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon ground Szechuan peppers*, or 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large glass baking pan with oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together. Using your hands, mix everything together until ingredients are evenly distributed. The resulting mixture will be very moist.

Taking a small handful at a time, roll and pat the meat so that it resembles something the size of a golf ball. Arrange the balls into neatly packed rows in the glass baking dish (it’s okay for the meatballs to touch each other).

Bake for 20 minutes, until the center of the meatballs reach 165 degrees and is no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes, to allow for the liquid to reabsorb. Serve over rice with a drizzle of soy sauce. 

*Szechuan peppers can be found in most Asian grocery stories. I toast mine in a dry skillet until fragrant and then use a pestle and mortar to grind to a coarse powder. 

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