Easy Chinese Recipe For Meatballs with Shrimp (蝦丸)

chinese shrimp meatbal

Hands-on Time: 25 min. Total Time: 30 min.

SHORT VERSION:

Peel shrimp (2lb), chopped, smash, and/or grind into ‘ground’ shrimp. Mix ground shrimp with ground pork (2.5lb), salt (1T), corn starch (1T), and egg white (2). Mix thoroughly until you get a sticky, smooth, and paste-like consistency. Boil water (1 large pot), prepare an ice bath (ice+water). Grab a fist full of the grounded meat, squeeze it so the paste pops out like a ball between thumb and index finger. Scrape the ‘ball’ into boiling water. Move the fish balls into ice bath after they are fully cooked (~ 3 to 5 min, see tip.3). Repeat the process until you get all the mixture in the boiling water.

INTRO:

Meatball is one of the most common forms of food preparation in Asian culture. Seafood (with or without shell), poultry, pork, beef, or even vegetables are all great candidate for meatballs. There are also lots of ways to cook meatballs. Although mostly cooked in various kinds of broth, you can also put them on a stick and grill or fried them. Stir fry is also a good option (slice them into small strips). Of all the meatballs available, my favorite is shrimp meatball. It’s basically a combination of ground port and ground shrimp. I love the combination of shrimp and pork that gives the meatballs a unique flavor and bouncy texture.

Making meatballs by hand is fun but it does take some work. This is probably one of the most ‘hands-on’ dishes that I’ve shared so far. Not because it’s necessary, but because I actually enjoy the process. If you don’t want to get your hands ‘dirty’, you can do everything in this recipe without touching any ingredients. For example, buy pre-peeled shrimp instead of whole shrimp, use food processor instead of chopping with knives, or use scoop to form meatballs instead of hands. But to a person who likes to cook, it’s just not as fun to use all these tools (despite it’s more effective and easier with all the tools). I also felt that all these hands-on hard work and the irregular shape of the meatballs somehow makes them taste better. That’s just me. So, what’s your choice? Hand or tool? Let me know!

TIP:

Tip.1

Use easy-peeled shrimp or even pre-peeled shrimp to save some work.

Tip.2

I use a pretty ‘manual’ process in this recipe, but you can save lots of time by using blender or food processor to ground or ‘process’ shrimp, and a mixer to mix everything together.

Tip.3

Shrimp meatballs will drop to the bottom of the pot initially, they will then rise to the surface (of boiling water) when they are ~ half cooked (change in density). Let them cook for another ~ 3 mins before putting into the ice bath.

Tip.4

Use lots of water for boiling and cooling shrimp balls so the temperature won’t change as we cook and cool shrimp meatballs.

Tip.5

Avoid overcooking the shrimp meatball, especially if you plan to use them for other dishes. Shrimp meatballs can lose its ‘bouncy’, ‘springy’ texture if overcooked. If you plan to cook these shrimp balls again in the future, just cook the shrimp meatballs to  about halfway (i.e. put them into ice bath after they rise to the top of boiling water) and freeze them for future use. They are perfect for any soup based dishes.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE (G.E.M.)

The small steps to take you dish to the next level

G.E.M.1

If you start with whole shrimp, make sure you save the head and shell of the shrimp and use them to make shrimp broth. Simply boil these shells in water for ~ 30 min.

G.E.M.2

Sprinkle scallion, chives, or parsley over the finished dish for presentation.

G.E.M.3

Add chopped Chinese mushroom into the mixture for additional texture and flavor. (Although I prefer just shrimp and pork)

G.E.M.4

Turn shrimp meatballs into a colorful, delicious soup with shrimp broth, tomato, egg drop, peppers, mushroom, and whatever ingredients you like.

COOKWARE:

  • (optional) Knife (only if you are chopping the shrimps)
  • Big mixing bowl
  • (optional) Food processor
  • (optional) Mixer
  • Pot (2, 1 for boiling water, 1 for ice bath, ~ 4 qt)

INGREDIENTS:

Chinese Shrimp and Pork Meatball ingredients

Protein

  • Ground pork (2.5 lb)
  • Peeled shrimp (2 lb)
  • Egg white (from 2 eggs)

Vegetable

  • (Optional G.E.M.) Scallion – 1 to 2 strips, chopped

Sauce/condiments/Spices

Units: t = teaspoon, T = tablespoon.

*note* relative ratio is more important the absolute amount.

  • Salt (1T)
  • Corn starch (1T)

BEFORE COOKING:

Recipes for Meatball - Chinese Style shrimp and Pork Meatball

Prep.1

Peel shrimp. Use pre-peeled or easy-peeled shrimp to save time and energy

Prep.2

Finely chopped and smash the shrimp into paste-like consistency. You can also use food processor and blender to simplified the process (but watch out for shrimp taste afterwards).

Prep.3

Mix grounded shrimp (2 lb), ground pork (2.5lb), salt (1T), corn starch (1T), egg white (2) in a mixing bowl until they reach a sticky consistency. The more you mix, the more ‘bouncy’ the shrimp meatballs will become.

COOKING STEPS:

Cooking.1

In a pot (~ 4qt), fill water to ¾ of the way, boil water.

Cooking.2

In a separate pot, fill water to ½ way and then add ice to ¾ of the way.

Cooking.3

hand gesture for making chinese shrimp and pork meatball

Use your hands (thoroughly washed and dried, make sure no hand soap smell on your hand), grab ~ ¾ fist full of shrimp meatball, lightly ‘pad’ (like clapping) the meat to get rid of excess air, then hold 4 fingers tight together, squeeze the paste so it comes out from the gap between index finger and thumb like a ‘balloon’. We are looking for a ball shape here. Scrape the ‘ball’ into the boiling water and repeat this process for the rest of the shrimp + pork paste.

*Drizzle a little bit of oil on your hand can help you handle the grounded meat easier.

(Optional) If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, use an ice cream scoop to ‘scoop’ the grounded meat mixture into boiling water.

Cooking.4

Process of quench meatballs after cooking

Move the meatballs into ice bath once they rise to the top of the boiling water and stayed there for ~ 3 min (see tip.3).

This step cools the meatball quickly to give it an extra ‘bouncy’ texture.

Cooking.5

ingredients for soup

(G.E.M.4) Boil 2 cups of shrimp broth, add 8 shrimp meatballs and any ingredients you like. Cook for 5 min. Turn off heat and then add beaten eggs, slowly stir the eggs to form egg drops.

Soupon with meatballs made with shrimp and pork

 

Easy Chinese Recipe For Meatballs with Shrimp (蝦丸)
Peel shrimp (2lb), chopped, smash, and/or grind into ‘ground’ shrimp. Mix ground shrimp with ground pork (2.5lb), salt (1T), corn starch (1T), and egg white (2). Mix thoroughly until you get a sticky, smooth, and paste-like consistency. Boil water (1 large pot), prepare an ice bath (ice+water). Grab a fist full of paste, squeeze it so the paste pops out like a ball between thumb and index finger. Scrape the ‘ball’ into boiling water. Move the fish balls into ice bath after they are fully cooked (~ 3 to 5 min, see tip.3). Repeat the process until you get all the mixture in the boiling water.
Author:
Cuisine: Chinese
Recipe type: Pork, shrimp, meatballs, soup
Serves: 10
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • Ground pork (2.5 lb)
  • Peeled shrimp (2 lb)
  • Egg white (from 2 eggs)
  • Scallion or parsely – 1 to 2 strips, chopped
  • Salt (1T)
  • Corn starch (1T)
Instructions
  1. Peel shrimp. Use pre-peeled or easy-peeled shrimp to save time and energy
  2. Finely chopped and smash the shrimp into paste-like consistency
  3. (Optional) Use food processor and blender (watch out for shrimp taste).
  4. Mix shrimp paste (2 lb), ground pork (2.5lb), salt (1T), corn starch (1T), egg white (2) in a mixing bowl until them reach a sticky consistency. The more you mix, the more ‘bouncy’ the shrimp meatballs will become.
  5. In a pot (~ 4qt), fill water to ¾ of the way, boil water.
  6. In a separate pot, fill water to ½ way and then add ice to ¾ of the way.
  7. Use your hand (thoroughly washed and dried, make sure no hand soap smell on your hand). Grab ~ ¾ fist full of shrimp meatball, hold 4 fingers tight together, squeeze the paste so it comes out from the gap between index finger and thumb like a ‘balloon’. We are looking for a ball shape here. Scrape the ‘ball’ into the boiling water and repeat this process for the rest of the shrimp + pork paste.
  8. (Optional) If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, use an ice cream scoop to ‘scoop’ the shrimp meat paste into boiling water.
  9. Move the meatballs into the ice bath once they rise to the top of the boiling water and stayed there for ~ 3 min (see tip.3).
  10. This step cools the meatball quickly giving it an extra ‘bouncy’ texture.
  11. (to make soup) Boil 2 cups of shrimp broth, add 8 shrimp meatballs and any ingredients you like. Cook for 5 min. Turn off heat and then add beaten eggs, slowly stir the eggs to form egg drops.
Notes
Use easy-peeled shrimp or even pre-peeled shrimp to save some work.
I use a pretty ‘manual’ process in this recipe, but you can save lots of time by using blender or food processer to turn shrimp into paste, and a mixer to mix everything together.
Shrimp meatballs will drop to the bottom of the pot initially, and then rise to the surface (of boiling water) when they are ~ half cooked (change in density). Let them cook for another ~ 3mins before putting into the ice bath.
Avoid overcooking the shrimp meatball, especially if you plan to use then for other dishes. Shrimp meatballs can lose its ‘bouncy’, ‘springy’ texture if overcooked. If you plan to cook these shrimp balls again in the future, just cook the shrimp meatballs halfway (i.e. put them into ice bath after they rise to the top of boiling water) and freeze them for future use. They are perfect for any soup based dishes.
If you start with whole shrimp, make sure you save the head and shell of the shrimp and use them to make shrimp broth. Simply boil these shells in water for ~ 30 min.
Sprinkle scallion or chives over the finished dish for presentation.
Add chopped Chinese mushroom into the mixture for additional texture and flavor. (Although I prefer just shrimp and pork)
Turn shrimp meatballs into a colorful, delicious soup with shrimp broth, tomato, egg drop, mushroom, and whatever ingredients you like.

 

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