Lion's Head vegan

They are the perfect choice for a Chinese New Year feast, but what if some of your guests and family members don’t eat meat? This vegan version of lion’s head with tofu, water chestnuts and cashew nuts will make everyone happy on Chinese New Year or any other celebration.

Preparation time: over 30 minutes

Ingredients for 6 vegan lion heads


Shan'shi ingredients

Additional ingredients

  • 300 g tofu (squeezed and chopped)
  • 150 g water chestnuts (chopped)
  • 150 g cashew nuts (chopped)
  • 30g shiitake mushrooms (sliced) (if fresh mushrooms are not available, dried mushrooms can be used by soaking them in water for 30 minutes and then squeezing them out)
  • 30g spring onions
  • 300 g corn starch
  • 100ml Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine (If not available, replace with cooking sherry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 10 leaves of cabbage
  • 500 ml water

Lion’s head meatballs derive their name from the famous Chinese lion statue that traditionally guards the entrance to the home and represents prosperity, strength and vitality.
They are the perfect choice for a Chinese New Year feast


Wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel and squeeze out all the liquid with your hands. Chop the tofu and place it in a separate bowl. Chop the cashew nuts and water chestnuts and add them to the tofu along with the salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, spring onions and corn starch. Mix everything very well until you achieve a paste-like consistency. can be mixed with a blender.

Traditionally, Lion’s Head balls are quite large, so prepare each vegetable ball with a handful of paste, shape until firm and round, then roll in cornstarch until fully coated. Deep fry your vegan Lion’s Head until golden brown, remove from the oil and set aside.

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add wok oil, garlic, ginger and shiitake mushrooms. Cook for one minute, then carefully add Chinese cabbage leaves to each side of the pot. Add the lion’s head meatballs to the pot, pour water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp soy sauce, cover the pot and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the Shaoxing wine and cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat, then reduce the heat and cook for another ten minutes.

You can serve your vegan lion’s heads in a bowl or simply transfer them to the pot you cooked them in. (a clay pot can be a good serving idea.)

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Tip :

Don’t forget to serve your Lion’s Head balls with a bowl of hot rice.

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