Vegan Dim Sum - Lion's Head Meatballs

The main feature of lion's head meatballs at dim sum is not only their size, but also the aromatics that go into making them. Dried tangerine peel is the secret ingredient and although it is not an overwhelming flavor, it does add something special to the mix.

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The keep with these vegan lion's head meatballs is to handle them gently and avoid overworking the wheat gluten. The combination of starch, flour and oil all work together to minimize gluten formation resulting in more tender meatballs.

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Vegan Lion’s Head Meat Balls

Makes 6 Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoon chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon dried tangerine peel powder, or fresh zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon beet root powder or sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegan pork powder or vegetable bouillon
  • 1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • pinch pepper
  • 4 water chestnuts, chopped very finely
  • 2 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Sweetened Soy Sauce Recipe


  1. Combine the wheat gluten, chickpea flour, potato starch, orange peel powder, beet root powder, salt, white pepper, garlic powder and vegan pork powder into a bowl. Mix until combined.
  2. Add in the water chestnuts and parsley. Gently mix.
  3. Pour in the oil and water. Fold mixture gently until combined.
  4. Using wet hands, form 6 balls with the mixture and place onto a plate for steaming. Let the meatballs rest for about 15 minutes before steaming.
  5. In a steamer on medium high heat, steam the meatballs for about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve by pouring sweetened soy sauce on top. Garnish with additional scallions.