Tag Archives: Lucky Peach cookbook recipe

Lion’s Head Meatballs to the Rescue

As comforting as it gets -- juicy pork meatballs in gingery, garlicky broth.
As comforting as it gets — juicy pork meatballs in gingery, garlicky broth.

So much is out of our hands these days: whether everyone wears a mask or not; whether a viable COVID-19 vaccine will be developed soon; whether kids go back to classrooms this fall; and whether life as we used to know it will ever be that way again.

One thing we do have command over, however, is meatballs. The way the malleable ground meat fits easily in our hands. The way we use our fingers to gently shape large ones or small ones. The way we form perfect spheres or slightly more lopsided ones (usually mine). And the way we season and cook them to create a pure taste of happiness.

That’s just what “Lion’s Head Meatballs” deliver.

This particular recipe comes from “Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes: The First Cookbook from the Cult Food Magazine” (Clarkson Potter, 2015) by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach.

If Meehan’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was recently forced to resign as editor of The Los Angeles Times food section, following a slew of allegations from former employees of verbal and sexual harassment over the years.

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Momofuku Ssam Bar’s Simplified Sichuan Pork Ragu

Comfort noodles -- Asian/Italian-style.

Comfort noodles — Asian/Italian-style.


Imagine a tangle of noodles that’s the “bastard love child of Bolognese and mapo tofu.”

How could that not be good, right?

That’s the apt description of this “Sichuan Pork Ragu” from the cookbook, “Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes” (Clarkson Potter) by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach magazine.

The clever cookbook is a showcase of familiar Asian dishes (“Green Papaya Salad”), with some creative liberties taken at times (“Miso Clam Chowder), that’s highly seasoned with irreverent musings.


Take the “Rotisserie Chicken Ramen,” in which the editors anticipate your question of “Do I really need to cook this for TWO HOURS??” The answer is yes, if you want the flavor at its peak. There’s the recipe for “Dashimaki Tamago,” the traditional Japanese sushi egg omelet, in which the editors offer encouragement by writing, “I always thought making this kind of omelet was some next-level ninja thing until we started working on this book. Now I know it can be made in 10 minutes flat, and the worst thing that will happen is that it won’t be as pretty as the one in this picture.”

This Sichuan ragu is a simplified version of one from Chef David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York. I love this sweet-spicy, chunky ragu because it’s a change-up from the usual Italian pasta dish, yet it’s as easy and comforting as one. It’s also faster to make than an authentic bolognese.

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