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A Giveaway and A Recipe from Two Red Bowls

by Emily
A holiday present from me to you: Cynthia's new cookbook "A Common Table"

 I am going to fangirl a little bit here. Bear with me please! So, here it goes:

Can we talk about how good Cynthia’s new cookbook from Two Red Bowls is?! Cynthia released the cookbook on October 23rd of this year. Since then, I have been cooking up a storm with all of her new yummy recipes.

Frying up Lion's Head Meatballs

I have been following her blog for a few years now. I find myself enjoying our similarities. As a southerner, it always makes me smile when her recipes hint to her southern sensibilities. Whenever her posts involve traditional Korean recipes, I leap with excitement and cook them up for my fiancé, who is a native South Korean. He always gives his stamp of approval (and often tells me to study up on her recipes because they are so good.) Finally, I always know she is enjoying her time in the kitchen. Her recipes are filled with love for her family and traditions.

Steaming the meatballs. A photo of meatballs with bok choy
Steaming the meatballs

Recently, Cynthia and I have exchanged a few emails here and there. I just can’t express how hard it was to contain my fangirliness. Which, now that I think about it, isn’t hidden too well in this post. Whelp, it is out there on the internet now. Anyway, she has said that I can run a giveaway with my extra copy of her new cookbook. I waited until December because I believe this book is the prefect Christmas/Holiday season present. I wanted to give a present to one of you!

For this post I cooked one of MY FAVORITE recipes from Cynthia’s blog and cookbook: Great-Grandmother’s Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs. She actually used this recipe for a giveaway post as well. Oops! I didn’t mean to repeat, but oh my goodness they are that good. They actually may be one of my top five recipes I have cooked in my kitchen. I originally tried this recipe when she posted it on her blog a few years ago (I don’t remember exactly when, but you can look it up in the Two Red Bowls search bar.) I spotted it again when first flipping through the book.

A bowl of rice with lion's head meatballs
The perfect result! Yummy Lion’s Head Meatballs

The meat balls are just slightly crunchy on the outside while juicy and tender on the inside. Steaming these meatballs save the meat from drying out. They are slightly sweet from the sugar, while also having the bite of the ginger, garlic, and green onions. (My fiancé insists this recipe goes perfectly with kimchi)

This recipe is a flavor adventure. I promise the rest of the book is too! You can join the giveaway on my Instagram or you can buy the book on Amazon. To join the giveaway you must like the photo and follow me! You have until 12 pm ET on Sunday December 9th, 2018 to join the giveaway! Make sure to check out Cynthia’s Instagram and her blog: Two Red Bowls.

Update/Edit: The giveaway is closed! Congratulations to @the.az.peach on Instagram! 

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A Giveaway and A Recipe from Two Red Bowls

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Emily Course: Entrées


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Bok Choy
  • 1 ½ pounds bok choy

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Meat Balls
  • 1 pound ground pork

  • ¼ cup finely sliced scallions (about 3-4 scallions)

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 to 3 cloves)

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 1 cup vegetable oil, or as much as needed to fry


  • Bok Choy
  • Wash and clean the bok choy, try to leave the heads intact, save for trimming the very ends of the stems. Place the bok choy in a large 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot. It should fill the pot almost to the top. (when the bok choy steams it will shrink and wilt) Drizzle the bok choy with soy sauce and sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt. Set the pot aside.
  • Meatballs
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, scallions, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, and salt. Stir with chopsticks or a spoon until well-combined. Next, add the eggs. Mix vigorously until fully incorporated. Add the cornstarch and mix again until the mixture forms a thick, batter or porridge-like consistency.
  • Pour the oil into a large wok or nonstick skillet. Just enough to coat the bottom of the pan with a half-inch of oil. Heat on medium-high. Let the oil heat up. Do not add mixture in until oil is hot. When the oil reaches about 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop to drop balls of the pork mixture into the pan. Do not crowd the meatballs. Usually 4 or 5 fit, and end up frying in two or three batches. Let sizzle in the pan until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. It does not need to cook through, since we’ll be steaming the meatballs to finish. Once the meatball is browned on both sides, remove with a slotted spoon. Place on top of the prepared bok choy.
  • Once all the meatballs are browned and added to the top of the bok choy, cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the bok choy and meatballs steam for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are tender.
  • When meatballs are cooked through and bok choy is done to your liking, serve warm. Eat with plenty of rice.

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Dani January 11, 2019 - 12:09 am

I just bought a copy of this book online – I love the review! Can’t wait for my copy to arrive 🙂

Emily January 28, 2019 - 6:19 pm

This cookbook has quickly turned into one of my favorites! I recommend everything! Let me know which recipe is your favorite once your book arrives!

cynthia January 4, 2019 - 12:23 pm

Emily, a super belated thank you for such a wonderful post!!! Your Shanghainese meatballs look STUNNING and I’m so incredibly touched by your thoughtful words. I can’t express how happy I am that you like the book and the recipes! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

Emily April 22, 2020 - 11:46 am

Hi Cynthia! This is my belated thank you! I am still loving the book and cook out of it often!!!!! Definitely one of my favorites!

Katherine December 8, 2018 - 2:34 pm

I know mom can’t win, but I want these prepared for me next time you are home(if I haven’t made them yet!) They sound fabulous!

Emily December 10, 2018 - 1:09 pm

I definitely will! They are so yummy!


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