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63. Fried vegetarian mince balls with swede


We have just been to a very glamourous wedding of a friend. It was my first time to experience a really traditional church wedding with the whole ‘full set’. Since wedding ceremonies and receptions in China are totally different, and me and most of my friends normally opted for simpler ones :), this was not only a moment of sharing the happiness with them, but also a cultural experience for me.

It was very particular moving when listening to the Priest talking about love, marriage and their value in everyday’s life. Sometimes, when we get on with daily life, and maybe at some point, started taking many things for granted, we forgot the value of them, forgot to appreciate we are being loved, and we have somebody to love. Listening to the those words for love and marriage, I suddenly felt like I could see a time tunnel, the starting point is now, and the tunnel is filled in with warm colour of the sun, we – walking through the tunnel with holding hands, with deep love towards each other, and sincere appreciation towards what we have and promise to ourselves again that we are going to continue this love to the end of the world.

– So, best wishes to my dear friend, and best wishes to everyone with love, and enjoy loving and being loved……:)

How to cook swede Chinese recipe
Chinese vegetarian mince balls

I called this dish ‘Fried vegetarian mince balls with swede’. Swede is not exactly the same vegetable as we normally use in northeast China, so the name in Chinese is different.

Chinese Luo bo

The original recipe uses what we call ‘ Luo bo ’ – a very typical Chinese vegetable – I have tried to look up online see how to translate it into English, but no luck, :( what I got is this – “it is a vegetable originally grown in China, mainly in the northeast, so it is also called northeast big red luo bo. From the appearance, it is more like a very big radish, almost same colour, shape, texture, but the scale – more similar to swede. The big radish is more juicy, crunchy, and spicy when compared to Swede”.

But I really thought swede was ‘luo bo’ when the first I saw it, until I bought it, and tried to chop it, then realized it is not … exactly the same, although it does have some similarities. I had no idea how to deal with it, so just tried to cook it as ‘luo bo’ recipes, it did not turn out very strange – I got encouraged, kept on cooking it this way.

Chinese Luo bo wanzi

‘Fried vegetarian mince balls with Luo bo’ (‘Luobo wanzi’ ) is a very typical northeast dish, actually it is one of a few dishes that my mum cooks and I really miss. (If I tell this to my mum, she would be very surprised, because when I was at home, I almost ‘refused’ to eat any cooked ‘luo bo’ dishes, apart from salad. But now, I miss it – it must be my homesick playing. )

‘Luo bo’ is considered as very healthy food, similar to Chinese leaves, it is agood source of vitamins and can help preventing cancer. It can be eaten with soybean paste dip, salad, soup, stir-fried, or in the fillings of dumplings, in to fried ‘wan zi’ is also another local popular way of home cooking, but it is not easy to find in the restaurants.

It is very easy to make, just shred the ‘swede’ into the smallest possible pieces, then add an egg (but you can leave out the egg if you are vegan) and flour (I also mixed a little bit corn flour – the real yellow corn flour) with a bit seasoning, shape it into small balls, and oil fry it.

‘Luobo wanzi’ can be served just like this, or it can be continuely cooked in stir frying with other seasonings, or made into soups. Also there are many different fillings can be mixed with swede, for example, with meat mince, and there are many recipes of making this ‘basic’ one. Anyway, here is one of the simple recipe. :)


Swede, flour, (I also mixed a little bit corn flour for mixing well), oil, salt, egg (optional), five spices powder (optional)


1) Peel the swede, and use grater (food shredder) to get swede into ‘mince’.

Cooking Chinese vegetarian mince ballsChinese mince balls

2) Put ‘minced swede’ into a deep sauce pan with water to boil briefly.

3)Then rinse, and squeeze out the extra water, place dried ‘minced swede’ in a mix bowl. Add a whisked egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 five spices powder, and gradually add in flour (and corn flour), until the mixture into a very good paste.

Chinese recipe with swede

4)Take a ‘spoon’ size of swede mix, and roll into a small round ball in between your hands.

Preparing Chinese mince ballsChinese mince balls with vegetables

5)In a wok, pour in oil (at least leave around 5cm deep in the wok), when the oil is very hot enough, place prepared swede ball into the oil to fry one by one.

Luo bo recipeLuo bo mince balls

6)Until the ‘balls’ turns gold, remove them from the oil –

– Ready to serve! The surface of the swede ball is supposed to be crispy. It can be dipped with salt and white pepper mix.

It is good to go with rice, noodles or Chinese bread, also a very good dish to go with beer, wine… :)

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