|Literal meaning||beef ball|
Beef ball (Chinese: 牛丸; pinyin: Niúwán) is a common food in Cantonese and overseas Chinese communities and originated from the Teochew people. As the name suggests, beef balls are made of pulverized beef. They are similar in form and preparation to fish balls but have a darker color.
Nearly all meatballs (made from pork, beef, fish, or other animal flesh) made in Asia differ significantly in texture to their European counterparts. Instead of mincing the meat, which is done for meatballs of European origin, cooks pound the meat until it is pulverized. This process lends itself to the meatballs' smooth texture. Pounding, unlike mincing, uncoils and stretches previously wound protein strands in meat and allows them to cure to a gel with heat in a similar manner as surimi. This technique is also often used for meat fillings in steamed dishes.
After the meat is prepared, it is divided into balls, seasoned, and boiled in water. With prolonged cooking, the tiny pieces of tendon from the meat in the balls will dissolve. The result is meatballs with a tender, bouncy texture.
Beef balls are commonly mixed in with wonton noodles and other fish ball noodles. It is available in traditional markets and supermarkets. Beef balls are also a popular ingredient for hot pot dishes. It has a variety of uses within Chinese cuisine.
Some Hong Kong grocery stores and markets have controversially been found to sell beef balls that contain other kinds of ground meat, such as pork and chicken. This discovery raised concerns for religious customers who cannot eat pork.