Among the hundreds of appetising dishes I see on blogs and plan to prepare one day, some are so appealing, I simply cannot stop thinking about them. Such was the case of Pearl Balls I saw a couple of weeks ago at Jeno’s blog (Weeknite Meals). Reading the recipe and looking at the lovely photos I instantly knew it was my kind of dish.
Pearl Balls are made of ground, seasoned pork, coated in sticky rice and, as Jeno mentioned, they are part of the dishes traditionally served during the Chinese New Year family gatherings. They are called “pearl” because the sticky (glutinous/sweet) rice they are coated in changes its milky colour to pearly during the steaming process. As Jeno had promised these pork balls proved not only delicious, but also very quick and easy to prepare. However, since the glutinous rice needs to be soaked for several hours, they have to be planned ahead (I soaked it overnight). Chopped water chestnuts give a pleasant slight crunch, but, as Jeno says, they can easily be omitted because frankly they don’t change the taste a lot. Pearl Balls can be served as a main course but also as snacks. They are excellent dipped in soy sauce seasoned with chili paste or oil. I have changed the recipe slightly, adding grated ginger which I love combined with pork. Click here to see Jeno’s original recipe and her beautiful photos. (You can also see the Pearl Balls as guest post on Nami’s Just One Cookbook blog). Happy New Year, Jeno, and thank you for this wonderful recipe!
Happy Chinese New Year to everyone who celebrates it!
TIP: If you don’t want to use fat pork, add some silken tofu to make sure the balls are not dry
Preparation: 30 minutes + several hours (or overnight) rice soaking time
Ingredients (about 30 balls):
about 500 g ground pork (a bit fatty or 400 g lean pork+100 g silken tofu)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or more if using low-sodium soy sauce)
5 water chestnuts peeled and chopped very finely (I used canned chestnuts)
200 g sticky/glutinous/sweet rice soaked for several hours or overnight
Combine all the ingredients apart from the rice.
Drain the rice and put it into a wide bowl.
Form meat balls (apricot size) and roll them in the rice.
Steam for about 20 minutes and serve with any sauce of your choice.
(They are also very good microwaved).