Pearl Balls

These bite-size meatballs, popular throughout Lunar New Year, are rolled in soaked uncooked glutinous rice, or sticky rice, and then steamed to perfection. Sax seasons the juicy pork meatballs with MSG, in addition to aromatics like leek and ginger, for an extra punch of mouthwatering richness.

Regularly asked concerns
What is glutinous rice?
Glutinous rice, also called sticky or sweet rice, is a kind of rice grown generally in South, Southeast, and East Asia. The grains are brief and opaque, with very low amylose content, and are specifically sticky when prepared. Glutinous rice is available at Asian supermarket or online at

What is MSG?
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a crystallized food additive made from glutamic acid, among the most typical naturally happening amino acids. You can buy MSG online or discover it at Asian grocery stores. Order MSG online or try to find it at Asian supermarket.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen
The pork mix gets a zippy, oniony freshness from the ginger and leek, while the soy, sugar, and MSG offer simply the ideal quantity of balance and umami. The drenched glutinous rice adheres to the pork and becomes completely tender after cooking, making these feel like little rice steamed dumplings in a way.

Suggested pairing
A medium-bodied, spicy red sets completely with these savory meatballs, such as Argiolas Costera.

3/4 cup raw white glutinous rice

Pearl Balls

1/3 cup sliced leek (from 1 leek).

1 large egg white.

1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger.

1 tablespoon rice vinegar.

1 tablespoon soy sauce.

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine.

1 tablespoon granulated sugar.

1/2 teaspoon MSG (such as Ajinomoto).

Soy sauce, marinaded ginger, Chinese mustard powder (rehydrated according to package directions), and small romaine lettuce leaves, for serving.
Location rice in a big bowl; include water to cover rice by a minimum of 2 inches. Cover bowl, and let stand at space temperature level at least 8 hours or approximately 16 hours. Drain well, and set aside.

Stir together pork, leek, and egg white in a large bowl. Add ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, wine, sugar, and MSG; stir until simply combined. Forming mixture into about 30 balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Dealing with 1 ball at a time, roll in drained pipes rice till well covered. Organize rice-coated meatballs in a double-stacked bamboo cleaner lined with parchment paper, or use a single steamer and work in batches.

Put water into a big frying pan to a depth of 1/2 inch; bring to a simmer over medium. Location covered cleaner over simmering water; cook till a thermometer inserted in center of each ball signs up 160 ° F, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve meatballs hot with soy sauce, pickled ginger, rehydrated Oriental mustard powder, and small romaine lettuce leaves.

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