Pearl Balls (珍珠丸)

An old family friend used to makes these delicious steamed pearl balls for us when I was young. She would make them, freeze them, and bring them to us whenever she visited. As a kid, I especially liked the sticky rice coating!

These pearl balls I made tasted just like what I remembered! Now as an adult, I appreciate the water chestnut and the ginger more. The water chestnut adds the crunch and the ginger gives an extra layer of flavor. They are yummy, especially when served with chili oil sauce. Luke wasn't too impressed by them, though. Boo. But oh well, more for me!

The pearl balls freeze very well. So make extra, freeze them (uncooked), and steam them in the rice cooker while cooking rice on busy days.

Pearl Balls:

- 3/4 cup glutinous rice (also called sweet or sticky rice)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 large green onion (spring onion) minced (at least 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- 1 dry shitake mushroom (soak still soft and diced small)
- 4 water chestnuts, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, or as needed

1. Soak the glutinous rice in water for at least 6 - 8 hours (preferably overnight). Drain well in a sieve or colander. Spread out the rice on a baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.
3. Prepare the steamer for steaming.
4. Take about 1 tablespoon of the ground pork mixture and form into a ball. Roll lightly over the glutinous rice and place on a heatproof plate. Continue with the rest of the pork mixture, placing the balls 1/2-inch apart. (You will need at least 2 plates).
5. Place the plates in a steamer. Steam the pearl balls over boiling water for between 25 - 35 minutes, until they are cooked through. Steam in two batches if needed.
6. Serve the pearl balls hot chili oil sauce.

Recipe adapted from here and here.


  1. I think Joyce had more fun making these than eating them. She was smiling the whole time while she tinkered away in the kitchen. And when it was all done, we had some juicy meatballs to chow down on. =] Yum!

  2. Cooking is a stress reliever for me. I love the nutty and woodsy smell. ;) I am on a roll to make all sorts of new stuff. I want to make fried shrimp balls (ones you eat at dim sum) next if I can find a decent recipe.


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