Saturday, September 10, 2011

Steamed Pearl Balls - Chinese Dim Sum

These steamed pork meat balls coated in sticky rice are not only favorites in Dim Sum restaurants but at formal Chinese banquets as well. They are so easy to make, especially if using store bought ground meat. Since I never buy ground meat it takes me few minutes longer to prepare, but for me it is worth the time and effort since I know exactly what is in my meat. Same pork mixture can also be used in wontons for soup and also pot stickers. It is very versatile recipe.
3/4 cup sticky rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 pound pork butt or equivalent ground pork
1/2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tablespoons water chestnut, finely chopped
3 green onions, minced
2 shitake mushrooms, soaked and chopped fine
1 Tbs. Sake or rice wine
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 large egg, beaten
Napa or Savoy cabbage leaves

Soak sticky rice in water for minimum 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Drain well in colander and leave the rice in the colander over a bowl to catch water drippings.
If using pork butt, grind the meat using 1/4” plate.
Mix salt, pepper, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
Place the ground pork in a large mixing bowl together with ginger, garlic, water chestnuts, onions and mushrooms and mix with your hands until the mixture is well combined. Add dry mix and mix till mixture is smooth.
With a spoon scoop out about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll it in palm of your hands forming uniform ball. Place the ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat till all balls are rolled. I prefer to scoop out all the meat first and then roll all the meat at the same time.
Firmly roll the meat balls in colander holding the rice until rice completely covers the meat. It is lot easier to do if you firm up the meat balls in freezer for about 20 – 30 minutes first.

Line a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves. Place balls 1/2 inch apart in steamer and cover with steamer lid. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch and bring to a boil. Place steamer in skillet, and steam balls 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove balls and cabbage from steamer and serve with soy and Chinese red vinegar dipping sauce.

This Chinese aluminum double-decker steamer is one of the most useful utensils in my kitchen. (This picture shows only one basket being used.)

No comments: