NDT- Cooking with Cash-Wa – Pearl Balls

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:30 AM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Chinese Pearl Balls are traditionally served on special occasions or holidays to symbolize togetherness and reunion. The name comes from the fact they look like giant pearls, as the grains of rice turn pearly in color when cooked. Serving in a bamboo steamer provides an added touch your guests will adore.

· 1 cup jasmine rice

· ½ teaspoon salt

· 1 pound ground pork

· 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

· 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

· 2 tablespoons water chestnuts, jicama, or carrot

· 2 each scallion, minced

· 1 pinch white pepper

· 1 teaspoon sugar

· 1 tablespoon cornstarch

· 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

· 1 teaspoon soy sauce

· 1 teaspoon sesame oil

· 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

· 1 large egg

· Soy Sauce

· Hot Chili Sauce such as Sambal Oelek or Sriracha

1. Put the rice in a bowl and add water to cover by 3-inches. Let stand for at least 2 hours or even better, overnight at room temperature.

2. Drain the rice in a mesh strainer, shaking the strainer to expel excess water. Set aside to dry while you prepare the pork mixture. Drier grains adhere to the meat better.

3. Combine the pork, ginger, water chestnut, and scallion. Mix with your hands or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, until well blended. Add the salt, white pepper, sugar, cornstarch, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, and the egg and beat to create soft, sticky mass. There should be about 2 cups.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use two spoons to gather a generous tablespoon of the pork mixture, roll or use the spoons to form a neat ball about 1 inch in diameter.

Deposit it on the prepared baking sheet before repeating. You should have about 24 balls total. Freeze the baking sheet for 10 minutes to firm up the meatballs.

5. Meanwhile, line steamer trays with parchment paper, brush with sesame oil, and set aside. Get the water boiling for steaming and lower the heat to keep it hot and ready.

6. Transfer the soaked rice onto a sheet tray and dab with paper towels if damp.

Pick up one of the balls of pork, roll it between your hands to smooth any rough edges, then roll it in the rice to coat the surface with a single layer of rice. Place on the prepared steamer tray. Repeat with the remaining balls, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Overflow balls can be put on parchment paper lined baking sheets.

7. Steam the dumplings over boiling water for about 20 minutes, until the rice is translucent, and the pork is done. Detach the trays and place each on a platter. As the pearl balls cool, they take on a pinkish cast from the pork below the rice.