Grandma's Pearl Meatballs

This recipe is from my debut cookbook First Generation, available wherever books are sold! This was one of the very first recipes my grandma taught me when I started learning to cook from her. I had never even seen it before she taught me. I remember following her lead as she combined a familiar mixture of pork, ginger, and scallions into a meatball, then rolled it in grains of sweet glutinous rice that looked like pearls. After an 18-minute steam, lifting the steamer lid revealed glistening sticky rice balls, every grain soaked with pork juice and the aroma of bamboo. I can trace this recipe back to the Hubei province of China; it’s one of the dishes that makes me proud to be Asian. Though it’s simple, with minimal ingredients, it delivers so much soul. When steaming these meatballs, I find it best to line a bamboo steamer with liners that are perforated or with extra napa cabbage leaves.

–Frankie
Read more

At a glance

Yield

24 meatballs

Time

Overnight soak, plus 1.5 hours

Ingredients

Rice

1 cup sweet glutinous rice

Filling

1⁄2 medium head (1 pound) napa cabbage, finely minced

1 tablespoon plus 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground pork or freshly ground pork shoulder

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon chicken stock

Vegetable or any neutral oil, for forming the meatballs



Comments

Leave a comment

Your E-Mail address will be encrypted before saving the comment. It will only be used to display a gravatar. By submitting your data, you agree that all entered data may be saved and displayed as a comment.

Rice

1 cup sweet glutinous rice

Filling

1⁄2 medium head (1 pound) napa cabbage, finely minced

1 tablespoon plus 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground pork or freshly ground pork shoulder

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon chicken stock

Vegetable or any neutral oil, for forming the meatballs