Have you ever missed food that you used to eat when little? When living in Brazil my mom used to make these meatballs covered with a layer of glutinous rice, aka sticky rice. Since I am a big fan of anything “glutinous” it is not surprise that this would be one of my favorite dishes. Now, don’t ask me why pearl, as from my understanding pearl should be smooth and elegant and the look of this so called “pearl meatballs” do not resemble in any way or shape (maybe the shape being round) of a pearl…to me personally they look more like an albino porcupine…with the glutinous rice going in every possible direction.
Regardless of the shape and name, the combination of the juicy meatball with the sticky rice is just amazing…you will not believe how tasty and detectable this combination is until you try it. I must admit that mine did not come out as nice looking as I remember my mom’s…but still tasted terrific. As for my husband, it was his first time seeing and eating these meatballs covered with “sticky” rice and for my surprised he enjoyed it. It is a very simple recipe, you just need a little planning as the glutinous rice needs to the soaked overnight for easy cooking.
So gather the ingredients below and give these little pearls or whatever name you like a try.
½ cup glutinous rice
1 lb lean ground pork
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons ginger, finely grated
3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cooking wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Green peas, soybean and/or carrot in cubes for decoration
The day before, rinse the sticky rice until the water runs mostly clear and soak overnight at room temperature.
On the day, drain well all the water from the glutinous rice by using a strainer and transfer on a deep dish or plate.
Mix the ground pork with all the other ingredients together except the glutinous rice, carrot and pea. Mix well, until all the meat and the other ingredients are binding together.
Make small balls with the meat mixture. I personally put a glove on my left hand and pick a small amount of the meat mixture, gently make a fist and scoop the balls of meat forming in between my thumb and pointer finger using a wet spoon so the meatballs will not stick to it.
Gently drop the meatball on the plate with the glutinous rice and roll the balls until all of it is coated with the glutinous rice. Repeat the process with the remaining meat mixture.
Decorate each meatball with carrot or pea.
Steam the meatballs on high heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the meatballs and the glutinous rice are completely cooked. The glutinous rice will be somewhat translucent.
Serve hot with soy sauce, chili sauce or both.
If you enjoy this Asian inspired Pearl Meatball recipe, you might like these ones…
Did you know that glutinous rice is gluten free? Yes, the name is very deceiving…it is called glutinous due to its stickiness and glue-like after cooking. Glutinous rice is also called sticky rice and sweet rice. Glutinous rice is also ground to make flour and used in many Asian desserts, also know as mocha flour.