Chinese Pearl Balls

Meaty and juicy with sticky rice coating, these Chinese Pearl Balls are super yummy and bursting with flavor. They’re the perfect addition to a Chinese New Year celebration or any holiday menu.

Meaty and juicy with sticky rice coating, these Chinese Pearl Balls are super yummy and bursting with flavor. They’re the perfect addition to a Chinese New Year celebration or any holiday menu.

I am sure you share my Media Noche memories of pancit guisado for long life or BBQ pork on a stick for prosperity. And, of course, dishes made with glutinous rice such as bringhe or biko to make good fortune “stick” throughout the coming year.

How about banging on pots and pans and blowing on torotots? Or jumping up and down like crazy at the strike of midnight in polka dot undies?

What are Chinese Pearl Balls

Chinese Pearl Balls are traditionally served on special occasions or holidays such as Lunar New Year 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.

These Asian porcupine meatballs are made with minced pork with shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, and seasonings. The mixture is shaped into small balls, rolled in glutinous rice, and steamed to meaty perfection.

Ingredient substitutions

  • Glutinous Rice– also known as sticky rice, sweet rice, or malagkit. You can also use short-grain or sushi rice.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms-fresh or dried. Adds an umami flavor and meaty texture. If unavailable, cremini, portabello, or oyster mushrooms are also great options.
  • Water chestnuts– adds crunch. Although not traditional, you can subsititute singkamas or Mexican turnip if water chestnuts are not available.
  • Chinese cooking wine– also known as Shaoxing wine. In a pinch, you can substitute dry sherry, mirin, or cooking sake.

To serve and store

  • These Asian porcupine meatballs are a tasty addition to any special occasion banquet. Serve with soy sauce-chili dipping sauce for a filling appetizer, midday snack, or brunch.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat, steam the meatballs for about 8 to 10 minutes or until completely heated through. If using a microwave, arrange in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat at 1 to 2-minutes intervals until heated through.

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