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Pearl Rice Balls with Ginger-Sesame Sauce

Instead of being wrapped in dumpling dough, these fun little pork dumplings from Andrew Zimmern are patted with rice, which gets fluffy during steaming.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 24

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rice balls
  • 1 cup short-grain Asian rice
  • 3 large cabbage leaves
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 6 water chestnuts, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sake
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger
  • 2 teaspoons hot sesame chile oil
  • 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Make the Rice Balls In a medium bowl, cover the rice with water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain and spread on paper towels to dry, then transfer to a shallow bowl.
  2. Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Line a bamboo steamer basket with the cabbage leaves or parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Coat the balls in the rice, pressing gently to help the rice adhere. Arrange the balls in the steamer basket, leaving at least 3/4 inch between them. Cover and steam over the boiling water until the rice is tender and the meatball is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, Make the Sauce In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together. Transfer the rice balls to a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be refrigerated overnight.

Contributed By Photo © Madeleine Hill

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