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. Slideshow: Dumplings, Gyoza and Pot Sticker Recipes 

Pearl Rice Balls with Ginger-Sesame Sauce
Photo: © Madeleine Hill
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins


Rice Balls

  • 1 cup short-grain Asian rice

  • 3 cabbage leaves (large or parchment paper)

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 4 scallions (minced)

  • 6 water chestnuts (minced)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (peeled and finely grated)

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sake

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • ½ cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 tablespoons scallions (minced)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled and freshly grated)

  • 2 teaspoons hot sesame chile oil

  • 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Make the Rice Balls

  1. 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.

Meanwhile, Make the Sauce

  1. 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.

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