My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Bento Recipe: Pearl Meatballs


Back to the
or the


Albino hedgehogsPearl meatballs, called "zhen zhu wan zi" in Mandarin Chinese, are a dim sum dish. I was so intrigued when a friend described them to me that I had to give 'em a try, and they were well worth it!

What you need:

    1 cup of uncooked sticky rice
    1 pound of ground lean pork
    2 scallions
    1 egg white
    1 tbsp of soy sauce
    1 tsp of salt
    1 tsp of mirin
    3 tablespoons of cornstarch
    5 water chestnuts
    parchment paper (cut into 2" squares)
    a steamer

Soak the rice for several hours before cooking, then drain it well. (Don't skip this step. When I have, the rice did not cook through.) Chop the onion and water chestnuts up finely. Cut the parchment into 2" squares.

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the rice and lettuce. Make 1" balls out of the mixture and roll them in the rice until covered. (Don't worry if the pork mix seems too gooey to hold the shape - it'll firm up when covered in rice.) Place each meatball on a square of parchment paper and place in the steamer, leaving an inch of space between them. (Hopefully you have a multi-tier steamer, as this recipe makes a fair amount. The above picture only shows 2/3 of the meatballs I cooked in one batch, and it's about 4 meatballs deep.) Steam them over simmering water for 15 minutes. Discard the parchment and serve. These hedgehog-like balls are tasty right out of the steamer.