Pearl Meat­balls


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“Pearl meat­balls” are a tra­di­tional and fa­mous dish that orig­i­nated from Mianyang County ( now known as Xiantao), Hubei. They are named af­ter the shape of the meat­ball, be­cause when the meat­balls are steamed, the gluti­nous rice looks translu­cent and bright, just like a pearl.

What you will need:

Main in­gre­di­ents:

350g pork, 1/3 bowl gluti­nous rice


1 tea­spoon cook­ing wine, 1/2 tea­spoon pep­per pow­der, 1 tea­spoon salt, 1/2 tea­spoon su­gar, 1/2 tea­spoon chicken ex­tract, 1 tea­spoon light soy sauce, 2 tea­spoons sesame oil, 4 slices ginger

How to make it:

1. Wash the gluti­nous rice and place it in a bowl with enough wa­ter to cover it. Al­low it to soak overnight.

2. At the same time, finely chop the pork and place the meat in a bowl.

3. Add finely chopped ginger, cook­ing wine, pep­per, salt, su­gar, chicken ex­tract, light soy sauce, and sesame oil into the bowl.

4. Stir to make sure ev­ery­thing is evenly mixed, whip­ping in only ONE di­rec­tion un­til the filling be­comes fluffy and sticky. Then, cover the bowl with plas­tic wrap and put it into the re­frig­er­a­tor. Al­low the filling to mar­i­nate in the re­frig­er­a­tor overnight.

5. On the next day, take out the gluti­nous rice and drain it. Do the best you can to shake off any ex­cess wa­ter.

6. Take out the mar­i­nated filling, and form 20g balls. 7. Roll the balls in the gluti­nous rice so that the­w­hole sur­face is coated.

8. Put the meat­balls in the steamer and steam them for 20 min­utes at high heat.

9. Take them out and put them on a plate. Then we are done.


1. Us­ing light soy sauce is highly rec­om­mended be­cause it doesn’t add ex­tra color to the filling or the gluti­nous rice. On the other hand, us­ing other types of soy sauce, dark soy sauce, for ex­am­ple, will cre­ate a gloomy color, mak­ing the dish less wor­thy of the name of “pearls.”

2. Us­ing pork with about 30% fat and 70% lean meat will give the ground meat a smooth tex­ture.

(Trans­la­tion: Hu Xinyuan)

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