Do you love eating dim sum but hesitate to make them, fearing hours of complicated wrapping and filling? Drop the fear, the answer is here. You have to try my super simple dim sum recipe!
Here in San Francisco, Chinese New Year is a very big and very delicious deal, with weeks of family parties, special restaurant menus and festivities culminating in the famous Lunar New Year Parade. As part of this year's celebration, I adapted my Pearl Ball Dim Sum recipe for events at the Miele Experience Center.
Pearl Balls are a simple dim sum to make. Begin by making a flavorful meatball mixture that is rolled into bite sized balls and covered with soaked glutinous rice. These are steamed, yielding a tasty, tender bite. What makes this appetizer work are the grains of glutinous rice (also called sweet rice or sticky rice), which turn a pearly color when cooked. You can purchase this rice in an Asian Market, a specialty store or online.
While the preparation time for the Pearl Balls is under an hour, be sure to allow several hours for soaking the glutinous rice. The easiest method is to simply cover it with water, about 2 inches over the top of the rice and soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. No need to refrigerate the soaking rice.
Yield: Makes approximately 28-30 pieces
· 1 cup glutinous rice (also called sweet or sticky rice, see note above)
· 1 pound ground pork
· 1 tablespoon very finely minced fresh ginger
· 2 large green onions, very finely minced
· 5 water chestnuts, finely minced
· 1 large egg white
· 2 tablespoons soy sauce
· 1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ½ teaspoon black pepper
· 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Soak the glutinous rice in water for at least 6-8 hours (preferably overnight).
2. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, ginger, green onions, water chestnuts, egg white, soy sauce, sherry, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Mix to combine. Line steamer baskets or perforated pans with parchment paper.
3. Drain rice well in a strainer and spread out on a baking sheet or tray. Note: Drain and spread out the rice just before making the pearl balls, so that the rice doesn't dry out.
4. Take about 1½ tablespoons of the ground pork mixture and form into a ball. For consistent sizes, it is easiest to measure and roll one as an example (they should be about 1½ inches across) and then roll all meatballs at once to match. Roll each one lightly over the glutinous rice to coat entirely. Place onto the prepared pans about ½ inch apart.
5. For the Miele Combi Steam or Steam Oven: Place a large solid pan on the lowest rack (rack level #1). Next, place perforated pans or steamer baskets (with the meatballs) into the oven. Turn oven On. Press: Operating Modes/Steam/ 212°/Duration: 20 minutes.OK. Test one for doneness. Remove when done.
If using a wok: Place the steamer baskets in a wok. Cover and steam the pearl balls over boiling water for about 20 minutes or until they are cooked through.
6. Serve warm with soy sauce.
Add a few softened, minced Chinese black mushrooms and/or minced garlic to the pork mixture.
Please share your feedback or questions!
A "Flavor Agent" Chef Assignment: Create a brunch menu, original recipes and a buffet design inspired by legendary Villeroy & Boch tableware (est. 1748) using magnificent Miele appliances.
(Are you kidding? Assignment accepted! Yes, please. )
Oh, one more thing: the event host will be none other than Isabelle von Boch herself, a world-renowned brand ambassador, international celebrity and eighth generation member of the founding family.
(No problem, no pressure...)
Where to begin? How about a farm to table spring buffet on the Artesano line featuring their Three Tiered Stand with a plated egg recipe inspired by the gorgeous Amazonia design? I quickly sketched my plan and began testing my recipes.
Imagine the excitement of unwrapping 99 pieces of tableware as they arrived a few days in advance, some casual and simple, many in stunning, jewel-toned designs. It was plate ware, everywhere.
We washed, polished and prepped for Isabelle's arrival, not quite knowing what to expect. Would she be pleased? Is she demanding? How could she not be? On the morning of the class, as she strode into our culinary center (on fabulously long legs), I was just finishing my buffet display.
And? She just, absolutely, totally, unabashedly loved it. Her comments and compliments will stay in my soul forever. As I stood there with a happy tear in my eye, our lucky guests arrived. Class began.
Isabelle was one of the most dynamic, inspiring, hilarious and mesmerizing speakers I have ever worked with and I have worked with the best. Her philosophy of "casual elegance" and her love of food, design and entertaining was captivating. She showed us dozens of ways to mix and match sizes, patterns and colored place mats to create striking table-scapes. We were all captivated.
I was thrilled to demonstrate my "Eggs in the Clouds with Black Forest Ham & Brioche" to the class. I customized the classic egg concept, adding ham and brioche for a much more satisfying entree. The entire dish was made magic by using the Miele Combi Steam oven. I toasted the brioche rounds in the Max Broiler Setting, topped them with the whipped egg mixture, dropped the yolk back in and cooked the eggs with the asparagus (at the same time!) in the Combination Mode which uses both the Convection Oven setting and Steam. This remarkable setting makes the eggs come out fluffier, whiter (no brown, hard edges) and more tasty than any other method. The yolks were perfectly runny. Just wow.
After the class and buffet, the photos and laughter, it all seemed to be over too soon. We had shared a incredible meal, an amazing experience and we all missed her the moment she strode back down the stairs to her awaiting cab. ("Isabelle, come back.")
Lucky for us, as she whisked out of the door she promised us that this would be the just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. I think so too.
For that, I am deeply grateful.
Until the next adventure, this is your Flavor Agent, chef Rachelle signing off...
Rachelle Boucher is a joyous corporate chef, influencer and trainer specializing in the luxury appliance industry. She is a celebrated cooking teacher, social media presence and appliance coach known for her energized, creative and empowering teaching style. Rachelle is a dedicated youth mentor and is inspired every day by people, food, nature and her life of adventure in glorious, diverse and delicious San Francisco. She speaks Swedish. Yes, Swedish.