½ cup sticky (short grain) rice
1 lb. ground pork
5oz fresh shiitake mushrooms
¼ inch piece fresh ginger
4 green onions
1 tsp Shao hsing wine
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
- Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with cold water. Let it sit for 4 hours while preparing the other ingredients.
- Place the ground pork in a large bowl.
- Using a damp cloth, rub off any excess dirt on the shiitakes. Then dice them into tiny pieces and place them in the bowl with the pork.
- Peel the ginger and grate it right into the bowl with the pork and shiitakes.
- Rinse the green onions under cold running water and then dry them thoroughly; dice them into tiny pieces. Then place these pieces in the bowl with the pork mixture.
- Next to the pork mixture add the Shao hsing wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon of the garlic salt and the white pepper. Then using your hands mix everything together, kneading the mixture until it is slightly sticky and thoroughly mixed, about 5 to 7 minutes. Then cover and place it in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, or until the rice is ready to use.
- Once the rice has been soaking for 4 hours, drain it in a colander and lightly blot it with a towel so that it is thoroughly dried.
- Then place it in a bowl and toss it with the remaining ½ tsp of garlic salt. Now the rice is ready to use.
- Next set up the steamer by lining it with parchment paper – make sure the paper has several holes in it to allow the steam to escape. Parchment for steamers are sold with holes in them, but you can simply take a piece and cut out a few holes and it will work the same.
- Once the steamer is lined start rolling the pearl balls.
- Spread some of the rice in a layer onto a plate.
- Then take about a tablespoon of the pork mixture and using your hands form it into a ball. Then carefully roll it in the rice, pressing gently so that the rice sticks to the sides of the pork ball. Then place it in the lined steamer tray. Continue rolling these until your steamer tray is full. Depending on the size of your steamer, you may have to make these in batches.
- Once the steamer tray is full, bring the water for the steamer to a boil.
- Then steam the pearl balls for 25 minutes. Carefully remove them and serve with sweet chili sauce or hot chili garlic sauce. Makes about 20 pearl balls.