Pearl meatballs (珍珠肉丸)

This is a Cantonese dim sum. The glutinous rice looks like little pearls studded all over super scrumptious meatballs. You can find these in many dim sum restaurants, they are dead easy to make at home.

Recipe will feed 2 very hungry people to 4 light eaters.


150g of glutinous rice or sticky rice

300 - 350g minced pork
100g raw peeled prawns, chopped
10 - 12g dried shitake mushrooms (about 2 - 3 mushrooms), soaked and finely chopped
2 tsp of grated ginger
1 egg white, beaten
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of shaoshing wine
pinch of ground pepper

about 3 tbsp of chopped spring onion
few sprigs of coriander, chopped
about 5 peeled and chopped water chestnuts (about 1/4 cup when chopped), best use fresh. Can sub with chopped carrot

  1. Soak the rice for 3 - 4 hours. Then drain thoroughly for use.
  2. Mix B together and leave in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours. After that mix in C.
  3. Divide the meat mixture into 18 - 20 portions and roll into meatballs.
  4. Coat the meatballs with as much rice as you can
  5. Put meatballs on a shallow dish or a paper lined bamboo steamer and steam for about 20 - 25 minutes or till the rice is cooked (translucent) and fluffed up like spiky pearls.
  6. Eat immediately while hot on its own or dip in any of your favourite sauce, soy, chilli etc...... Any left over can be re-steamed, don't microwave or the rice will be chewy.


  1. Hello,
    I really like this dish.
    I have a question about its Cantonese origin, following my interest in understanding the different regional cuisines. I have seen it also called Hunanese (see Fushia Dunlop's book, page89). Is this a case of a dish prepared in different regions, each thinking it originated it? A little like Hot Sour Soup whose Sichuan origins (I think!) are sometimes ignored; in Paris where I live, it is called Pekinese soup even in a proper Sichuan restaurant!
    Thanks for your help on this small matter. After all it's the taste, texture, look, etc. that count.
    Have a good day.

  2. Far as I know it's Cantonese, could be popular in other area of China too. I don't think the origin is important as long as it's tasty.

    Sorry don't have Fushia Dunlop book and never use any of her recipes before.

  3. This is my video version in spanish. Hope you like it.

  4. Great vidio. Meat balls look good.


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