CHINESE PEARL BALLS

Meaty and juicy with sticky rice coating, these Chinese Pearl Balls are super yummy and bursting with flavor. They’re the perfect addition to a Chinese New Year celebration or any holiday menu.

CHINESE PEARL BALLS

Filipino New Year celebrations are steeped in tradition and superstitions. I remember being a young child in tow as my mother frantically scoured grocery stores a day before New Year, in search of twelve kinds of round fruits to serve as a centerpiece for our festivities.

I am sure you share my Media Noche memories of pancit guisado for long life or BBQ pork on a stick for prosperity. And, of course, dishes made with glutinous rice such as bringhe or biko to make good fortune “stick” throughout the coming year.

CHINESE PEARL BALLS

How about banging on pots and pans and blowing on torotots? Or jumping up and down like crazy at the strike of midnight in polka dot undies?

CHINESE PEARL BALLS

What are Chinese Pearl Balls

Chinese Pearl Balls are traditionally served on special occasions or holidays, such as Lunar New Year, to symbolize togetherness and reunion. The name comes from the fact they look like giant pearls, as the rice grains turn pearly in color when cooked.

These Asian porcupine meatballs are made with minced pork with shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, and seasonings. The mixture is shaped into small balls, rolled in glutinous rice, and steamed to meaty perfection.

They’re fun and tasty appetizers that are sure to be a hit with the crowd. Perfect for sharing and freezable, too!

CHINESE PEARL BALLS

Ingredient substitutions

  • Glutinous Rice– sticky rice, sweet rice, or malagkit. You can also use short-grain or sushi rice.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms– fresh or dried. Adds an umami flavor and meaty texture. If unavailable, cremini, portabello, or oyster mushrooms are also great options.
  • Water chestnuts– adds crunch. Although not traditional, you can substitute singkamas or Mexican turnips if water chestnuts are unavailable.
  • Chinese cooking wine– also known as Shaoxing wine. You can substitute dry sherry, mirin, or cooking sake in a pinch.

CHINESE PEARL BALLS

Ingredient substitutions

  • Glutinous Rice– sticky rice, sweet rice, or malagkit. You can also use short-grain or sushi rice.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms– fresh or dried. Adds an umami flavor and meaty texture. If unavailable, cremini, portabello, or oyster mushrooms are also great options.
  • Water chestnuts– adds crunch. Although not traditional, you can substitute singkamas or Mexican turnips if water chestnuts are unavailable.
  • Chinese cooking wine– also known as Shaoxing wine. You can substitute dry sherry, mirin, or cooking sake in a pinch.

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