Pearly meatballs

Pearly meatballs

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

A stone’s throw away from our hotel in Changsha in Hunan is the rather popular restaurant, Huogongdian, apparently frequented by a young Mao Zedong. The waitresses there wheel around trolleys with the most amazing assortment of steamed, fried, braised and smoked local foods, but what really caught our eye were these beautifully crafted meatballs coated in glutinous rice.


Quantity Ingredient
200g glutinous rice
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 spring onions, finely chopped, green part only
2 tablespoons potato starch
100g raw prawn meat, finely chopped
6 tinned water chestnuts, finely chopped
250g minced pork
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shaoxing rice wine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sesame oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in a sieve under cold running water, then tip into a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain well.
  2. Put the shiitake mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain well, then finely chop the mushrooms and combine with the spring onions and soaked rice in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the potato starch in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water and stir until smooth. Put the prawn meat in a bowl with the water chestnuts, pork, ginger, rice wine, egg, sesame oil and potato starch mixture. Season with sea salt and pepper, then mix well to combine.
  4. Wet your hands a little, then take small handfuls of the pork mixture and roll it into small balls, about the size of a walnut. Roll each ball in the rice mixture to coat evenly and place on an oiled plate. Working in batches if necessary, put the plate in a steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water, then cover and steam for 10–12 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the rice is tender. Serve immediately.
Real Food of China
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again