Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

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Steamed rice balls, known as “djun djau kao” in Cantonese, are like little pearls of flavor. The subtle iridescence (though not very pronounced) comes from the rice itself, which is left unblended with the pork filling and used to coat the balls. These rice balls are typically served as an evening snack or as part of dim sum for lunch. While the recipe traditionally uses pork, you can easily substitute chicken or turkey—just make sure the filling isn’t too lean to prevent the balls from falling apart.

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Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Servings: 4
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

For the Filling:

  • 135 g (4.76 oz) glutinous short-grain rice
  • 300 g (10.58 oz) fairly fatty ground pork
  • Half a small carrot
  • 6 dried Chinese black mushrooms
  • 2 cm (0.79 inch) fresh ginger root
  • 2 green onions
  • 30 g (1.06 oz) cornstarch
  • 17 g (0.60 oz) dark sesame oil
  • 20 g (0.71 oz) rice wine or dry sherry
  • 4 g (0.14 oz) sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for greasing

For the Sauce:

  • 80 g (2.82 oz) dark soy sauce
  • 30 g (1.06 oz) rice vinegar
  • 34 g (1.20 oz) dark sesame oil

Cooking Instructions:

Prepare the Rice:

Rinse the glutinous rice thoroughly under cold running water.

Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain well.

In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of boiling water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for another 10 minutes. Allow it to cool.

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork


Prepare the Filling:

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes (they should significantly increase in size). Drain and finely chop, discarding the tough stems.

Finely chop the carrot, ginger, and green onions. Place them in a bowl.

Add the ground pork and mushrooms to the bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork.

In a separate small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch (dissolved in 1 tablespoon of cold water), sugar, pepper, and salt. Mix until smooth.

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Pour the sauce mixture into the pork mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the cooled rice and knead until well combined.

The mixture should be soft and sticky.

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Shape the Balls:

Wet your hands with hot water and shape the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. Place them on a work surface.

When half of the mixture is used, transfer the balls to a lightly greased heatproof sieve. Place the sieve over a pot with a small amount of boiling water, cover, and steam for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the second batch of balls (if using a two-tier steamer, you can cook all the balls simultaneously).

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Make the Sauce:

Mix all the sauce ingredients together.

Serve the hot rice balls with the dipping sauce.

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Handy Tip

For truly “pearl-like” rice balls, omit the rice from the filling. Soak the rice for 4–6 hours, then drain well. Shape the pork mixture into balls according to the recipe, then freeze them for 10 minutes. Afterward, roll the balls in the rice so that it adheres in a thin layer. Place the balls in a sieve and steam them according to the recipe.

Steamed Rice Balls with Pork

Enjoy your flavorful steamed rice balls! 🍚🥢🥟

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