Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese Dumplings-Porcupine Balls

Porcupine Balls
The Chinese New Year is here. Happy New Year! This year (2012) is going to be the year of the dragon. The dragon is the most favorable and revered sign in the 12-year Chinese zodiac. The dragon is a symbol of royalty, fortune and power. I am hoping it is a good year, no make that a great year. To celebrate the new year, I decided that dumplings were necessary. When I asked my family which dumplings they wanted,  the resounding reply was porcupine balls or pearl balls. I was happy to oblige; they are incredibly easy to make. I also think they are so so tasty. I have never made these without a streamer so if someone makes them without one, please leave a comment and let me know how. The rice that should be used in these is glutinous rice. It is also called sweet or sticky rice and is available at Asian markets. If you cannot find glutinous rice then use a short-grain rice instead. Please note, that the rice is soaked and then steamed with the pork. It is never boiled. I like a bit of spice so I add a squirt or two of Sriracha sauce.

1 Cup (210 g) of Uncooked Rice
1 Pound (.45 kg) of Ground Pork
2 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp of Ground Ginger
1 Large Egg
1 Scallion Finely Chopped
Sriracha Sauce (Optional), To Taste

Soak the rice in water for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Soaking rice
Lightly grease the bottom of the steamer. Dump remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine.
Ready to mix
Form the pork mixture into small balls. Drain rice and roll the pork ball in the rice mixture.
The assembly line is ready
Place the pork balls into the steamer.
Ready to be steamed
I use a large skillet and I place the steamer in the large skillet. Next I fill the skillet with boiling water so that the water comes up the side of the steamer. Watch the level of the water and add more boiling water if the level gets low.
Turn the stove on high and steam for 15-20 minutes until the pork is cooked though and the rice is tender. I use a meat thermometer just to be sure (Since this is ground pork, the recommended temperature is 160F/71C).
The bottom line: Will I make these again? Yes. They are incredible. I am sure that I will be branching out into other steamed dumplings......

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