cooking, Dinner, Recipe
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Pearl Meatballs (Glutinous Rice meatballs) |Zhen Zhu Wan Zi

The celebration of Chinese New Year was officially over last Saturday, which was the 15th day after the lunar New Year. As usual, we cooked a lot and ate a lot to celebrate the New Year. Apart from cooking, we attended the Year of The Rooster Concert in Brisbane to celebrate the occasion. It was a great concert with a combination of Chinese traditional music and western music. We especially loved the piece performed by the Pipa player. If you don’t know what Pipa is, it’s a four-stringed pear-shaped lute. The history of Pipa can be dated back over 2000 years.

Back to today’s recipe, Pearl Meatballs has been a staple on my CNY Eve dinner menu. I make it every single year, and the love is still going strong. The combination of pork mince and glutinous rice is just perfect.


It does need a little bit of time to prepare, but I think the results are definitely worth the effort. If you have less time, a food processor can always help. In this recipe, I added some water chestnuts. You probably can get a bag of frozen ones from a Chinese supermarket. I like it because it makes the meatballs more interesting. The water chestnut is crunchy while the pork meatball is tender.


I would normally soak the glutinous rice overnight, but you don’t have to. You can just soak it for about 3 – 4 hours. That should be enough. Soaked glutinous rice is easy to cook.


One thing I would like to mention is about the pork mince. The lean pork mince would make the meatballs too dry. The meatballs will taste better if you use the pork mince with about 25-30% fat.


This recipe makes 22 meatballs. Before steaming the meatballs, you can garnish them with green onions or goji berries. The meatballs are very tender and tasty.  I hope you like it. 🙂



  • Glutinous rice – 100 g
  • Pork mince – 350 g
  • Grated ginger – 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce – 2 tsps
  • Corn starch – 1/2 tsp
  • Frozen Water Chestnut – 50 g (optional), finely chopped
  • Rice wine – 1 tsp
  • Sesame oil – 1/2 tsp
  • Caster sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Green onion – 2 (finely chopped)
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp


  1. Wash the glutinous rice and soak overnight or for 3-4 hours.
  2. Drain rice on the day of cooking.
  3. Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Continue to stir towards one direction until the mince become like a paste. If it’s too dry, you can add a little bit of water.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop out some paste and form a meatball.
  5. Roll the meatball in the rice. Make sure the meatball is coated well with rice.
  6. Place the meatball on a plate. Leave about half centre meter apart.
  7. Do the same for the rest of the mince mixture and glutinous rice.
  8. Place the plate in a steamer over boiling water for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve warm.


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