The Sauce: Ponzu Dipping Sauce -This sparky, vibrant Asian dipping sauce featuring fresh lime juice is addictive. A soy sauce and lime combination, fresh squeezed citrus brightens an already perky sauce made with vinegar and hot chili sauce.
Maybe its the simple pork meatballs with a little crunchy water chestnut texture. Maybe its the tender rice jacket the pork balls are wrapped in. But really, it’s the perky ponzu dipping sauce with fresh lime juice that reels you in. With just enough heat and zing, it converts simple steamed pork meatballs into an explosion of Asian umami deliciousness. Serve as a main course for dinner or as an appetizer with Asian dishes. This dish always gets rave reviews.
2011 AniversaRecipe – Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Recipe: Pearl Balls with Ponzu Dipping Sauce
Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Inactive Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Yield: 30 Meatballs | Level: Easy
- 1 1/4 cups sweet rice
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped water chestnuts
- 1 tsp minced ginger root
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- dash of black pepper
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 – 1 tsp black bean chili sauce
Special Equipment – bamboo steamer
2 Meanwhile, mix the pork, water, egg, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, water chestnuts, ginger root, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl.
3 Form about 28-30 tablespoon size meatballs. Put each meatball in the rice and roll around to coat. Place in the palm of your hand with fingers curved to form a bowl shape. Move hand in a circular motion forcing the rice to lightly embed in the meatball and casting off excess rice.
4 Spray or brush a thin coat of oil on the insides of a 9-10” two layer bamboo steamer. Line about 15 meatballs in each section of the steamer so that they’re close but not touching. Place the lid on.
5 In a large wok or skillet, bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a rolling boil. Set the steamer into the water making sure the water does not touch the bottom rack of meatballs. Steam for 15 minutes then set on a large platter. Serve with ponzu dipping sauce.
Ponzu Dipping Sauce
6 Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice and chili sauce. Serve in small bowls for dipping Pearl Balls.
Sweet rice can be purchased at an Asian grocer. It is a short grain rice that is slightly transparent when cooked. ‘Sweet’ is a misnomer as it is not actually sweet but more glutinous than the regular sticky rice. To substitute Calrose or other Asian short grain rice, soak for 3 hours.
Chinese chili sauce can be purchased at an Asian grocery store and keeps in the fridge for a long time. There are many varieties. The one used in this recipe is my favorite and is Chili Black Bean sauce.
Bamboo steamers are not too expensive and may be purchased at a kitchen goods store or online. Besides this recipe they are great for steamed dumplings and other steamed meats and vegetables. Plus serving from the steamer gives an Asian flare to the presentation.
Use as a dinner entrée, as an appetizer for a buffet, or a side with Asian cuisine.
- Exchange sweet for Calrose rice (see Notes above for soak time).
Inspiration – Ying Ling Liu
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: October 1, 2012