Steamed Chinese Pearl Balls
from Vegetarian: It’s not all beans and tofu, Murdoch Books, 2011.
I’ve cooked one other dish from this book (Blue cheese mille-feuille with glazed red onion) and quite enjoyed it. The exercise of making that dish was also interesting. So I thought I would go for another from this book.
The steamed pearl balls were one of those recipes that seem to take ages before you can really get started on the main part of it. The sticky rice had to be soaked overnight. Then it had to be laid out on a cloth in a steamer and cooked in that. Dried mushrooms also had to be pre-soaked before using. A lot of preparation before I was really ready to make the balls.
When had mixed all the ingredients and then tried to make the ball shapes I found that they would not hold together. I added more cornflour as the recipe suggested but it was still extremely difficult to make the mixture hold its shape.
I eventually managed to get half the mixture into balls. I abandoned the idea of rolling the balls into some of the rice that had been put aside for this purpose. It just would not stick and the more I tried the more the shapes fell apart.
I settled for half the mixture. It was reasonable when it was cooked though nowhere near worth the effort of making it.
The dipping sauce was also less than inspiring. I had cut back on the ginger because I always find that the quantity in recipes is too great.
All in all it was a bit on the disappointing side.
Then my partner added a comment about the fact that sticky rice was generally enclosed in something that helped it hold together. So, the remainder of the mixture was wrapped in ball shapes in foil. It was steamed the same way as the unwrapped was previously done.
This turned out totally differently. The rice balls were firm and had a slight chewiness about them. The flavour also seemed to have heightened. For the dipping sauce I used sweet chilli sauce. Much much better.
Ease of cooking: ✔