Steamed Pearl Riceballs

Riceballs are the true Asian dish, blending together the authentic creamy texture of sticky rice with a crunchy chestnut + mince filling. A small, delicious snack that is so easy to make and far tastier than your ubiquitous ready-made versions in supermarkets or lunch-bars. They can be enjoyed at any time! Perfect for kid’s parties or as an add-on to your Sunday roast.


  • 5-6 Water chestnutsIMG_4569
  • 5-6 Shiitake mushrooms
  • 5-6 Shelled shrimps
  • 200g Mince
  • 250g Sticky rice (glutinous)
  • Spring onions
  • Root ginger
  • 1 Tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cooking wine
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 Mexican round chilli (Optional)


  1. Before you start, soak the sticky rice in a large bowl, filling it with water up to 1 ½ cm over the surface of the rice, and leave to stand for 3 – 4 hours. Do the same with Shiitake mushrooms, after cleaning and cutting off stalks.
  2. Place the mince in a deep, round bowl, and season with salt, pepper, cooking wine and finely grated or diced ginger. Then grab a wooden spatula or wide spoon, and stir the mixture in one direction only for 10 minutes. This makes the filling firm, preventing sogginess and softness. Add finely diced water chestnut, shrimps and Shiitake mushrooms. Stir the mixture again until it forms a large clump.
  3. Break off a small knob of filling, and make a small ball of about 2 ½ cm in diameter with your hands. Pour away any excess water from the sticky rice bowl. Roll the filling ball on the surface of the sticky rice, until all surfaces are coated, then place in a bamboo steamer. Repeat the steps until you have used all filling. The mixture should make approximately 20 riceballs. Roughly chop up some spring onions (plus the Mexican pepper if you wish) and sprinkle over the riceballs to give it some extra kick.
  4. Bring a deep pan of water to the boil, and stack the steamers on top of the pan. Cover with a lid and steam for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove spring onions and chilli. Serve immediately with a scatter of sesame seeds.

Tips & Tricks

  • Do not be tempted to remove the lid of the steamer to check on the progress of the riceballs. This will simply ruin the cooking pressure it has build up.
  • If the mixture is still slightly watery after stirring, add 1 teaspoon of starch powder to help it stick together.
  • Make sure the ingredients that are added to the filling are diced as finely as possible, to avoid clumps.

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