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Video: Dinner tonight: Miso chicken wings, pork meatballs

TODAY recipes
updated 6/6/2012 11:49:35 AM ET 2012-06-06T15:49:35

Recipe: Pearl balls (pork meatballs in sticky rice)

  • 12-ounce piece boneless, skinless pork belly, very finely chopped (or ground pork)
  • 1 shallot
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoshing rice wine
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, plus more for rolling 1/2 cup glutinous white rice, soaked overnight in cold water and drained Black rice vinegar, chili oil, or soy sauce, for dipping, optional

Put the pork on a large cutting board and very finely mince it with a sharp, heavy knife or cleaver until the fat is broken down; spread it out on the board into a thin layer (or use 2 large heavy cleavers to get the job done quicker!). Using a fine grater or microplane, grate the shallot, ginger, and bouillon cube over the meat. Sprinkle the five-spice, Shaoshing, salt, pepper, egg yolk, and cornstarch over the pork and use the knife or a spatula to mix the ingredients until well combined.

Put some cornstarch in a shallow bowl, and using your hands, roll the pork mixture into ping-pong ball sized balls and roll them in the cornstarch to lightly coat. Shake off the excess starch and transfer the meatballs to a plate.

Working with wet hands, put some of the soaked rice in your palm and roll the meatball in it with your hands, pressing gently, until it is evenly coated in rice. Continue rolling until the meatballs are all coated with rice.

Fill a wok 1/3 with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Put a shallow flat bowl or plate with a lip into a bamboo steamer basket (make sure the plate is at least ½- inch smaller than the diameter of the basket) and evenly space the rice balls on the plate, being sure they do not touch each other. Cover the basket with the lid and lower it into the wok. Steam the meatballs, adding water to the wok as necessary to prevent the basket from scorching, until set and firm, 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the rice balls from the steamer and transfer them to a platter. Serve the meatballs with toothpicks on the side for skewering and dipping into vinegar, chili oil, or soy sauce.

NOTE: You can also put the finely chopped pork into a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and whip it to breakdown the fat and make a smooth, tender meatball. Add the flavoring ingredients and whip slowly until combined before rolling and steaming the pearl balls. They can also be steamed on a vegetable steamer basket fitted inside a large pot with a lid.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Inactive prep time: 12 hours for soaking rice

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Serving Size

About 1 ½ dozen

Recipe: Quick-pickled cucumbers

  • 1/2 English cucumber or 2 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine)
  • 2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch sugar

Put the cucumber slices in a non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle the mirin, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar over them and toss to combine. Let stand at least 10 minutes at room temperature before serving, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Inactive prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serving Size

About 1 cup

Recipe: Roasted miso chicken wings

  • 3 heaping tablespoons yellow miso paste
  • 1/4 cup light soy
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 dozen chicken wings, separated at the joints, wingtips removed and reserved for another use 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 scallions, sliced, for garnish, optional

In a small bowl, whisk the miso, soy, honey, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic together until well combined. Put the wings into a reseal-able plastic food storage bag and pour the marinade mixture over them. Seal the bag and squeeze it to coat the wings evenly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a rack and spray it lightly with cooking spray. Remove the wings from the marinade, shake off any excess and spread them evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the sesame seeds and scallions over the top. Serve warm.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Inactive prep time: 4 hours to 12 hours

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 4 hours, 40 minutes

Serving Size

4 servings

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