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Siomai Rice Pearl Balls

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When my sons were little, I cooked these Siomai Rice Pearl Balls a lot because it was a two-in-one meal, it was pork and rice together. Our boys loved these then, and they still love this kind of siomai till now.

This is another version of the steamed dumpling ‘siomai’ (say “shu-my”) which Filipinos love. It has the same ground pork filling that I also use for lumpia shanghai, wonton soup or pot stickers. But instead of wrapping them in won ton wrappers, I rolled the uncooked pork meatballs in sweet or sticky rice or what is called ‘malagkit’ in the Philippines. I then steamed the siomai or dumplings over briskly boiling water and within minutes, dinner was ready.

I have cooked these siomai or ‘pearl balls’ as some call it so often that I can now do this with my eyes closed. This was a recipe passed around the family a long time ago, handed down from my mother-in-law, aunts, cousins and family friends. The meatballs are thick and robust. When cooked, the shiny rice grains plump up, encasing a hearty and savory siomai entrée.  The combination of pork, and shrimps with the finely chopped carrots, soy sauce and seasonings make these delectable steamed meatballs hard to resist. You won’t be able to stop after one or two, I am certain.

Siomai Rice Pearl Balls

These Siomai Rice Pearl Balls are another version of the classic siomai dumplings. Filipinos serve these as a main course, or an appetizer, and even 'merienda' (afternoon snack). After steaming, the plump and chewy rice grains encase the savory pork balls for a superb meal. Serve with a side dipping sauce of toyo mixed with calamansi or lemon and it’s even more scrumptious. This is an Asian in America recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino and makes about 18 to 20 pieces.
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time35 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Siomai Rice Pearl Balls
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 23kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large Steamer
  • Mixing Bowls - small to large
  • Cake or metal pan (round) that fits inside steamer


  • 1 cup malagkit (sweet or sticky rice)
  • 2 to 3 cups water, enough to soak rice
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 250 grams fresh shrimps, peeled, tails and heads removed; finely chopped
  • 1 whole medium-sized white or yellow onion; chopped
  • 2 stalks scallion whites, chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • 2 whole large eggs; Divided, use 1 for pork mixture; other egg for coating meatballs
  • ¼ cup toyo (soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For garnish:

  • 2 stalks scallion greens, chopped

For serving:

  • ½ cup toyo (soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon calamansi or lemon juice


To prepare malagkit (sweet or sticky rice)

  • In a small bowl, combine the uncooked rice malagkit with enough water to cover and soak the grains. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
    The following day, drain and discard the liquid. Set the sticky rice aside.

To prepare and cook the Siomai Rice Pearl Balls:

  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients: ground pork, chopped shrimps, onions, scallions, carrots, 1 egg, toyo, sesame oil, flour, salt and pepper. Blend ingredients well.
    Shape the pork mixture into meatballs, 1 ½-inch in diameter.
  • In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Add a tablespoon of water and mix well.
    In a second bowl, place the pre-soaked rice grains.
  • Roll each meatball first in the egg wash, then second in the rice grains.
    Cover every meatballs with enough rice grains completely, so that no meat is apparent.
  • Fill the bottom of the steamer with enough water. Cover and over high heat, start boiling the water.
    Grease with cooking spray the pan that can fit inside the second layer of the steamer.
  • When pork meatball is completely covered with rice grains, arrange in the metal pan. Leave about ½ inch space between the siomai. The grains will get puffy after cooking and the dumplings will stick to each other.
    Fill the pan with enough meatballs. Use a second pan to continue cooking after the first batch.
    Place the second layer of steamer atop the bottom pan filled with briskly boiling water.
    Cover the steamer. Steam the siomai for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • The siomai is cooked, when the rice grains are cooked completely, are soft, plump and shiny.
    When cooked, use a spatula, to remove the Siomai from the steamer.
    Arrange Siomai on a large serving platter. Garnish with chopped scallion greens. Serve warm with a side dipping sauce of toyo mixed with calamansi (or lemon).

To reheat:

  • To reheat any leftovers, steam for ten minutes. Or else microwave on High for 2 minutes.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 291mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog,  my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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