Meat Pearls (Guest Post)

by Sarah on November 16, 2009

I met Yael Segal-Ruder for the first time at the Weizmann Institute where I was finishing my Msc and she was working as a research assistant and completing her Bsc in food technology. We were a small group of friends, which included Laura Morrison a post-doc from Corvallis Oregon and Nicolas Bouche who would go on to head his own laboratory at the Versaille Institute in France.

So much as passed since then, now three children and three degrees later, Yael is a career academic who can write a book on time management. She is always juggling a myriad of tasks on a perpetual race against the deadlines, kids, home, work, school. I have chosen a completely different route, on the slow lane at home. When we chat on the phone I always feel a bit sheepish to tell Yael about my hectic days which seem like holidays compared to hers.

Yael will write my first guest post; the real picture of a working Mom in Israel, who loves great food but wont apologize for eating fast food every once in awhile because, really, who has the time.

Meat pearls – Not jewelry but very tasty.

My husband is a type of person that strives to excel in everything he does, either at his job as project manager for designing and operating complex systems, or at home building a tree house for the kids or even painting a wall in our son’s room.  His work is done with an eye for perfection and this dedication also applies to his skill as a cook. Yes, I have been blessed with a husband that not only likes cooking but does it very well.

Unfortunately, during the week, our lives are very stressful and hectic since we both have full time jobs, three children and a household to manage. Dinners are usually quickly assembled; a sandwich, eggs, perhaps a quick pasta such as puttanesca and if the time is particularly tight Domino’s Pizza, which is loved by all of us including my youngest, a year and half year old.

The weekend, on the other hand, is when we have the traditional Shabbat meal, and for this my husband recruits all his skill. We love foods from all over the world and often combine them in one meal such as an Indian dish, alu Gobi (cauliflower with potatoes) with Eastern European chicken soup, schnitzel and a very Israeli salad with diced cucumbers, tomatoes and lots of olive oil.

After a few weeks of being too busy to cook even on the weekends, my husband went into real cooking frenzy.  In addition to the regular fare of chicken soup and chicken drums with tasty peanut butter and ginger sauce, he tried something different from Israel Aharoni’s cookbook, meatballs. These are not your typical meatballs but steamed and coated with sticky rice so the surface looks studded with pearls, hence the name, meat pearls.  It was a delicious and very healthy dish since it is chicken based and cooked using our newly acquired bamboo steamer, keeping the fat levels low. When eaten together with my Chinese sister in law’s extremely hot chili sauce and soy sauce, it was a perfect dinner.

I love my husband’s culinary adventures as they usually make great additions to our family menu.

From Israel Aharoni’s book “Chopped, Minced and Ground meat cookbook”, Keter 2005.

Translated by Yael Segal-Ruder:

Meat Pearls


1.5 cups of round rice well rinsed.

500 grams ground chicken breast

Half a green apple, finely chopped

2 green onions chopped

5 spoons of minced fresh cilantro

1 garlic tooth, finely chopped

2 teaspoons freshly chopped ginger

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

3 spoons cornflour

1 egg

Salt and pepper.

Soak the rice in cold water for at least an hour. Meanwhile mix all the ingredients to form a unified mixture, cover in saran wrap and cool in the refrigerator for an hour.

Wet your hands a little and make balls the size of ping-pong from the mixture.

Sieve the rice from the water and spread it on a flat plate.

Roll the meat balls so they are completely covered with rice.

Put the coated balls in a steaming basket and steam them for 15-20 minutes.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Yael November 16, 2009 at 7:59 am

Hi. I’ll comment on my post. I like it! Yei! 3 MORE DAYS TO RHODES.


Kano November 16, 2009 at 9:22 am

I love these. They look great!


erez November 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm

beautiful post. great writing
looking forward your next post. will try to help with some new dishes.
your personal cook,

your site and posts are great. I have read all of them. nice camera job too!
by the way, where can I buy teff flour?


Sarah November 17, 2009 at 10:10 am

thanks! Where ever there is a sizable population of Ethiopians you will probably find teff flour. There is a little ethiopian grain shop in Ness Ziona right behind the bus station, it has no signs but ask around. Also on the main road in Rehovot (Herzl, southern part near Agasi spices), there are a few Ethiopian shops for clothes, spices and grains.


Jennifer Chen December 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

The meat pearls look definitely nice on the professional bamboo steamer. I am sure the bamboo steamer does add nice bamboo fragrance to the pearls compared with conventional steamer.
If you make extra portion of these pearls, keep them in the fridge and steam them when needed. It tastes as yummy as fresh made.
I love it. Thank you for sharing.


Sarah December 7, 2010 at 1:58 am

Thanks for the comment Jennifer, I didn’t realize the bambo steamer adds aroma to the food cooked in it


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