Steamed Pork Meatballs is a cute dish and the yellow colour of the corn kernels brightens up the dining table. The sweetness of the corn makes it a perfect dish for children as well as adults. The inside of the meatball is very similar to my Japanese Pork Meatballs with Two Sauces, but instead of deep-frying the meatballs, I steamed them.
It makes sense to steam the meatballs because deep-frying with corn kernels all around them would be a pretty difficult task to accomplish.
By steaming the meatballs, the texture of the meat inside becomes almost like Shūmai. Accordingly, the dipping sauce to go with Steamed Pork Meatballs with Corn is a simple soy-based sauce.
I searched varieties of meatballs on the internet to see if meatballs coated with corn kernels existed in other countries. I could find corn mixed into the meat, but I couldn’t find a dish like today’s meatballs. There are Chinese meatballs coated with sticky rice around them. They are also steamed.
What’s in my Steamed Pork Meatballs with Corn
The ingredients for meatballs are almost identical to the ingredients used to make Japanese Pork Meatballs with Two Sauces, but I added soy sauce to give a stronger flavour.
- Pork mince/ground pork
- Finely chopped onion
- Finely chopped ginger
- Corn flour/cornstarch
- Cooking sake
- Soy sauce
- Corn kernels
- Corn flour/cornstarch
- Soy sauce
- Rāyu (Japanese chilli oil) or chilli oil
Corn flour/cornstarch is added to the meatball mixture to bind the mixture as well as to coat the corn kernels so that the corn kernels stick to the meatballs better.
I used frozen corn that was naturally defrosted before using. You can also use canned corn kernels.
In my recipe, I used 300g/0.7lb of corn to coat meatballs made from 300g/0.7lb of pork mince/ground pork. Before I put the corn around it my meatball was 4cm/1½” in diameter and I made 16 of them this time. If you are making smaller meatballs, you may need more corn kernels as the total surface area of the meatballs becomes larger with smaller balls.
The meatballs have sufficient flavour, so you can probably eat them without a dipping sauce if you are used to a lightly seasoned food. Simply serve soy sauce with/without chilli oil to dip the meatballs. You can also use mustard in place of chilli oil.
How to Make Steamed Pork Meatballs with Corn
The process of making meatballs is quite simple but coating them with corn kernels takes a bit of care and attention to detail. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult.
- Mix the mince mixture ingredients well in a bowl until the mixture becomes sticky.
- Wet your hands and make meatballs of about 4cm/1½” in diameter.
- Pat-dry corn kernels using kitchen paper.
- Dust the corn kernels with corn flour/cornstarch.
- Coat the meatballs with corn kernels all around them.
- Steam the meatballs for 10 minutes.
I punched the meat in the bowl with my knuckle several times to break the tissue of the meat. Then, vigorously mix the mixture. You can feel the stickiness after mixing for 2-3 minutes.
I made 16 balls this time. The number of balls you make can vary depending on the size of your meatballs.
After putting corn around the meatball, the ball becomes about 5cm/2″ in diameter. You can make smaller meatballs if you wish.
I used a bamboo steamer as it is the largest steamer I have. If your steamer cannot fit all the meatballs, you need to steam in batches. If using a bamboo steamer, you can put another steamer on top and steam them all at once.
How to coat meatballs with corn kernels
Putting corn kernels around the meatballs is a bit tricky. You want to put the corn kernels all around the meatball with minimum gaps.
- I initially rolled a meatball in a tray with corn.
- Then I placed the ball on my hand with some more corns over it. You should do this just above the tray of corn kernels, so that the tray can catch the corn kernels dropping from your hands.
- Place the other hand over the meatball, perpendicular to the bottom hand.
- Gently but firmly squeeze the ball between two hands (just as you would with rice to make Onigiri), adjusting the position of the corns to cover the surface of the meatball.
- It’s ok to have small gaps but avoid leaving a large bald patch.
Steamed Pork Meatballs with Corn is a strikingly pretty dish. It’s almost like a flower – a yellow great chrysanthemum. It can be a main dish, a side dish, or an item to go into a bento box.
You can keep Steamed Pork Meatballs with Corn in the fridge for few days. They are also great to freeze. You can defrost them using a microwave or a steamer.
Steamed Pork Meatballs is a cute dish. The yellow of the corn kernels brightens up the dining table. The sweetness of the corn makes it a perfect dish for children as well as adults. It is also a great dish for a bento box.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 300g/0.7lb corn kernels (note 1)
- 3 tbsp corn flour/cornstarch
Put all the Meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well vigorously for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes sticky. I punched the meat with my knuckles several times to break the mince down.
Wet your hand and make meatballs. The size of the meatball is about 4cm/1½" in diameter (note 2).
Pat-dry the corn kernels by placing them between paper towels and jiggling the top layer of the paper towel.
Spread the dried corn onto a tray, add corn flour/cornstarch, and mix well so that all the corn kernels are coated with flour.
For each meatball, place it on the corn in the tray and gently roll the ball. Some corn should stick to the meat ball.
Put the ball on your left hand (for the right hander), top with some corn and firmly press the meatball with both hands, just like the way you make Onigiri. You should do this above the corn tray.
If there is a bald patch without corn, you can fill it with a corn kernel. The meatball does not have to be completely covered with corn, but mostly covered (see the photos in the post).
Place a steaming paper liner with holes (note 3) in a steamer and place the meatballs in without touching each other (note 4). If your steamer cannot take 16 meatballs at once, you will need to steam them in batches.
Steam over medium heat for 10 minutes (note 5).
Serve while hot with soy sauce and rāyu/chilli oil (note 6).
1. I used frozen corn, naturally defrosted. You can also use canned corn kernels.
2. I made 16 meatballs this time. The final size of the meatball after being coated with corn kernels is about 5cm/2" in diameter. You can make the size of the meatball smaller, but if you do, you will need more corn as the total surface area of all the meatballs increases.
4. I used a large bamboo steamer that could just fit in 16 meatballs. You can use two smaller bamboo steamers placed on top of the other and steam all of them at once.
You can of course steam the meatballs using other types of steamers or even a normal large pot. Please refer to the instruction of my Shūmai recipe, which includes how to steam in different ways.
5. If your meatball is smaller, your steaming time needs to be reduced by a couple of minutes.
6. I like the simplest dipping sauce to have with my Steamed Meatballs with Corn. You could also add vinegar to it just like how you eat Shūmai. Mustard instead of chilli oil would be good too. Another dipping sauce that goes well with today’s meatballs is ponzu.
7. Nutrition per meatball, assuming 16 meatballs are made.
serving: 49g calories: 82kcal fat: 4.5g (7%) saturated fat: 1.6g (8%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g monounsaturated fat: 2g cholesterol: 25mg (8%) sodium: 182mg (8%) potassium: 119mg (3%) carbohydrates: 6.1g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.5g (2%) sugar: 1.4g protein: 4.3g vitamin a: 1% vitamin c: 2.9% calcium: 0.5% iron: 1.9%