Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Porcupine Meatballs

Sweet rice Shumai / もち米の焼売DSC_4871

Our plane landed at the tail end of summer. The sun setting in the west is rather spectacular, I let out a sigh of relief… but we also felt somewhat blue.
Getting back into my routine is a bit of a task and slow. I inspect things we purchased during our journey…ahhh…the wappa (輪っぱ) bento box…such a nice find!

What I could fill the box with? I dunno…two thirds of our vegetables were wilted, some liquidized in the refrigerator and the milk had a sour taste…Darling, I think this has gone bad…he grabbed the car keys, and headed off to the store for fresh milk. His supper – the peanut butter sandwich -  would not be complete without it. Anything else you want me to get? he asked…completely jet lagged…thinking is way too hard.

This popular Chinese dim-sum requires no wrapper. Quick and satisfying recipe from Seattle pastry maker Setsuko. Her fabulous looking confections you can order through her website.DSC_4873

Ingredients and Instruction for 10 to 15 Shumais (Print recipe here)

Necessary equipment – Steamer (I used bamboo steamer)

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 of medium size onion finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger finely grated or juice  Note: I like to grate skin and all first then wrap in paper towel to squeeze juice out.DSC_4849
    Here, my husband demonstrating
  • 2 teaspoons each of sake, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Wash sweet rice quickly, perhaps 2-3 rinses changing water each time – sweet rice absorbs water fast so do not soak in water. Leave washed rice in sieve until needed. Get steamer ready with at least 2 inches of water at the bottom of steamer pan.
  2. Put ground pork, finely minced onion, grated ginger (or juice) in a medium bowl and combine well.
  3. Add seasoning – sake, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and mix well.
  4. Add cornstarch and knead until it comes together. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Make balls (approximately 1 and 1/2 inch in size). Roll in sweet rice.DSC_4858
  6. Brush the steamer bottom with vegetable oil to prevent the meat balls from sticking  Lay the meat balls without crowding, put the lid on, steam for 12 to 15 minutes. Watch out for the hot steam when you remove the lid. Serve with gyoza sauce if you like.DSC_4859 DSC_4863

Also great is to put in Chinese soup. I short cut by using Chinese soup granule base, with soy sauce and vinegar to adjust flavor. See, easy does it!DSC_4879

Here are some photos we took in Japan in random order…Amazing Kyoto Tower view from our hotel room. 01a741d1c81a16a7bdf2c1edf121e642c1ed59be90
My  husband loves ‘drinking yogurt’. The bakery in town of Akitsuki (秋月/Autumn Moon), Fukuoka called Pan (Japanese name for bread)…that works.
We indulged in many good eats! Even bad for you foods but tasted so good!
We flew from Narita Airpot to Fukuoka
The first thing we ate in Fukuoka is Hakata ramen – famous for rich, pork based soup at Ippudo (一風堂) for about 10 bucks. On contraire, we had the most expensive 5 course lunch at a French restaurant near Matsumoto Castle.
…by accident. 1st course is red turnip soup...Wow!
Pose with samurai warrior at well preserved Matsumoto Castle. The peek –a-boo view from tiny opening. I think that is the coolest castle ever!
Took over an hour but we made to the top of Happo Peak in Hakuba.   In fact, we walked most everywhere, a little break at Kanazawa’s samurai residence.

Hakuba rice fieldIMG_1771

HairJam..yummy?!              We loved the museum and the artist, this in Azumino, there is a Tokyo museum also.
My son and his wife Joined us to Karuizawa. We love Karaoke!
Sacred Lotus flower in Toji temple in Kyoto.

Kuzu noodle with real gold syrup at Kanazawa.
Blueberry soft serve ice cream, reward for climbing Happo Peak (八方家根) – A Japanese blogger Mnoru posted beautiful photos of the area. It was a pleasure to meet him and his wife in person in Tokyo…honey, where is the photo we took with them?
01c2a773d2ce60c0fae9aa5bbcda7d7accf67edab5IMG_1763Scan_20140922 (2)

Kiso Bridge (木曽の大橋) In Narai and near by Café Miyama for the famous 100 years old curry (not really, just the recipe) for lunch. 

Asakusa, Kaminarimon in Tokyo, the young rickshaw driver who studied at San Jose University for 2 years, speaks fluent English.

World’s 2nd tallest building – Tokyo Skytree 019a88ebf0e77168033e3dd1e5719e6d7f2eab25fd….saw this view.019905dd82b54804c3fb7fbb8c62e5ed020f4587dc

Enjoy the famous fire works at Lake Suwa.


  1. Those photos from Japan are so beautiful!
    I made meatballs with rice coating a loooooooooong while ago, so I know these are very delicious!

  2. WOW! Thank you for sharing lots of lovely photos of your Japan trip! Your home country is truly beautiful and you're so blessed with a wonderful holiday, husband on side, and visit with your son &DIL:)
    Porcupine meatballs sounds so cute and looks cute too! I must try this one out...looks easy to make! hmmmm... I have to admit that I can't help but covet greatly on that wappa bento box you found...but still happy that you got it...so nice:)

  3. こんばんは。美味しそうな、もち米の焼売ですね。 日本での旅行の写真見させていただきました。とても楽しそうですね。

    1. ありがとうございます。 また来年行けたらいいんですけどね。 早速貯金に励みます。

  4. Your meatballs look wonderful! Looks like you had a lot of fun in Japan. Beautiful photos as usual. And thank you so much for your thoughtful gifts. You are so amazing.

    1. Thank you Jalna. We had a great time! I wish I could stay there longer...

  5. amazing pictures love Japan and these meatballs are so much fun

    1. Thank you very much Rebecca. I had a great time blog hopping from your blog.

  6. Hi! Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

  7. cute little savoury bomb!!!
    itely gonna try this my friend, genious recipe!!!

    1. Hi Master Chef. Your blog makes me hungry with each visit...just amazing! Thank you for your comment.

  8. Wonderful holidays! Thank you so much for sharing these moments with us.
    I love these balls! I made them only twice I think (I knew them under the name of "Pearl Balls") but never tried putting into a soup. Excellent idea.

    1. Thank you Sissi. I going to make your chawanmushi very soon!

  9. Hi Nippon Nin,

    Welcome back! I see lots of smiles in your holidays. Nice to know that your family enjoyed this trip very much. We are going to Tokyo soon in 3 weeks time and look forward to see Japan with autumn colours.

    Nice shumai! Sounds yummy to me :D


    1. Thank you Zoe. Have a fun trip! I wish I could go with you, ha ha ha.

  10. Those meatballs look so pretty and delicious. A fabulous dish.

    Oh, I'd love to visit Japan!



  11. Looks like you travelled energetically for both sightseeing and eating. I like the bento box, it looks much nicer with home-made dishes.


  12. 先日車の中で読んでたのですが、携帯からコメントがしずらくて遅れました。いいですね~!明美さんの日本旅行記、いつも楽しい!食べ物もあり、色々なところの写真も見れるし。そして思いました。うちの子供たちも誰か日本にいる方と結婚したら・・・・私毎年帰るいい理由が!これで孫産まれたらもっと帰国できるかも?!あはは。楽しい旅行記ありがとう!しゅうまい最高に美味しそう。ちょっと面倒ですが、美味しいですよね。作る甲斐はあります。明美さんの食べたい。:)