Julie Soefer
Crispy Rice Balls with Spiced Dashi from Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston
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Crispy Rice Balls with Spiced Dashi

Chris Shepherd, Underbelly, Houston / January 2013

For 6 servings


  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. kecap manis
  • 1 Tbsp. sambal
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl; form into 1 oz. balls; place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper; bake 10 minutes; remove from oven; cool; cover; reserve in refrigerator.


  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups short-grain rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Heat oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat; add rice; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly toasted; add 3 cups water, 1 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until absorbed before adding more (like making risotto); add coconut milk; cook, stirring, until all liquid has been absorbed; remove from the heat; spread out on baking sheet; cool; reserve in refrigerator.


  • canola oil (for frying) 1 1/2 cups soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Korean apple vinegar
  • 1/2 cup bonito flakes
  • 1 sm. sheet kombu
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps. fermented soybean paste
  • 2 tsps. green curry paste
  • 2 tsps. cornstarch
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • scallions, cut on the bias (for garnish)
  • Thai chiles, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  1. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350°F.

  2. Bring soy sauce, vinegar, bonito flakes, kombu, soybean paste, curry paste, cornstarch, and 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; reduce by 1/3; strain through fine chinois into clean saucepan; discard solids; season; reserve dashi (keep warm).

  3. Wrap each meatball in thin layer of rice, making sure all meat is covered; fry, turning occasionally, until brown and crispy; remove with a spider; place on paper towels to drain; reserve (keep warm).

  4. To serve, place 1/4 cup spiced dashi in each serving bowl; place 3 balls in each bowl; garnish with scallions, chiles, and cilantro.

What to drink: Miner Family Vineyards Rosato Mendocino 2011