Pork Tapioca Pearl Dumplings (Sakoo Sai Moo)

  • 360 ml (1 1/2 cups)  {225 gm (8oz)} pearl tapioca
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ingredients for the Filling
  • 2 tsp. white peppercorns 
  • 3-5 pieces of fresh cilantro 
  • 2 Tblsp. canola or other vegetable oil 
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 250 gm (~8 oz.) lean pork 
  • 1 Tblsp. palm sugar or shaved jaggery
  • 3 Tblsp. Thai fish sauce 
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh hot chiles (phrik ki nu )
  • 3 Tblsp. crushed roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • Tapioca flour 
  • 2 tsp. fried garlic 
  • Sliced red chillies
  • Fresh coriander
  • Rinse pearl tapioca in a strainer, drain and transfer to a bowl. Dissolve salt in hot water and gradually add to the tapioca, mixing well. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
Prepare the filling: 
It's important to use lean minced pork.  
  1. In a heavy mortar and pestle or spice grinder homogenise the white peppercorns and cilantro root and stems until pulverized completely.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium.
  3. Cook onion until soft.
  4. Stir in palm sugar and pepper-coriander paste.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl mix together the pork and cooked onion with sugar and pepper paste.
  7. Add 3 Tblsp. fish sauce.
  8. Add in the fresh chillies and crushed peanuts. Mix well. 
To shape the balls: 
  1. Using your fingers roll the pearl tapioca into 2.5 cm (1 in) balls with damp hands. Cover with a damp cloth. 
  2. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with tapioca flour (This is very important). 
  3. Press thumb or finger into each ball to form a cup shape. 
  4. Put in a teaspoon of pork mixture and seal the tapioca over the filling. Mold into balls again and cover with damp cloth until ready to cook. (If all are not required immediately, pack some in a freezer container and freeze, ready to steam when needed.)
  5. Place the balls on oiled parchment, banana leaf or cabbage leaves in a stacked steamer, leaving 1/2 inch between each. If using a multi-tiered metal steamer make sure that the trays are well oiled and regrease for each batch. Steam over vigorously boiling water until the tapioca is quite clear, about 20 minutes. 
  6. Remove the steamer from the heat and leave for 5 minutes for the balls to dry slightly before transferring to a serving dish. 
  7. Sprinkle with crushed fried garlic or crushed roasted peanuts and garnish with chillie slices.