Cantonese Steamed Beef Balls are a classic dim sum dish, and now you can enjoy them at home. This recipe is a bit of work, but is definitely worth it once you bite into these springy, juicy beef balls. I use a few different techniques and ingredients compared to traditional Chinese recipes, but these Cantonese Steamed Beef Balls are just as good and are made in less time!
A Classic Dim Sum Dish
Cantonese Steamed Beef Balls are a typical menu item at dim sum restaurants. These juicy beef balls are made with water chestnuts, cilantro, tangerine peel and ginger to give the beef lots of flavour and texture. The beef balls are steamed to perfection in a bamboo steamer on a bed of bean curd. The bean curd absorbs all of the beef juices and takes on all of the flavour of the beef balls. It’s a perfect combination!
While the flavour of these Cantonese Steamed Beef Balls is enough to make me order them every time I go for dim sum, what I really enjoy is the texture of these beef balls. They are super springy while being juicy at the same time. Dip these into the traditional Worcestershire sauce, and you will be in dim sum heaven!
Achieving the Springiest & Juiciest Beef Balls
There are a few ingredients and techniques that will help you achieve that authentic Cantonese Steamed Beef Ball texture at home.
- Baking soda: this secret ingredient is added to the beef balls to give it that bouncy, springy texture. Just 1/4 teaspoon is all you need!
- Cornstarch: this ingredient ensures that the beef ball mixture is thick and absorbs all the fat and juices to keep these beef balls moist and succulent once they are steamed
- Using a stand mixer: this handy tool saves your arms from having to mix everything by hand, and mixes the meat in one direction, lending to a great texture
Get the Recipe!
Cantonese Steamed Beef Balls
- 500 grams regular ground beef
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup cold water
For the Seasoning Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
For the Vegetables:
- 1 teaspoon tangerine peel soaked, pith removed, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger finely chopped
- 1/2 cup water chestnuts drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- 4 sticks dried bean curd soaked in warm water for 1 hour
For the Dipping Sauce:
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Place the ground beef into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for 2 minutes, then add the baking soda and the cold water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat for 30 seconds. Cover and place in the refrigerator to rest for 3 hours.
- While the beef is resting, make the seasoning sauce by combining the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, sugar and white pepper. Reserve the cornstarch and water for later.
- Soak the bean curd in hot water for 1 hour. Soak the tangerine peel in hot water for 20 minutes, then scrape off the white pith.
- After 3 hours, remove the beef from the refrigerator and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the seasoning sauce and mix until combined.
- Add the chopped tangerine peel, water chestnuts, ginger, and cilantro. Combine the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup of water and add to the beef slowly, beating until just combined.
- Place water in the bottom of a frying pan and place a bamboo steamer on top. The water should be at least 2 cm deep. Heat over medium-high heat until steam is coming out the top and sides.
- Place the bean curd onto a microwave-safe plate in a single layer. Scoop three beef balls and place on top of the bean curd. Place the plate in the steamer.
- Steam for 20 minutes over medium-high heat. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the beef balls rest, covered, for 2 minutes.
- While the beef balls are steaming, make the dipping sauce by combining the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Remove the plate from the bamboo steamer and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
- You can prepare the beef mixture a day in advance. Simply scoop and steam with the bean curd for quick and easy dim sum.
- You can steam multiple plates of beef balls in the bamboo steamer with multiple baskets, if desired.
- Always remember to refill the water in the pan before steaming the next batch of beef balls.