糯米饭 -This is a traditional dish I learned from my mother and my friend’s mother. For Thanksgiving this year, Alex and I hosted our first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple. It was a hodge-podge of college friends across different disciplines! Ok, that sounds a little more fancy that it actually is. Basically, some of my architecture friends and our college friends happened to congregate in Boston this year for Thanksgiving, and, culinary fiend that I am, I had to invite everyone over for a full Thanksgiving meal.
But this isn’t about traditional Thanksgiving food. This is about the amazing sticky rice Megan’s mom, Judy, brought over. It was soft and deliciously flavored – everything you want in sticky rice. I begged her to tell me her way – and it’s simple! Soak it overnight for 8 or more hours.
Preparation: Soak three cups of sticky rice in cold water (cover with 1 inch water above rice), overnight. 1 hour before making dish, soak shiitake mushrooms in warm water.
Step 1: As mushrooms are soaking, compile everything together. You’ll need 5 Chinese pork sausages, a couple stalks of green onion, 4-5 cloves of garlic (more if you like garlic, less if you don’t), soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese Shaoxing rice wine, salt, white pepper, sesame oil, and chicken broth.
Step 2: Mix together sauce. 1/3 cup rice wine, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, some shakes of white pepper, 1 teaspoon salt. Again, this is a traditional Chinese recipe, and you know how Chinese recipes go – it’s super flexible! I usually don’t even use a recipe. I just toss things in. These are the approximate measurements.
Step 3: Chop chop chop! Cut the white/pale part of scallions into thin slices. Reserve the deep green part for the end – cut these diagonally. Cut up the sausage.
Step 4: Mince the garlic. This is a little tricky for beginners. How do we get the garlic cloves out of the peel? It’s really simple! Lay your knife over it, and tap with your palm. The garlic will be crushed and slip right out of the peel. Then, you can mince it.
Step 5: The mushrooms should be done soaking by now. Pour mushrooms through a sieve and squeeze out the liquid. KEEP THE LIQUID. This is going to go with the chicken broth when cooking rice and will provide that yummy aromatic flavor. Now chop it all up.
Step 6: It’s time to cook! Oh wait, first drain your rice. Nothing fancy or tricky – just drain it through a sieve. Now, heat your wok until it smokes. Yup, you read that right. The wok will smoke. Add two teaspoons of sesame oil and heat that up. Make sure your wok is dry. Otherwise the oil will pop and become kind of scary. Trust me, that’s happened to me, too. Add the white part of scallion and garlic.
Step 7: Add the sausage and stir fry for another minute. Do you smell that? Yum!
Step 8: Add mushrooms and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Step 9: Add sauce and mix. Quickly remove from heat.
Step 10: You have this lovely hodge-podge of sausage, shitake, and onions. It’s time to add the sticky rice. Just pour the drained rice right into the wok, still off heat.
Step 11: Transfer this mixture into a flat bottomed, heavy duty pan. I used a Dutch oven. You can use a steamer or a stock pot. Any would work. Add 1 cup mushroom liquid, and 1 cup chicken broth. The mixture will barely cover the rice mixture.
Step 12: Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
It’s almost done!! Take it off the stove, and let it sit, covered, for another 10-15 minutes.
Step 13: Lets add those diagonally cut scallions.
And ta-da!!!! Sticky rice, accomplished and devoured.
Now, was that so bad? I’m going to pretend you all said no. 😉
RECIPE: No Mi Fan – Chinese Sticky Rice
3 cups sticky rice (also called mochi rice, or “No Mi Fan”), soaked overnight
5 Chinese pork sausages, cut into 1/4″ diagonal slices
2-4 stalks green onion, white parts cut thinly, green parts cut diagonally and reserved for garnish
1 cup shiitake mushroom, sliced
1 cup reserved mushroom water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup Shaoxin wine (Chinese rice wine)
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 dashes white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1| Prepare beforehand: soak rice in cold water (1″ above rice) overnight. Soak shiitake mushrooms in warm water for an hour. Drain mushrooms and squeeze out excess liquid. Reserve 1 cup mushroom water for later.
2| Toss all ingredients for the sauce in one bowl and mix.
3| Heat up sesame oil in wok. Cook garlic and white parts of scallion. Add sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce, mix, and remove from heat. Pour drained rice into wok and mix. Transfer mixture to a heavy-bottomed pot. I used a Dutch oven. A steamer or a stockpot would work as well. Add chicken broth and mushroom water.
4| Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check, mix, and if there are still uncooked rice, cook a little more. Taste it, and add more salt or soy sauce to adjust. Once rice seems cooked through, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for another 10-15 minutes.
5| To finish, add green parts of scallions and mix.
**To reheat: The best way is to steam it instead of microwaving, as microwaving it may cause the sticky rice to dry a little.