January 13, 2009

When I am old and have no teeth, I will be gumming balls of sticky rice. As my most recent visit to the dentist spelled out dentures at 40, I have decided to be proactive about the impending toothless years. I am jumping into the world of sticky rice.

I eat sticky rice at family functions (Christmas), dim sum, and stuffed inside a crispy chicken. Let's address this common misnomer. Sticky rice is not sushi rice. It is clear, and you usually steam it in bamboo baskets. It is not used in Japanese food. It is used moreso in southeast Asian food. LOVE IT.

Nou Mi Fan is nothing more than a sticky rice pilaf if you will. You put some delicious flavourful ingredients in one pot or wok, fry, add raw rice, fry, add liquid, bring to boil, simmer, done!
I do admit, I did use a rice cooker the first time. It was a cheap one that my mom bought from costco. $29.99 for a 4-6 quart cooker. Sure beats the hell out of the $119.00 1-quart my dad bought her from the Chinese kitchen supply store Kamei although that one did have neuro fuzzy...

Anyhow, the difficulty in making Chinese sticky rice is in purveying. Now I live in San Francisco, and we Asians a plenty. Picking up dried scallop is a walk through Chinatown. I stole mine from my parents, who receive them as gifts from my dad's patients. If you don't have a chinatown, go to an Asian market. If you do not have an Asian Market, what the hell are you doing reading this blog?
The next time you go site-seeing to a big city, stock up on these dried goods. They are dry. They stay well.

OK so about the foreign ingredients:

(1.) I use dried scallops in my recipe. Find them in Chinatown. They are like gold to Asians, because they are incredibly flavourful. I have watched my mom make soup out of 1 scallop and squash that is so aromatic that it perfumes my whole entire house. They can be up to $100/lb.

(2.) You will also need dried shrimp. Similar to dried scallops, but cheaper. there are also different grades and pricing depending on size... just like varying boxes of Cheez-its. You also want Chinese sausage. It comes in a vacuum pack most likely and last a good long time. Store well. Splurge on it. My dad says:
"I use the most expensive kind. Yeah Katie, this one is a good one. From Canada. 'Dollar' Brand."
(3.+4.) You also want Chinese bacon. It looks like dark bacon is dried so it is firm. My aunt told me to stick it in the microwave for a bit, if it is too hard to cut. Unless you are slicing with a plastic dollhouse knife, you shouldn't need to microwave anything.

Here is a run down of all the ingredients:


SUMMARY: See above

WARE: A 4-6 Quart pot. Preferably one that is thick so that things don't burn on the bottom.

TOTAL TIME: 3 hrs 30 min, Active time - 45 minutes

- 3 cups rice
- 6-8 inch piece of Chinese bacon
- 1 Chinese sausage
- 8 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 egg
- 2 t oil
- 4-5 dried scallops
- 6-8 dried shrimp
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced thinly

Optional sauces:
- 2 T oyster sauce
- 2 t sesame oil
- 1 T soy sauce

1. Soak rice in a bowl of water for 2 hours. I soaked over night, but that was because it aborted the sticky rice mission when I learned that my aunt was making it for Christmas dinner too.

2. Meanwhile, peel scallops into threads and chop shrimp into crumbles. Put in a small bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain. Reserve water.

3. Break dried shitakes up into edible pieces. Place in a boil and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain. Reserve water.

4. In a small pan, place 2 t of oil and scramble egg. The egg should be as thin as a crepe, so if you have to fry in 2 batches, do so. Julienne.

5. Drain rice.

6. In a wok at high heat, heat 1 t oil and saute the sausage and the bacon until slightly crisp, 3 minutes.

7. Add drained scallops, shrimp, and shitakes. Saute 3 more minutes.

8. Add egg and drained rice. Saute for 3 minutes. Keep the rice moving or else it will stick. My dad says that traditionally people finish off the rice in the wok, without adding anymore water. That they just keep frying and adding bits of oil and water if needed. I will get tennis elbow do this.

9. Transfer mixture to a rice cooker or a large pot. Measure out the reserved liquid form the scallops, shrimp, and shitakes. Add enough water to measure 2 c. Add to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes.
If using a rice cooker, just put the rice on "cook white rice" setting and forget about it.

10. Remove from stove or rice cooker and test for dones-ness. If not quite there, cook for 5 more minutes. Add green onions.

I may be a purist and like my rice without too much added sauce so at this point you are DONE! But if you like to add more flavouring, add in the sauces int he increments above and adjust to taste.


Elra said...

I love sticky rice and your glistening dish is so tempting. I know for sure it's delicious.

Nicky said...

Great recipe, funny written, very familiar. :-)

If you like, you can also try adding lotusseeds.


Anonymous said...

Katie, when I saw your ingredients, they were the exact ones my mother used, but my parents have passed away and there was no one to teach me (I am a Chinese-born, English-speaking Canadian). I use this recipe over and over, and everyone loves it. The only thing I do differently is after frying in the pan, I put cheesecloth in a steamer and steam the rice dish for one hour. Then I add the sauces at the end. This is so YUMMY. Thank you for sharing this online.


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