Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chinese Sticky Rice (Nuo mi fan)

This is a dish that I can't remember having for the first time. If you asked my sister or me to make this for you, we wouldn't have to break out the recipe book (although I did cheat and call my mom to ask her how much water to use). Sticky rice is something that was always around when our grandparents in Taiwan would have people over. And even after we moved here, my mom would always make this for any special occasions. Today wasn't a special occasion, but I think my spirits needed a little pick-me-up. Nostalgia and food did the trick.

A couple of ingredients in this dish that you may not have on hand: dried shiitake mushrooms and sweet rice. No, you can't substitute regular rice. It won't be sticky! You can find it in any Asian market. Same with the shiitake mushrooms.

The recipe:
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated in warm water for at least 30 minutes)
2 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
4-6 oz thinly sliced pork (a pork chop would do)
2 cups sweet rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the pork and cook for about 2-3 minutes (or till cooked through). Slice the rehydrated mushrooms and add them to the pan. Reserve the water.
Add the rice to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan and stir till the rice has soaked in the water.
Continue to add 1/2 cup of water till you've used up all 2 cups.
Add in the soy sauce and stir through.

Now here is where my method differs from my mom's; mostly from necessity:

Transfer the rice mixture to a pot and stir in 1 cup of the mushroom water. Turn heat down to med-low and cook until the rice has cooked through (about 20 minutes).

Normally, I would have put this into the rice cooker after I incorporated the two cups of water, but my B&D rice cooker wanted to tell me it was done cooking long before the rice was cooked.

Serve with soy sauce and garnish with chopped green onions, if you like.

Note: As I was making this, I thought about how similar this dish is to Italian risotto. The method is similar, and even the traditional pairing of the rice with mushroom is similar. The Italians have a lot to thank the Chinese for.
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Anonymous said...

I know this as a traditional cantonese, dish, with origins in the rural areas of asia.

Anonymous said...

While I was reading your recipe I was also thinking how similar it was to Italian risotto!!

Thanks for the recipe, I loveeeee sticky rice. I'm eating some right now!