savory sticky rice

Savory Sticky Rice

did you guys see
Fresh Off the Boat last week?
i don’t like the show
(it gives me a vague sense
that i’m being side-eyed
and laughed at)
there was one scene
that rang true:
the lunch scene.
it was common that my lunch
consisted of
whatever was leftover
from the dinner table the night before.
which you can imagine,
while super tasty at home
did not translate in the school cafeteria.
i got side eyed
and one time
an entire table left,
after making a fuss.
that was high school.
(specifically, freshman year,
2nd semester where i was the NEW KID,
fresh from ethiopia
and in deep culture shock,

this particular dish
was something i brought to school
in third grade.
i was so excited.
i was too young to realize that
pb&jelly sandwiches were de rigueur
and when i busted this sticky rice
out of its wrapper
and offered it to my bff
she wrinkled her nose.
i was crestfallen,
though i rallied and figured:
more for me.
(just kidding.
i threw it away)
but thus began my
battle with home brought lunches.
the struggle was real people.

Savory Sticky Rice

xôi or 糯米饭 no mi fan, or, Savory Sticky Rice
from memory, and a combination of woks of life and le jus d’orange

*note: nowadays, i have an office i can hide in if my food is on the strong side, though i do err on the side of safe foods. (there was that one time, years ago at another job, i brought dumplings and the odor caused my coworkers to pause. i was so embarrassed.) you won’t ever find fish in my lunch box. this, thankfully, did not disrupt anybody’s olfactory senses the week i brought it for noshing.

3 cups of brown sticky rice, soaked overnight
5 lap xuoung links, chinese pork sausage, sliced on a diagonal
3 garlic cloves, minced fine
2 cups worth of fresh shiitake mushroom caps, (reserve the caps in a freezer bag to make stock), sliced
1 cups worth of dried wood ear mushroom, sliced (reconstituted in hot water)
1 cups worth of enokie mushrooms, cut in half
2 cups of liquid, you can use stock for flavor or leftover water from soaking the mushroom, or just water
1/2 dried shrimp, reconstituted in hot water
4 stalks of green onions, sliced on a diagonal, divided, half to cook and half for garnish

light/thin soy sauce
dark soy sauce
shaoxing wine
sesame oil
oyster sauce

night before, soak the rice.

when ready, prepare your mis en place:
for the sauce, refer to the links for exact measurements. i won’t lie, i winged the proportions and guessed on amount. basically, shoot for a tablespoon of each, except for the sesame oil. mix it all together and taste, add more of whatever you want until you reach desired flavor. you’re aiming for salty sweet. add in the sesame oil last, my guess: about 1/2 TBL. set aside.

have all your components ready sliced/minced/soaked and close at hand. strain the soaked rice.

in a large skillet, cook up the lap xuoung, it is going to give up so much fat. don’t be alarmed. when sufficiently cooked through, remove from pan onto paper napkins. pour out excess oil/fat, leaving behind about a tablespoon. throw in a handful of sliced scallions and garlic, mix. next add in the mushrooms and dried shrimp, and mix. remove from heat and last, add the rice and sauce. mix it all thoroughly together.

transfer entire contents of the pan to a rice cooker. we have a fancy rice cooker that has a STICKY RICE feature. if you’re incensed that i’m using a rice cooker, or you don’t have a rice cooker with that feature, or you want something more authentic, refer to the links of the original recipes for those instructions.

add in two cups of liquid (we used a combo of water and leftover mushroom water) and set timer accordingly. i think it was done after about an hour.

when cooked through, adjust seasoning to taste. serve garnished with leftover green scallions.


Savory Sticky Rice

other asian delights, or stank food:
vietnamese bò kho – beef stew
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl {bun thit ga nuong}

29 thoughts on “savory sticky rice

  1. This reminds me of the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (certain scenes hit close to home) when Toula pulls out a Tupperware of moussaka to the quips of her classmates (moose kaka?). Been there.

    PS: Happy meeting anniversary to you and dw! xo

  2. This looks so good. Kids are so funny. Your experience reminds me of growing up the only Jewish kid in a Catholic town and pulling out my maztoh on Passover. The ENTIRE cafeteria turned to look at my “giant cracker”. I mean, everyone stopped in their place to point, look and laugh. Formative experiences.

    1. betty, i would never have known that it was just your first foray into food photography! thanks for the guildeline

  3. I totally agree about the cafeteria scene. The trauma from bringing “weird” food to school was so strong that I ate pb sandwiches every day in high school…dark times. Your sticky rice looks beautiful 🙂

  4. My mother used to pack our lunches in very fancy Tupperware kits. A big lunchbox filled with matching containers, each packed with uncool, healthy food. I wanted a brown paper bag filled with whatever every other kid was eating. {sigh} Now I’d give anything for lunches like the ones she used to pack. And I wouldn’t even die of embarrassment.

  5. I had the good fortune to have a coworker who brought in treats like these and now that she works somewhere else, I miss them. So thank you for the enlightenment because now I can make my own. 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh, no mi fan is the stuff of my dreams. I love it so much. And dude, we watched Fresh Off the Boat last week too and YES that lunch scene. The struggle was so real. I have mixed feelings about the show, for sure. But I don’t have mixed feelings bout this rice — looks SO good. Love this post, Lan. Here’s to lunch freedom (someday??)

  7. I used to buy just a mini bag of chips for lunch in 6th grade because that’s what the “cool” kids ate. Luckily, by 7th grade, I made new friends.

    Even as an adult at one of my jobs, there was a co-worker who wrinkled her nose when she saw my rice and whatever. “You bring such iiinteresting food,” she’d say. But as her lunches were always a microwaved potato and salt, I figured she had no taste buds.

    1. i think it’s a little more forgivable when kids are being assholes, but as adults, just don’t say anything.

  8. I’m so hungry for this right now!! Yum, yum…. all those mushrooms… and dried shrimps! This dinner is my spirit animal. Wait, I have never seen brown sticky rice, but now I am hellbent on getting some!

    Kids are so mean, right? Even adults these days are freaked out by foods they’ve never tried before. Tsk, tsk. I often eat salmon at work, but cold, on salads… I dont think anyone can smell it. The hardboiled eggs I only peel in the lunchroom, where food smells belong, and then apologize inwardly to everyone.

    At least I wasn’t the coworker in my office (Paleo — go figure) who heated up a fish dish one day and LITERALLY EVERYONE LEFT THE OFFICE. We opened all the doors and windows of the entire two-story building and I came back from a meeting thinking we’d had an animal die under the crawl space again or something! I like stinky foods, but THAT smelled like DEATH.

    1. i’d never heard of brown sticky rice either, but it was available in the bulk bin at our local organic shop and i snapped it up. regular white sticky rice would work just fine.

      i always peel the hard boiled eggs at home first and i get self conscious sometimes about it.

      that takes some balls to bring fish into work and heat it up. i bet that person felt sooooo self conscious that day. i know how s/he feels, but i also know how the office feels!

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