old school chi-neez

8 Dec

When I was a kid, my Chinese grandpa would feed me dried scallops as an afternoon snack. He insisted these stinky salty golden disks that peeled apart like string cheese were actually sections of dried rattlesnake. I went around telling friends at school that I ate rattlesnake, which naturally made me super cool and popular.

In my Thanksgiving post, I mentioned my friend N made a delicious savory Chinese sticky rice flavored with an abundance of dried scallops. Recently, I decided to try my hand at making this Chinese specialty, just to see how tough it would be.

Surprisingly, once ingredients were gathered, it was just a matter of 3 hours of soaking time, plus 1 hour of mostly non-supervised cook time. Okay, so it’s 20 times longer to make than a stir-fry, but that’s what makes it old school Chinese!

chinese sticky rice with dried scallops, sausage and mushrooms
a fancy rice to fancy

* 3 cups short-grain “sweet” rice
* 1/4 cup dried scallops
* 1 cup Chinese dried black mushrooms or dried shiitake mushrooms
* 5 Chinese sausages, sliced 1/4″ thin on the diagonal
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup medium-dry cooking sherry
* 4 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 2 cups reserved scallop and mushroom liquid or reduced-sodium chicken broth
* Thinly sliced green onions for garnish

Rinse and soak rice in cold water at least 3 hours. Drain and let dry thoroughly.

Soak scallops and mushrooms in separate bowls of warm water for 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms and scallops reserving liquid for later. Rinse mushrooms to remove any grit, then discard stems and coarsely chop caps. Shred scallops.

Heat a saute pan over high heat. Add sausage and stir-fry 1 minute, then add vegetable oil to coat the pan. Add mushrooms and scallops and stir-fry 1 minute. Add drained rice and stir to coat (rice should look shiny with oil). Stir in sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper and stir-fry for a couple more minutes on medium head, adding a little of the reserved scallop liquid if rice begins to stick to pan.

Transfer mixture to rice cooker and add the remaining 2 cups of reserved scallop and mushroom liquid (or chicken broth). Cook on normal rice setting. If using a pot, bring rice to a simmer, stir once, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook 25 minutes more, then remove from heat.

Once rice cooker finishes cooking cycle, stir rice from bottom to redistribute ingredients and let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving with green onion garnish.

Serves 8.

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