Now THIS is exciting. I’m super pumped about Danielle Chang’s new release – THE LUCKY RICE COOKBOOK.
The book is a compilation of stories, techniques, and contemporary Asian recipes from a wide range of cultures and traditions. As I flipped through the book cover to cover, it was apparent that Danielle is definitely someone I could have teach me a few tricks about the cuisine of the far east. Her recipes are both exotic and simple enough to follow, even though some of the ingredients may take you on a side trip to an Asian market.
One of my favourite ones here in Toronto is the T & T supermarket. I get sidetracked in that store and end up buying things which have no English translation written on the packaging. Example: Taro Pudding. Have you ever seen the colour of that stuff? It’s pale mauve. It’s so stunning, and for foodstyling it definitely gets two thumbs up, despite the fact that it smells similar to a foot.
Let’s get down to business here. Sticky business.
There is a method for making the perfect steamed rice and I learned how by following Danielle’s recipe below. It doesn’t take a genius to make rice BUT there is a science and a few tips:
- A heavy pot with a tight fitting lid – you need this – if the lid doesn’t fit, just forget it.
- Don’t stir the rice – I know you want to – DON’T
- DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT lift up the lid and be tempted to fool around with the rice while it’s cooking – Hang a DO NOT DISTURB SIGN near the pot …. Leave it ALONE.
- DO NOT RINSE your rice before cooking it. I know you may have read that it’s a good thing to get rid of the starch BUT it also removes the vitamins and nutrients – why would you want to remove that? WHY?
So with every fine dish, there is a foundation. This steamed rice is just that – the basis of the Indonesian Fried Rice that Danielle does so beautifully in her book. Once you have your steamed rice, it’s imperative that you leave it in your fridge overnight to ensure that it is at least a day old and cold. I also have to credit Steve for making the most perfect fried eggs I have even seen in my life. I mean….
LOOK AT THOSE YOLKS FOLKS.
And what about all this RICE? I have enough here to feed a small army, so if you happen to live near me, I’m throwing a RICE PARTY tonight.
Just bring chopsticks because I lost one of these slippery suckers down my sink while I was washing them. WHOOPSIE.
- 4 ounces (1¾ cups) uncooked
- short-grain rice
- Place the rice in a heavy pot and add water to cover by about an inch.
- Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam the rice, without stirring, at a steady boil, until most of the water has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.
- Keeping the cover on, reduce the heat to low and let the rice sit undisturbed for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.
- NOTES: Rinsing rice before cooking removes surface starch, which prevents stickiness, but doing so will wash away vitamins and nutrients. With short-grain rice, where a bit of toothy starchiness is a good thing, there is no need to pre-rinse.
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces
- 4 shallots, halved
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, bruised, and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (available at most Chinese supermarkets)
- 4 fresh Thai red chiles, seeds removed
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 5 cups day- old cooked long-grain rice
- ¼ cup Indonesian sweet soy sauce - (a bit tricky to find so I used low sodium regular soy sauce and omitted the extra tablespoon below)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 fried eggs
- 3 scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced
- Line a bowl with paper towels and set it aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until it is nearly smoking.
- Carefully add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning them occasionally,until they are well fried and dark brown on all sides.
- Transfer the chicken to the paper towel–lined bowl and let it cool.
- When it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok.
- In a food processor, process the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, shrimp paste and Thai chiles to form a smooth paste. (If the mixture is too dry to process, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, being careful not to over-wet it.)
- Heat the reserved oil in the wok over medium heat.
- Add the shallot paste and fry it for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and darkened in color.
- Push the fried paste to one side of the pan, pour in the beaten eggs, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to firm up. Break up the cooked egg and mix it with the fried paste.
- Add the rice and the shredded chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes,mixing them with the egg.
- Stir in the soy sauce, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, until the ingredients are combined. Divide the rice among 4 bowls and top each serving with a fried egg, scallions, and any other garnish you wish.
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