Of all the rice grains we discussed, have you ever wondered what is the secret of Chinese sticky rice? Let’s discover the ancient mystery and the best modern way to cook this ancient grain.
Excellent Rice to Use
Plain rice is basic yet complicated to make. But, if you love rice, you can shrug off the cooking process. Especially when we are talking about Chinese rice.
Who doesn’t like Chinese food? Perhaps, you have tried a few dumplings, rice cake, dim sum, and many others from Chinese restaurants. Ah, these are all tasty rice dishes! 😛
All these food I mentioned, use sticky rice as one of their ingredients, if not the primary thing. Going back in history, glutinous rice is the best rice grain with culinary uses in East and South Asia. Particularly in China, where ancient Chinese discovered a lot of recipes made from sticky rice.
Glutinous rice stands out among any other rice varieties because of its unique characteristics. It does not contain amylose but has a higher amount of amylopectin. Both are starch components but amylopectin is responsible for the stickiness.
A Sticky Trivia
Did you know that sticky rice was used in constructing ancient Chinese buildings? Yup! You read that right.
Experts have uncovered the secret behind the extra-strong mortar that construction workers in ancient China used about 1,500 years ago.
They mixed sticky rice soup with standard mortar ingredients because they believed that sticky rice is more resistant to water than pure lime.
Now, this is something worth sharing!
The secrets to cooking the perfect Chinese sticky rice are using the right ingredients and the preparation.
If you happen to watch videos on how they cook sticky rice recipes, you will see how intricate the methods are and how they handle each ingredient.
Delicious sticky rice recipes are usually served on special events. You can see various sticky rice dishes served more during special occasions such as the recent Chinese New Year.
Chinese people believe that serving and eating sticky rice during the new year will attract more luck and stick with you. Other dishes include sticky rice flour.
Glutinous rice is pounded to make sticky rice flour which is then made into the famous Chinese New Year cake called, niangao. It is also used as a thickener or flour for baking.
How to Cook Traditional Chinese Sticky Rice
Besides the many dishes to cook with sticky rice, nothing beats the classic, cooking method. Authentic Chinese sticky rice is soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and cooked in a steamer.
Soaking helps the rice release more starch and achieve stickier consistency.
- Prepare a cup of sticky rice and place it in a bowl.
- Wash and rinse until water runs clear
- Soak rice in water. Add two cups and leave it soaking for 30 minutes to overnight.
- Get a lotus leaf and assemble the rice in the middle. Put the leaf in the bamboo steamer and cook.
- Steam the sticky rice for about 20 minutes.
- Serve or add in your favorite Chinese fillings
This method is only for steaming the rice but most Chinese sticky rice fill it with awesome ingredients just like Lo Mai Gai.
Tasty Chinese Sticky Rice or Lo Mai Gai
While your rice is steaming, you can prepare and cook the fillings on the side and assemble them together inside the lotus leaf.
Wrap it well and steam it for another 20 minutes to seal in the flavors.
Lo Mai Gai is a popular sticky rice dish steamed in lotus leaves filled with chicken or pork belly, and other tasty ingredients.
This recipe is famous in the Sichuan province in China.
Perfect Way to Cook Sticky Rice
Soaking overnight is the best way to achieve an authentic sticky rice recipe. However, it might actually take some time cooking glutinous rice the traditional method.
It might not seem doable for busy people who crave for this dish unless they do it on a weekend or end up in Asian restaurants.
Good thing, you can now cook sticky rice in the rice cooker without the complicated processes.
I found a video tutorial on how to make Chinese sticky rice in a rice cooker:
How to Cook:
- Prepare and wash 2 cups of glutinous rice in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a dash of pepper and sesame oil, half a teaspoon of dark soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of Chicken powder, half a teaspoon sugar, and pour in hot water or stock just enough to cover the sticky rice mixture or at least an inch above the rice. Stir all the ingredients well, cover the bowl and let it sit for an hour.
- Halfway through, let’s begin cooking the fillings. Start by sauteeing thinly sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, and a pinch of salt. Stir until onions become transparent.
- Add minced garlic and thinly-sliced pork. Saute until the pork is almost brown. Put at least 2 tablespoons of marinade stock into your fillings. Let it simmer until meats are tender.
- Now pour the rice mixture into the rice cooker inner pot. Make sure the marinade water reaches the 2 cup level on the measuring line.
- Toss in the sauteed ingredients, stir, and turn on rice cooker. Wait until it switches to the keep warm mode.
- Season with some spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve!
There you have it guys, I have revealed the secret of Chinese sticky rice. I am honestly in awe of how much attention and patience are invested in making exceptional dishes.
Preparation and the right ingredients are the keys in ancient recipes. This is where technology immensely helped improve cooking processes. Rice cookers have evolved over time that they don’t only cater to cooking plain rice but also to various recipes whether ancient or modern.
Have you tried cooking Chinese sticky rice? Let me know how you did it by commenting below!