For many of us, stuffing is the icing on the cake of a holiday meal (if I may mix food metaphors). Growing up in a Chinese –American family, our stuffing wasn’t the bready, sausage-y kind, it was the Chinese sticky rice kind. You might recognize sticky rice from dim sum – it usually comes in a steamer wrapped in lotus leaves. For the holidays, it is perfect as a stuffing for a turkey or goose, or just as a delicious side dish. I hope you like it – I certainly do. In fact, for the entire year leading up to the holidays, I look forward to my annual sticky rice fix, and when the time comes, I somehow can’t seem to stop myself from “tasting” enough of it to fill up before the holiday meal is even served!
Very conveniently, my mom’s recipe for sticky rice is naturally gluten and dairy-free, so I decided to sit down with her and jot down the recipe to share with all of you. As with most family recipes, my mom doesn’t have this written down and doesn’t use a measuring cup when she makes this dish, so there was a lot of approximating backed up by my own research to produce the quantities below.
You can find sticky rice (also called glutinous rice) at most Chinese and Japanese markets. Be sure to plan ahead, as some steps require advance preparation, especially if you don’t have a rice cooker or access to fresh shitake mushrooms.
Chinese Sticky Rice Stuffing Recipe (makes 8-10 side-dish servings)
3 cups of sticky rice
1 cup (about 2 bunches) of scallions
5 tbsp shallots (about 5 shallots)
4 cups fresh shitaki mushrooms (see instructions below if using dry mushrooms)
1 cup dried shrimp
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Preparing the rice:
- If you have a rice cooker, cook the rice following the instructions and settings for sweet rice.
- If you do not have a rice cooker, in a large bowl, cover rice with cold water by 1 inch and soak for 2 hours. Drain in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Put the rice in a pot and add 4 ½ cups of water. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Then turn heat to low and simmer for about another 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Preparing the ingredients:
- Soak the dried shrimp for 2 hours until soft, then drain and chop
- If using dried shitake mushrooms, soak in warm water for 30 minutes until soft, then drain, squeezing out the excess liquid. Rinse the mushrooms and remove stems
- Chop the scallions, shallots and shitaki mushrooms
Heat a wok on high heat, then add in vegetable oil and swirl around wok. Add shallots and green onions and stir-fry until brown (about 30 seconds). Add dried shrimp and mushrooms and stir-fry about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce, then remove from heat.
Take out half of the stir-fried ingredients and put aside. Mix half of the cooked sticky rice with the half of the ingredients still in the wok. Mix well on medium heat. This may require some strength, as the sticky rice is very sticky – this is where my mom usually calls in my dad to do the heavy lifting. Taste and add salt & pepper or soy sauce to taste. Transfer to your serving dish or (if you have one) back into the rice cooker to keep warm. Mix the other half of the rice and ingredients as above and add to your serving dish or rice cooker.
If you’d like to use the sticky rice as a stuffing for your turkey or goose (I highly recommend this although it may affect the cooking time of your bird), wrap 1-2 cups of the finished sticky rice in a cheese cloth and stuff it inside the bird before it goes into the oven. After the bird is finished cooking and you take it out, be sure to add that sticky rice stuffing back in with the rest of the sticky rice and stir-fry again on medium heat for about 5 minutes. This will ensure that any delicious juices and bits from the bird that got into your stuffing will be cooked thoroughly and spread evenly amongst all of your rice. Enjoy!
For other Thanksgiving recipes and tips, click here!