Nuo Mi Fan, or Chinese Sticky Rice, is a Chinese household staple. This is another recipe from Mom, who calls it Luo Mi Fan, but the pronunciation must differ by region because I can't find an "official" one in my searches. I like mine extra sticky. I recently discovered that lots of Chinese-Americans will use Nuo Mi Fan in place of a bread stuffing in their turkeys for Thanksgiving. Mom always used Stovetop, and I've made my own bread stuffing from scratch for years.
Grandpa in the 1940s; Grandma, Dad, and my aunt
However, she said Grandpa, whom I called Ah-gong, used it to stuff his turkeys as well. Grandpa was a native of Hainan, China, who immigrated to Singapore. There he worked as a cook on ships, though we inherited no recipes from him. He was on a ship during a Japanese invasion of Singapore (in the 1940s, I believe), and borders were closed and he ended up in New York City, parted from his family. Only decades later did he locate my grandmother and Dad, and they rejoined him in New York. But apparently during that time Grandpa engaged in practices like stuffing turkeys with sticky rice and developing a taste for Irish corned beef, which the Hainanese of Brooklyn called "salty beef."
Regular long-grain rice won't work in this recipe. You have to get glutinous rice, also known as sweet rice. The grains are shorter and rounder and the result stickier, kind of like risotto.
Nuo Mi Fan is traditionally plated as a dome
And on a side note, it's mooncake time! The Mid-Autumn Festival starts on Sept. 12 this year, so I bought my mooncakes, or yuebing. I've noticed some beautiful snowskin mooncakes in various colors on the blogosphere lately. View a bunch here.
Nuo Mi Fan, or Chinese Sticky Rice
2 cups short-grain glutinous rice
2 links lap cheong
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs dried shrimp
2 tbs ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce (my addition)
1 scallion, sliced for garnish
Soak the rice in a bowl covered by several inches of water for about eight hours. Drain.
When you're ready to make the rice, put on some water to boil in a tea kettle or pot; turn the heat down to low to keep it hot.
Soak the dried shrimp in a small bowl of hot water to rehydrate and soften them for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and mince into smaller pieces. You can remove the legs if you wish.
Place the sausages in a wok or large skillet, add a few tablespoons of water, and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Set the sausage aside to cool, then slice into bite-sized pieces. Pour off the water.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to your wok or skillet. Over medium heat, saute the shallots and garlic until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the shallots and garlic from the wok and set aside on a plate.
Add another tablespoon of oil and the dried shrimp. Saute until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. The oil will foam up around the shrimp a little. Set aside on a plate with the shallots and garlic.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok and then add the rice. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to avoid sticking, about 3 minutes. Add a half-cup of the hot water to the rice and keep stirring. After all the water has cooked off and the rice has gotten really sticky, about another 3 minutes, add another half-cup of the hot water. Continue stirring for another 3 minutes.
Squeeze the juice of the grated ginger into the wok and discard the ginger. Add the final half-cup of hot water, the salt, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, along with the dried shrimp, shallots, garlic, and lap cheong. Stir and then cover the wok, letting it steam for 7 minutes, scraping the bottom once. At this point the rice is done, but if you like it stickier, add another half-cup of water and cook another 7 minutes. Garnish with the chopped scallions.