Sticky Rice Arancini
I’m finally back in San Francisco! Well, hopefully that’s the case because Kristina of yesterday wrote this while waiting 4 hours for her flight at the Vancouver Airport. I’m somewhat disappointed with the food options at my terminal… best options are Burger King and Tim Hortons. Oh well! We had plenty of delicious food while in Vancouver, that I can’t really complain! My goal this weekend was to take my parents to as many Asian restaurants as possible within 4 days. I think we did pretty well! 75% of the time we ate at Chinese restaurants and about 50% of the time we were in the city of Richmond lol. It was so great because my Dad did most of the ordering since so many of the restaurants were mainly Cantonese speaking. We found great dim sum, fluffy buns, some pretty decent soup dumplings, and a new favorite noodle dish! Have you had mazesoba before? It’s so good! My Mom and I are going to try recreating it on our own and then compare notes later! That’s long distance recipe development right there. I definitely want to come back, bring Reuben, and maaaaaaaaybe try some non-asian food : )
I’ll be jumping back into the Eat Cho Food Test Kitchen this week and I have so many things to cook! I have either a dumpling making class to teach or a private class/dinner to prepare for over the next month! When I jumped into food blogging (or whatever it is that I’m doing) full time, I didn’t really think these dumpling classes would be such a vital part of my business. I thought I would teach maybe 1 class a month, but it turns out people are really into dumps! I’m particularly excited for the private classes/dinners because it’s like I’m getting paid to have a dinner party with friends! That sounds like an amazing job to me!
Ideally, I’d like to teach more than dumpling making. Or maybe do some pop-up dinners. I really really really want to do a modern dim sum pop up brunch one day. I just need to practice a few of my favorite dim sum recipes some more first. There is just so much more to dim sum than har gow, siu mai, and char siu bao. I mean, those 3 dishes are the absolute trifecta of dim sum. But what about crispy turnip cakes? Chinese donuts wrapped in rice noodles? Braised beef tendon? Steamed sticky rice in a lotus leaf? Chicken feet?! If you know, you know! And if you’re a seasoned dim sum-er then you also know that the list of offerings at dim sum are pretty endless. You’ll probably see a lot more dim sum recipes on there in the near future!
I’ll kick off the modern dim sum exploration with these Sticky Rice Arancini! These crispy balls of goodness are inspired by one my favorite dim sum dishes, Lo Mai Fon. It’s similar to the version wrapped in a lotus leaf, which is called Lo Mai Gai. Lo Mai Fon is sticky rice mixed with various tasty bits like dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, green onions, and shiitake mushrooms. Whenever we order it, the rice is filled in a clear glass bowl and inverted onto a plate so you get a perfect half dome. I love sticky rice so much because it has a great chewy texture (my favorite texture if you haven’t noticed) and the flavor of plain sticky rice is just a hint sweet, which pairs so well with all the savory and aromatic additions! I’ve made Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant for the blog before, which I think deserves a lot more attention because it is AMAZING.
This iteration of Lo Mai Fon gets a slight Italian influence. which reminds me that I need to share our Italy trip soon! Arancini are Italian fried risotto balls. They get their name because they resemble oranges! Aran=orange in Italian. Instead of risotto (which is made with arborio rice), I formed balls of sticky rice (mixed with chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, and green onions) , dripped them in some egg and then breaded them in panko bread crumbs. Kikkoman is pretty much the only brand of panko bread crumbs I use and I just found out they have a whole wheat ad gluten free version too! They take a quick bath in the fryer until they are beautifully golden brown. The result is an insanely addictive appetizer or party snack that is super crispy on the outside but still soft and chewy in the middle! Gosh, it’s so good. I do need to give credit to Reuben for this recipe idea though. He randomly had the idea a few weeks ago, maybe months ago, and I’ve just been waiting until I had the courage to deep fry again. I honestly don’t fry food that often. It’s messy and makes your whole house smell like oil for a day. So when I tell you to fry something you know it’s WORTH IT. Fry some up the next time you’re having friends over or just want to treat yourself to something crispy!
Sticky Rice Arancini
makes 15-18 arancini
Wash rice 2-3 times until the water runs somewhat clear. Drain rinsing water. Cook rice in a rice cooker with 2 1/4 cups of water until done. Fluffy up the rice with a spoon and allow to cool slightly.
Dice up shiitake mushrooms into 1/2” cubes, including stems, and set aside. Slice the Chinese sausage into 1/4” cubes and set aside.
Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once hot add in the Chinese sausages and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the fat starts to render. Add in the shiitake mushrooms. Season with a bit of salt and a light dash of white pepper. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place Chinese sausage and mushroom mixture in a large bowl.
Add the cooked sticky rice to the bowl. Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp oyster sauce. Give it a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Set aside.
Heat up at least 4” of canola oil in a heavy bottom pot until 370 degrees.
Wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick. Take about 2 tbsp of filling and roll tightly into a ball. Place formed ball on a baking tray. Repeated until all the rice balls have been formed.
Add panko breadcrumbs to a dish or shallow bowl. Whip eggs in a bowl and set aside. Take 1 ball and dip it into the egg mixture, shake off any excess egg, and roll in the panko breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Gently drop the rice ball in the fryer and fry until the panko is golden brown, takes just a few minutes. Repeat with remaining balls.
Enjoy warm with your choice of sauce! Like Sriracha or a sweet soy glaze!