Sticky Rice Arancini

Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food

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

materials:

1 1/2 cup glutinous sticky rice
2 1/4 cup water
3 Chinese sausages
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 - 3 eggs
1 - 1 1/2cup panko breadcrumbs
canola oil for frying

  1. 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.

  2. Dice up shiitake mushrooms into 1/2” cubes, including stems, and set aside. Slice the Chinese sausage into 1/4” cubes and set aside.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Heat up at least 4” of canola oil in a heavy bottom pot until 370 degrees.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Enjoy warm with your choice of sauce! Like Sriracha or a sweet soy glaze!

Ladies Only Dinner Party - Mediterranean Menu

Reuben has been away this past week, hanging out with Michelle Obama in Orlando. Sort of. Not really. But kinda. He's attending the AIA National Convention in Orlando, doing architect-y things and got to attend Michelle Obama's first public talk since the inauguration! Am I jealous? YES. He said that Michelle was incredible and so human, which I can totally believe. I can't wait to watch the talk once it's on YouTube! I actually saw her once when my family and I got to go to the Jay Leno show... LOL yes that happened.

As much as I miss Reuben when he is away, it gives me free range of the apartment. I can watch whatever I want and not compete with sports and I can invite all the ladies I want over to dinner. I mentioned in my previous post that I recently accepted a new job. I wanted the opportunity to share a nice meal with the ladies that make my work life enjoyable each day. These are the only decent photos I got of the dinner, IPhone only. But you know what? Sometimes you don't have time to take nice photos of your dinner with your big camera. You gotta sit down, drink your wine, and enjoy your company. I had forgotten how much I love a good dinner party. There are few things that make me happier than cooking food for people I care about. I also remembered how powerful girlfriends can be and how much we can talk! I miss all my girlfriends around the world! Let me cook you food!

I had a few parameters to build my menu on. It had to be gluten free and vegetarian friendly, which is no biggie. Whenever I have dinner parties with guests that have dietary restrictions, an easy way to please everyone is to provide options and allow people to build their own plates. Eating family style is always my preference. I wanted to make the main dish something that everyone could eat - Chickpea and Quinoa Stuffed Eggplants. It is filling, smokey, earthy, and savory. A dish that could stand on it's own! The flavors of the eggplant inspired the rest of the menu and we ended up with a mediterranean feast. I treated the proteins as side dishes, for the ladies to pick and add to their plates as they wished. And had a super bright and refreshing cucumber and tomato salad over hummus. Even though the pitas were not gluten free, everything on the table could have been eaten all together in a snug pita pocket if you wanted to do that. I stuffed everything into a pita for a few bites and I was all 😊 . The dinner ended with one of my new favorite desserts, a lemon almond cake with a dollop of greek yogurt, honey, and pistachios. LORD. It was so good. And gluten free!! I'm a huge fan of low maintenance desserts. I just had to bake the cake and then throw a bunch of tasty stuff on it. Easy peasy. 

In between the many bites of food, we gossiped about work, sipped wine, discussed our personal struggles, reminisced about Mary-Kate and Ashley movies, and simply laughed a ton. It was so wonderful, my cheeks still sort of hurt from laughing and smiling so much. So if you're itching to host a dinner party soon, here is an easy and super flavorful menu that will leave everyone with happy bellies. I've listed the whole menu below, some of my recipe sources with notes, and a couple quick and dirty recipes. I prepared some of it on a Tuesday night to make my Wednesday night dinner party much less stressful. You can do it! 


Mediterranean Dinner Party Menu

serves 6

Roasted and Salted Pistachios

Pita Bread

Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Salad over Hummus

Seared Halloumi

Chicken Shawarma-ish

Chickpea and Quinoa Stuffed Eggplants

Lemon Almond Cake with Yogurt, Honey, and Pistachios


Cucumber + Heirloom Tomato Salad Over Hummus

Combine 4 cups of chopped cucumbers, 3 cups of chopped mini heirloom tomatoes, and about half a small red onion sliced super thin in a large bowl. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil and add the juice of two lemons. Season with 2 tsp salt, cracked black pepper, and 1 tsp of sumac, adjust seasoning according to taste. Mix up salad and serve over a bed of hummus, about 1.5 cups of hummus will do the trick.

Seared Halloumi

Slice a block of halloumi into 1/4" thick slices. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Sear slices of halloumi on each side until golden brown, about 1 minute each side. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley.

Chicken Shawarma-ish

Cut 3 chicken breasts in half, creating long thick strips of chicken. In a sealable container, add chicken and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp, cinnamon, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Mix until chicken is evenly coated. You can either cook this right away or let it marinate overnight. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet (cast iron preferably) over medium high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sear on one side for 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear for another 3-4 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Chickpea and Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant

Source Recipe : http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/entree/chickpea-stuffed-eggplant-with-couscous-and-tahini-sauce/

My adjustments : make 3 eggplants, omit the tomatoes, add 1/2 cup of toasted pinenuts, and swap out the couscous with 1 cup of quinoa. Season your filling with cumin, smoked paprika, and salt! 

I also made a greek yogurt sauce instead : 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt, 2 tbsp water, juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Adjust to taste.

Lemon Almond Cake with Yogurt, Honey, and Pistachios

Source Recipe : http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/almond-cake-366229

I baked the cake in a 9" x 13" pan. Make sure to line it with parchment paper, this cake sticks. Once its cooled, I used a 3" ring mold/biscuit cutter to cut out individual mini cakes. Serve by adding a dollop of plain greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkling of pistachios.