Whilst the duck is slow-roasting in the oven, now is the time to concentrate on the glutinous rice.
Glutinous rice, or what as children we called sticky rice, is a short-grained rice.
KL Sister asked me one day about the difference between long, medium and short-grained rice, and I confess I was stumped for an answer. I thought the difference was obvious. Like some people are short and plump and some people are long and thin.
There is more to it. The shorter the rice grain, the stickier it is when cooked. Hence Basmati, a long-grained rice, yields light and fluffy cooked rice.
At home here in London we are spoilt for choice when it comes to rice. I don’t know if it a source or pride or embarrassment that I have around 10 types of rice in my larder. This will be the subject of a future post, as we explore different rice varieties, its various properties and the best way to treat it when cooking.
The way my mother would cook this rice would be to use wind-dried sausages, dried shrimps and dried shiitake mushrooms. I use fresh mushrooms and cooked chestnuts instead.
For the Glutinous Rice:
400 g glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons soya sauce
150 g fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced into quarters
180 g peeled and cooked chestnuts
300 ml water
3 stalks of spring onion, washed and sliced into thin rounds
How to Make:
Heat the oil in a frying pan. When it is fragrant, add the garlic and strained glutinous rice. Stir around a few times with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add the oyster and soya sauces, mushrooms and chestnuts.Stir around for one minute, until the rice has taken on the colour of the sauces.
Add 300 ml water and stir the rice a little. Place a lid on to the pan and bring the flame right down to minimum, and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
After this time, check if the rice is done by biting into a few grains. If there is a crunch then the rice needs to continue cooking. Add another 100 ml of water and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Throw in the spring onions and give the rice one final stir before serving with the duck.
If you want to push the boat out and use the rice to stuff a whole duck, then I suggest using a mixture of ingredients that will add some colour to the rice: shiitake mushrooms, chestnuts, quail eggs, goji berries, spring onions, fresh coriander and strips of orange zest.
If you really want to push the boat out, then you could enclose the partially fried rice (cook for around 15 minutes first in the pan) into a lotus leaf and steam it for around 20 minutes. I am trying to remember if I had ever attempted it, and if I have, it would have been 20 or more years ago. So I guess it is time I head to Chinatown to pick up some lotus leaves and have some fun.