Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sizzling Rice with Shrimp in Chili-Garlic and Tomato Sauce - Outdoor Wednesday
When you look outside and see a scene like this, it's time to head into the kitchen to make this specialty that hails from Shanghai. It comes with a story of its own. I can't vouch for its veracity, but I do love its moral. As told to me, the cook of a wealthy merchant was dragged from bed one night to prepare a meal for his drunken master. The cook, enraged by the indignity, stirred fiercely hot chili sauce into leftovers, and then to make his revenge complete, scraped the rice crust from the bottom of an unwashed rice pot into hot oil. The sizzle made when the sauce hit the rice and its sweet-spicy taste so delighted the merchant, that he declared the dish a masterpiece and richly rewarded the cook.
This is a bit of a bother to make. If you live outside a major city chances are you'll have to make your own rice cakes. Its not hard to do, but it does require time. A true rice cake is the crust that forms at the bottom of a rice pot or cooker. It is scraped from the bottom and then refrigerated until it can be used for other purposes. When deep fried, the cakes are called sizzling rice because they sizzle on contact with other hot liquids. Until a few months ago, I was able to buy the cakes at my Asian markets. I no longer have that option, so I had to learn how to make them. Here's the first of today's recipes. You will need the rice cakes to proceed with the Shrimp in Chili-Garlic and Tomato Sauce.
1-3/4 cups medium grain white or sushi rice
2-1/2 cups water
1) Place rice and water into a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom. Cover pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Cook, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Do not remove cover. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x 13-inch baking pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3) Spread rice over bottom of prepared pan. Pat down as best you can. Place pan in the oven and leave to dry overnight. Remove from oven. Let cool. Break into to 2 to 4-inch pieces. Your rice squares will bare no resemblance to their commercial counterparts. Not to worry! Set aside if using immediately or store in an airtight container. Yield: about 12 pieces.
Sizzling Rice with Shrimp in Chili-Garlic and Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil + oil for deep frying
2 teaspoons dark toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 (8-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed in cold water
1/4 cup red bell pepper, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1-1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely julienned fresh ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup frozen peas and diced carrots, thawed
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic-chili sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup chicken or fish stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: 2 tablespoons sliced green onion tops
1) Preheat a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F.
2) Heat a wok or high-sided frying pan over high heat. Add vegetable and sesame oil. When it shimmers, add onion, water chestnuts, bell pepper, ginger, pepper flakes and garlic. Stir-fry until crisp tender, about 1-1/2 minutes. Remove vegetables from wok.
3) Return wok to high heat. When oil shimmers, add shrimp and stir-fry just until firm and shrimp are beginning to turn pink. Add peas and carrots and stir-fry 1 minute longer. Add reserved vegetables, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic-chili sauce and sugar and stir just until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix cornstarch with stock. Pour into pan and cook, stirring slowly, until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat but keep warm.
4) Add rice cakes to hot oil and fry until golden and crisp. Rice cakes will poof a bit as they cook. Use a slotted spoon to lift and drain them from the oil. Quickly place cakes in one large or individual serving bowls. At the table, pour shrimp mixture over hot rice and listen to it sizzle. Top immediately with green onion tops and serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
This is being linked to:
Outdoor Wednesday - A Southern Daydreamer