Monday, August 30, 2010
This is actually a healthier (and tastier) version of what I created about four years ago. From my observation, Vietnamese clay pot rice is typically made with marinated and pre-cooked chicken, mushrooms, green onions, Chinese sausages and sometimes fish or chicken livers. In addition to those ingredients, usually ginger, garlic, sesame oil, Chinese soy sauce, chicken stock, rice wine and oyster sauce are used to season the dish.
I took a traditional recipe and substituted the rice with short grain brown rice and added lemongrass to make the dish more aromatic by balancing the Chinese sausage and garlic flavors. The result? Wonderful! But no recipe can be so perfect after only a couple of trials and adjustments. It took me several times to finally fine-tune the amount of each ingredient, but each time, it’s gotten better.
(When using fresh lemongrass, make sure to use just the soft inner layers, which are so soft that you don’t have to go through with your knife more than once to cut.)
As you can imagine from the ingredients I listed above, after the rice is cooked, it’s pretty much all homogenized into a brown color. So this time, I added fresh daikon sprouts, which gave some crunchiness and a little bit of spiciness to the rice. If you can’t find fresh daikon sprouts, you can substitute that with cilantro to add some bright green and fresh herb flavor.
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
1, 1/2 c short-grain brown rice
2 Chinese sausages, sliced
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1, 1/2 scallions, chopped thinly, crosswise
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, grated (about 2 cloves)
2 fresh lemongrass, cut into 2” long, skinny strips (use only the soft inner layers)
1 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c water (if you like firmer, drier rice or using white rice, use only 1 c)
1 Tbsp Japanese soy sauce
For Garnish: fresh spicy daikon sprouts or cilantro
Rinse rice with water a few times. Pour rinsed rice into a rice cooker. Add sliced Chinese sausages, shiitake mushrooms, chopped scallions, grated ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Pour chicken broth, water and soy sauce, and then gently mix everything.
Cook the rice according to the rice cooker instruction. (I would recommend waiting for at least 30 minutes after the rice being cooked to open the lid. This will allow rice to be steamed.) Serve rice warm with fresh spicy sprouts or cilantro.