An European Take on a Chinese Classic + Winter Comfort - Claypot Rice
March 27, 2013
A third recipe of the TwinnyDip is featured in today's Guardian - Cook section. The theme of this week's Readers' recipe swap is BURNT, and we are going to share with you two rice-based recipes today - (1) an European take in a traditional Asian dessert - the Eight-Treasure Rice Cake, (2) Minced beef claypot rice, a classic street food in Hong Kong to keep you warm in this everlasting winter season!
1. Burnt-Sugar Eight-Treasure Rice Cake - a treat from Valerie (who's embracing the sweet Spring / Summer heat in Hong Kong)
While the BURNT element in recipe is not obvious, it is far too familiar to all of us who has a palette for sweetness - and yes you've guessed it right! It's BURNT-SUGAR or caramel.
Eight-Treasure Rice Cake is a traditional Chinese new year pudding. It is called Eight-Treasure Rice CakeA because it is usually made with eight different kinds of toppings, which can be delightful for some, but could present an issue, that is, the ready-made cakes available at restaurants often have ingredients that we disliked. I have therefore decided to re-create this dish, by using my own choice of toppings, and more importantly adding a layer of Burnt-Sugar Syrup on top to make it my own tradition. And you can make it yours too! Feel free to add / subtract any toppings.Here is how I like mine, hope you will enjoy it!
200g Glutinous rice
125g Ground almond / hazelnut (you can also replace it with 100g of glutinous rice)
150g Chestnut puree
2 Tbsps Pine nuts
2 - 3 Tbsps Dried cranberries
2 Tbsps Pistachios
1 tsp Lemon zest
1 Tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsps Sesame seeds
1 Tbsp Butter
4 - 6 Tbsp Sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp Hot water (optional to add to burnt sugar syrup)
Butter for frying
1. Rinse the glutinous rice and soak in the water for 3 - 4 hours. At the last 30 minutes, toast pine nuts and pistachios, and toast ground almond hazelnut separately.
2. Drain glutinous rice and put it in a shallow bowl and steam at high heat for 30 minutes. Remove and fold in ground almond / hazelnut, butter, brown sugar, pine nut, pistachios, lemon zest and dried cranberries whilst hot.
3. Divide the glutinous rice mixture into two portions. Place one portion over a lightly-oiled shallow pot and put chestnut puree on top. Place the remaining glutinous rice on top. Press to form cake shape. Set aside.
4. Melt Sugar in a hot pan until it is burnt into an amber-coloured liquid, add hot water if you would like to dilute the sweetness.
5. There are two options to the last step. You could either pour the burnt-sugar syrup over the rice cake, add butter to the pan, and pan-fried the glutinous rice cake until both sides turned golden. Alternatively, you could pan-fried the glutinous rice cake, and use the burnt-sugar syrup as a dipping sauce. Chop the cake into pieces to serve.
2. Minced beef claypot rice with egg- a classic street food of Hong Kong from Natalie (who is needing some comfort food for this ever-lasting winter season in London...)
Claypot rice is a classic winter comfort food in Hong Kong that you eat at street stalls under a bridge, e.g. in Causeway Bay. When we were small, Valerie, Arnold (brother) and I were always fighting over the burnt rice at the bottom (and sides) of the pot - where all the flavours accumulate. The aroma of the claypot brings me straight back to the dingy street markets. Here I have recreated my favourite - minced beef claypot rice with an egg cracked on top but you can equally use other toppings. I will be posting one additional topping recipe in our next post!
You will need a claypot. If you don't have one, you can use a medium size saucepan. (unfortunately the washing up after will be a bit of a pain – I find boiling water in the pots before giving it a good scrub helps! As for the size of the claypot, it's a bit difficult to say because they all differ in diameter / depth. A good indication is that it has more or less the same volume as a medium saucepan of about 18cm diameter and 13 - 15cm in depth.
A list of claypot stockists in the UK is also included in here.
225g lean minced beef
For the Marinade
1 Tbsp Shao Shing cooking wine (available in Chinese / Oriental supermarket, or sherry)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 - 2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp of ginger, minced
A pinch of salt, to taste
For the rice
1.5 cup rice (washed and drained)
1.5 cup water
For the final toppings
2 spring onions, finely sliced into rings
For the sweet soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1. Combine the minced beef with the marinade ingredients. Mix well. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Grease the claypot with oil. This will help avoid sticking and create the burnt rice at the bottom. Heat the clay pot over medium heat. Add the rice and the water and cover. Bring it to boil and cook at low heat for approximately 6-7 minutes.
3. Add the marinated beef on top. Do not cover and cook at low heat for an additional 12 - 15 minutes.
4. In the meantime, prepare the sweet soy sauce. Put all the sweet soy sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. When the sugar dissolves completely, this is ready.
5. Cover the pot and cook for a further 5 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and let it cook (covered) for a further 5 minutes or until the beef is cooked.
7. Scatter sliced spring onion on top of the beef. Crack an egg over the top and cover for a further 2 - 3 minutes or until the egg white just turns white and the yolk is still runny.
8. Give it a good stir to mix in the egg.
9. Serve with the sweet soy sauce. NOTE: if you prefer the egg to be more cooked, you can crack the egg in after turning off the heat in step 6.