Here are the three winning recipes for the Off the Menu: Asian America recipe contest!
Sticky Rice Stuffing by Linda Shiue
I thought of this dish as Thanksgiving is approaching, as I have fond memories of childhood Thanksgivings. What made this holiday so special in our house was the ever-changing, motley international crew my family hosted each year. My parents, who came as graduate students from Taiwan in the late ’60s, were scientists at a national research laboratory. Their institution attracted scientists from around the world, who would come to work alongside their American-based (if not American-born) colleagues for any time from weeks, to months or even years. While Thanksgiving at our house was not necessarily traditional, we did embrace its ideal of bringing together people from different backgrounds for friendship and mutual understanding. We also embraced the turkey. It took its rightful place as the centerpiece of the meal. We served the turkey, but did not love it. Chinese cuisine has no place for such a big bird, and ovens are rarely used by home cooks. Still, it was understood that Thanksgiving required a turkey, so there it was. Ours was basted with a soy sauce marinade but otherwise resembled the turkeys “everyone else” had. This is where the similarities ended. Surrounding the turkey on the table would be stir-fried greens and several other Chinese dishes that my parents actually enjoyed eating, unlike the turkey. We’d have two types of stuffing, an American bread-based version, and a Chinese version, made of sticky rice, shitake mushrooms and Chinese sausage. Between the two types of stuffing, I can’t pick a favorite; I like both. As for this recipe, besides the elastic chewiness of the sticky rice (better described as Q by Taiwanese), it has the richness of mushrooms and chestnuts, the fragrance of rice wine, and the slightly sweet succulence of the Chinese sausage. The fried shallot garnish adds flavor and crunch, much like the fried onions on that other Thanksgiving staple, the green bean casserole. You can eat this sticky rice stuffing on its own, but it is truly amazing when it’s been cooked in the turkey. It’s a great example of how a traditional dish can be embraced and get reworked in a tasty way in its new home.
Prep Time: 6 hours to pre-soak rice, 30 minutes active prep
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
3 cups sticky rice (also known as glutinous or sweet rice)
1 1/2 cups (about 8) dried Chinese black or shitake mushrooms
3 Chinese sausages, diced
1 cup roasted chestnuts (in Asian markets, you can buy roasted and peeled chestnuts in a foil bag)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/3 cup Chinese rice wine (may substitute dry sherry)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese vegetarian stir fry sauce or oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
garnishes: chopped scallions and Chinese fried shallots (available in Asian markets)
1. Soak rice in cold water, about an inch more than enough to cover. Allow to soak for at least six hours or overnight. 2. While rice is soaking, soak mushrooms in a separate bowl in very warm water for at least 30 minutes. When softened, remove stems and coarsely chop. 4. Drain soaked rice in a sieve and rinse with cold water. 5. Heat oil in a large, heavy pan or stock pot and stir fry garlic and ginger for several minutes. 6. Add diced sausage and cook for a few minutes. 7. Add drained and rinsed rice, stir and fry for a few minutes. 8. Add mushrooms. 9. Add wine, broth, and all seasonings and bring to a boil. Adjust seasonings to taste (may need more soy sauce or some salt). Make sure to stir periodically because sticky rice is, well, sticky. 10. Add chopped chestnuts and gently stir into the rice mixture. 11. Lower heat to a simmer, cover pot and allow to steam, undisturbed for 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to peek under the lid. 12. At this point, rice should be fully cooked and can be used to stuff the turkey. If it seems too dry stir in more broth until moistened. 13. If preparing to eat without stuffing in turkey, stir contents and then replace lid. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. 14. Garnish with scallions and fried shallots, if desired. Excellent with turkey gravy.
Toisanese Turkey Jook by Valerie So
My family makes this after every Thanksgiving. It’s one of the best reasons to roast a turkey–it goes down easy and it’s great on a cold late November day. You can also easily scale it up if you have a whole turkey carcass or more roasted bones as long as you only add a scant amount of rice and cook it until the grains fully explode and almost dissolve. You can also customize it according to what condiments you like.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Servings: 6-8 bowlfuls
Ingredients: Two or three leftover cooked turkey thighbones, drumsticks and/or wings from roast turkey —save them after you trim the meat off of them
Big pot of water 1 big handful raw long grain rice—no more than 1 cup max (white is traditional but brown also works) Salt & pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
Chopped green onions
Roasted salted peanuts, preferably with skin on
Put turkey bones, rice, and minced ginger in a pot big enough to hold the bones comfortably. Add water to submerge completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a strong simmer. Cook for 3-4 hours until meat falls off the bones and rice is exploded and almost completely dissolved. Remove bones and break up the meat into smaller chunks or shreds according to your preference. Add meat back to the pot. Beat egg with sesame oil until blended. Turn off the heat on the jook and stir to make a well in the liquid. As you continue stirring gently add the egg in a thin stream. Stop stirring and let egg set up in the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped green onions and peanuts on top. Other garnish possibilities include slices of thousand-year-old egg, crispy fried shallots or garlic, tiny dried shrimp, chopped cilantro, chili flakes, sautéed black mushrooms, or pickled greens. If you are really the bomb you’ll make you tiao (fried crullers) and dip slices of them in the jook.
Ube Bread Pudding by Lynn Chen
I get my Ube Bread from Leelin, a Filipino Bakery. I love Ube. It’s a purple yam and looks colorful. Instead of eating it straight up, I love making it into a warm, familiar classic “American” dessert.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
6-7 slices Ube Bread, cut into pieces.
2 cups Milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 pats of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan and fill with the bread. Make the custard by whisking together the eggs, milk, and sugar. Pour custard on top of bread. Cut butter into small pieces and dot on the top. Bake for one hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.