Thursday, 19 July 2012

Black Sticky Rice by Microwave

In my food culture, rice is the most important component for all kinds of appetites. Needless to say, there are also plenty of rice variations on the market. Hence, when it comes to the table, there is tremendous selection of dishes to go with rice. Also, talking about the rice family, it will be a big mistake if I don’t mention about sticky and glutinous rice. They contribute to enrich our breakfast with many ways of cooking and garnishing.

Mentioning about sticky rice, my memories are flooding back about difficult days on the family farm when we all rushed out of the house in very early mornings with empty tummies and nothing else, except tiny packages of sticky rice. Sticky rice also followed me most of morning during my years at high school.  Later on when I started working, sticky rice was always the best solution for hurry mornings to the office. To sum up, I can say sticky rice is the most simple, compact and comfortable food to start a day, especially tough and busy days.

Do I sound like I love sticky rice? Honestly, I didn’t love sticky rice as much as my memory about it. The reason was simple - it was pretty dry and tedious. It is a perfect saver for a quick day kickoff, but not a choice for everyday. I don’t remember exactly the last time I had sticky rice. I would say more than 2 years ago. Back home, whenever feeling like eating sticky rice, I always bought from small vendors on the way to school or work. I had never thought about cooking sticky rice myself. On my mind, it’s too cumbersome to deal with sticky rice in the kitchen. Moreover, when things were always available and too easy to get, like most of people, I didn’t bother to do it myself.

Now, it’s different. I’ve been out of the country for more than 2 years. Some simple food that I never missed or thought about before, they’ve been touring back in my mind times to times. Sticky rice is one of them. I always thought that I might just be able to eat sticky rice again if and only if I backed home to visit my family. Maybe my thought would never change if there was not a day, a day I found ways to cook sticky rice by microwave, the day that many ideas of sticky rice dishes blossoming in my mind. If you are a great cook, you can tell right away – how dare you compare sticky rice made by microwave with the traditional way? The answer is you’re right. I’m not going to put those two methods on scale. Just imagine me as being drowned and found a life buoy.

I love black sticky rice the most, thus of course it will be my first try too. I know if I don’t post an entry of cooking recipe now, there will be no entry later. The first time is always the one uplifting me the most. So, let’s go through the simple recipe and I hope you can do it yourself one day (if you've never done before). 

(black sticky rice dish from black glutinous rice)

Actually, the rice to cook black sticky rice dish was not sticky though. It’s called black glutinous rice or long grain sticky rice. The dish was listed in sticky rice category because it was usually prepared as the same way as sticky rice dish by mixing with a portion of regular sticky rice (usually in white or ivory color). I love black sticky rice dish mostly from its chewy and crunchy texture, especially when biting on the grains, the feeling like bursting out tiny chocolate-coated-water drops. Therefore, I’m going to use only black glutinous rice in my recipe here. The dish will turn out dry and non-sticky. From the outlook, it will be same as regular rice. If you want a real sticky dish, you may consider adding some regular sticky rice.

Here is what I need:
  • 2 cups of black glutinous rice (for 3 portions), soaked overnight and drained well (add ¼ or ½ cup of regular sticky rice if you want)
  • A medium microwave safe bowl (try to use the old bowl if possible; the black rice may leave dark mark on the bowl)
  • 1 can of chick peas, pureed or ground finely (I’m lazy to cook mung beans, so I used chick peas in the can instead. The original recipe uses mung beans.)
  • A couple of scallion leaves, chopped into 1cm length or smaller
  • 1 cup of unsweetened grated coconut (once again, it’s hard for me to find fresh grated coconut. I used the dried one in the package. Just add some water to it.)
  • salt and sugar
  • (optional) roasted sesames, coconut milk (my motto is fast and compact, so I didn't use these either.)

Step 1: add black glutinous rice, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar into the bowl. Add water just enough to cover the rice. Stir well.
Note: you can add more salt or sugar depending on your taste.

Step 2: cover the bowl tightly with paper towel (or any safe material) and put it into the microwave. Turn the microwave on high heat (default setting) for 5 minutes. When it peeps, uncover, mix the rice, cover and put back to the microwave for 5 more minutes. When the microwave stops, check the mixture, if it’s dry, add a little water, uncover the bowl and put back into the microwave for 1 more minute. Now the rice should be well done. Depending on microwave variations, you can check and add some more minutes if the rice isn’t ready.

Wahoo, basically you’re done now! Just garnish your dish and eat. Some people like to put one layer of chick peas (or mung beans) in between two layers of rice. I like the traditional way, one layer of rice, one layer of chick peas, adding chopped scallion and grated coconut on top. If you use roasted sesame or coconut milk, you will also add them on the top most. If you can’t eat raw scallion, microwave the entire dish 30 seconds to 1 minute before eating. Whale done!

(the simple garnishing dish)

(ready to go)

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