Here is an alternative recipe for glutinous rice, similar to that served as a dish at Yum Cha where I am (Sydney).

This is basically a college food, for people who have some money, and let me tell you, it is KILLER good. I was making this so often that I'd have the ingredients list memorized, and a run through an Asian Grocer (Glutinous Rice, Dried Shrimp, Dried Pork Sausage, Dried Pork Belly Strips) would yield enough for 2 full cauldrons and cost under AUD$20 (That's AUD$10 per Cauldron, yielding 4 servings provided you had the rest of the ingredients already). Compare this to AUD$5-AUD$6 for a "Big Mac" style "value" type meal.

I started cooking this when I lived on my own on a Saturday or Sunday lunchtime, and ate it over the next couple of days. One weekend, a friend of mine was walking past my flat and decided to drop in, when I just happened to have a cauldron of this stuff on the stove and I gave him a bowl. Word spread though our circle of friends, our workmates, our workmates circle of friends and further about this amazing invention that I had discovered. There would be 4, then 6, then 8 guys "dropping by" my house every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for a bowl. Then the phone calls at 3 o'clock in the morning "duuude.....neeed.....cauldron....". It was reminiscent of an episode of the league of gentlemen.

So, without further ado, I present TOASTMan's infamous Magical Caldron of Doom (aka, Standard Chinese Glutinous Rice)

  • 2 cups glutinous rice
  • 6 (half a packet) Lap Cheong (Chinese Sweet Dried Sausage)
  • Half a packaged strip (100 grams ?) Lap Yeong (Chinese Dried Pork Belly)
  • Half a packet (50 grams ?) small Chinese dried shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons of white sugar (it just seems to help)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Rice Wine/Dry Sherry
  • 1 tablespoon of Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Light Soy Sauce
  • 6 cups of water

    3 full rashers BACON, cut into small pieces (generally adds no improvement)
    Handful of Soaked Shitake Mushrooms, sliced (I generally don't bother with this, adds preparation time for not much improvement)

    Basically, if you know how to cook rice using the absorption method, you're set. If not, don't worry, it's extremely simple.

    Take your cauldron (or if you *must*, large cooking pot) and place it over thyne hearth (or if you *must*, electric cook top). After a short while, add the oil, then add the Lap Cheong and start to fry it (see if you can get a few nice crispy edges happening), add the shrimp and Lap Yeong soon after.
    When everything is nicely frying and oily, you can add the rice. Stir it a little to coat the rice with oil and get the whole thing mixed together. Then add 6 cups of water (more or less), while this is coming to the boil, add your soy sauce(s), sugar, salt, pepper, rice wine. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce the heat on your stove to minimum, in fact, place the whole pot on the smallest gas ring/electric element (ooh, err, part of the hearth) you have, cover it tightly and turn it down to it's lowest setting. Allow it to simmer for a "theoretical" 30-40 minutes.

    I say 30-40 "theoretical" minutes, as after about 20 minutes or so, you're house/flat/coven will be filled with a delicious aroma, and you'll be forced to start eating it straight away. If this happens, take your portion in your bowl, turn your stove/hearth off completely and cover your cauldron tightly and leave it for another 30 "theoretical" minutes with no heat under it. After 15 minutes or so, you'll want another bowl, then you're friends will start showing up, etc.

  • Beer
  • Cola
  • Glass of cold water
  • Football on Television (for some reason, the young ladies are somewhat less keen on this dish than the young men)
    with the bottle of soy sauce left handy so people can help themselves.

    Normally I would not actually measure any of these ingredients apart from the rice and the water, especially the Soy Sauce which is thrown in liberally. If you don't have both dark and light soy sauce, any old soy sauce you have lying around will work.

    Lap Yeong is basically a strip of dried pork belly, it should be directly next to the Lap Cheong in your Asian Grocer. What you're looking for is something that looks like dark red/brown bacon, only about half an inch thick and an inch wide (around 12 inches long), dried and usually vacuum sealed in plastic. You can omit it if you really really really really must. Or if you're desperate, substitute bacon as above.

    Please do not omit either the Lap Cheong or the Dried Shrimp, the combination of the two is classical and is what makes the dish so special.

    6 cups of water seems to work very well. Remember, this stuff should be gluggy, not fluffy. You can experiment (and I often do) using anything from 4 to 8 cups of water. 4 cups keeps the rice more "grain like", 8 cups makes it more "firm porridge" like. 6 cups is a good balance.

    Omit the MSG if you are sensitive to it.

    I once tried frying diced onion before adding the other ingredients. Turns out to be pointless (adds nothing to the dish).

    A few times I have tried soaking the rice for a few hours before the cooking, again it seemed to make no difference at all.

    Go for the smaller type of dried shrimp if you can, it can gross people out if they see little shrimp heads in their rice (and can feel the texture of crushing their skulls with their teeth and having the little shrimp brains ooze out over their tongues)

    If some some crazy reason you don't manage to eat this all and get tired of it (maybe you make a metric tonne of it and there are only 3 people in the house), place the leftovers in a square/rectangular baking tin and leave in the fridge overnight until it becomes a solid mass. Then cut into slices (around 3 inches square and around half an inch thick, although smaller is OK) and fry the slices in a little peanut oil a non-stick frying pan for a couple of minutes each side. Perhaps serving with Hoi Sin Sauce or Plum Sauce (or *shudder* Ketchup like my little Sister does). It's not to dissimilar to what they call Turnip Cake or Radish Cake at Yum Cha or various places in Chinatown, with the added bonus of being much, MUCH easier to prepare.

    Try it this weekend, it'll change your life.

    Don't even go there. It's Meat, Fat 'N' Rice (and Soy !).

    As much as they'll let you have.