Sticky Rice Dressing II Betty - Yields 6-8 servings as a side

This delicious rice dressing can be served any time of year – but is often served by Asian families in place of, or in addition to, bread dressing during Thanksgiving. It can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the Chinese sausage and increasing the amount of mushrooms.

2 C raw Chinese Sweet Rice, rinsed with cold water till water clear and no longer milky colored

5-6 medium dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water till soft, about 20 mins

3 T high smoke point vegetable oil such as peanut, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower

3/4 C finely chopped scallions, shallots, or onions, or any combination

1 ½ T finely minced or grated ginger

8-10 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 Chinese sausage links (Lop Chong) cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise to 1/4” pcs

(substitute 4-5 slabs of bacon, diced, if Chinese sausage is not available)

1 C diced (1/4 “) celery (about 3 ribs) or water chestnuts or bamboo shoots, diced to ¼” pieces

1 medium carrot, cut to 1/4” dice

1 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 T dry vermouth or dry sherry

2 T good quality soy sauce such as Kikkoman with red cap/label

3 T good quality oyster sauce, preferably Lee Kum Kee Premium – Use slightly more for v

2 T reserved mushroom soaking liquid

1 tsp sugar

Optional: 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted chestnuts (available vacuum packed)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Optional Garnish: 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds, cilantro sprigs and grated carrots

Place rinsed rice in bowl with enough cold water to reach to 1” above rice. Let stand at least 1 hour up to 4 hours or overnight. Drain the rice. Line a wide steamer with perforated parchment paper or dampened clean kitchen towel (or banana leaf, lotus leaf, or bamboo leaves if readily available). Spread the rice evenly on the cheesecloth or towel (or leaves). Add about 2 inches of water to the bottom of steamer and bring to a boil. Place the steamer rack containing the rice over the boiling water making sure the bottom of the steamer does not touch the boiling water. Cover tightly and steam over moderate heat for about 35-40 minutes (add more water to bottom pot as needed), until translucent and tender (steam a little longer if there are opaque grains of rice. Gently fluff the rice. [NOTE: If you have a rice cooker, eliminate steaming step; place rinsed rice in the rice cooker in a one to one proportion of water to rice –in this recipe use 2 cups water to 2 cups sweet rice (sweet rice does not expand as much as long grain or other rice varieties and does not require as much water) and cook per rice cooker directions for sweet rice.]

Meanwhile, remove and discard (or save for future stock) stems from rehydrated shiitakes and cut caps into 1/4-inch dice. Reserve 2T of the clear top part of the soaking liquid. Discard the grit remaining at the bottom.

Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce and mushroom-soaking liquid and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok or large non- stick skillet till hot. Add the oil. Swirl to coat bottom of wok or skillet. Add the scallions, and ginger and cook, stirring over moderate heat till fragrant. Add the rehydrated and fresh shiitake, Chinese sausage, and celery and carrot. Stir to heat through about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper and vermouth. Stir in the cooked rice. Add the soy sauce/oyster sauce/ mushroom soaking liquid. Stir quickly to incorporate all the ingredients evenly till rice is evenly colored. Adjust seasonings (can be made ahead up to this point). Just before serving, stir in the chestnuts and chopped cilantro. Garnish with almond slivers and additional cilantro leaves and grated carrots. Serve hot.

Do Ahead Note: Prepare everything up to before adding the roasted chestnuts and cilantro. Pack rice into an oiled shallow baking dish. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days. Bring the rice to room temperature before reheating in microwave or in coventional oven as directly below.

To Reheat in microwave oven: Place sticky rice in microwavable baking dish, place a piece of parchment paper (cut to size of baking dish), then cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high till heated through.

Or: Preheat conventional oven to 350⁰F. Place a piece of parchment paper (cut to size of baking dish) over the cooked sticky rice, then cover baking dish tightly with foil and place in a larger roasting pan filled with enough hot water to reach halfway up the outside of the baking dish. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes till rice is heated thoroughly. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Top with toasted almonds and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and grated carrots. Serve hot.

For a vegetarian option, omit sausage or bacon and add more mushrooms and a bit more oyster sauce or soy sauce to make up for the saltiness of the Chinese sausage or bacon.