For the month of November, we have asked some of our favorite food bloggers to share recipes for their must-have Thanksgiving dishes. Join us to see what will be on their tables this year and for years to come.
Sticky Rice Stuffing by Maggie of RealSimple.com
When I was a kid, my family never made a huge deal out of Thanksgiving. Since they didn’t grow up in this country, my parents weren’t used to celebrating this uniquely American holiday with all its customs and seemingly strange foods (marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole?). Some years we didn’t even have a turkey (the horror!). When we did, the American-style sides were usually what my mom *thought* belonged on a Thanksgiving table with all the trimmings (or perhaps more accurately, what I begged her to make because that’s what all the other kids at school were having)—canned cranberry sauce (which to be honest, I don’t have a problem with), green bean casserole (complete with those canned fried onions on top), candied yams from a can (which no one ate), and Stovetop stuffing (which I always loved). But in addition to the packaged stuffing, she always made her own version from scratch, too—a sticky rice “stuffing” with Chinese sausage, mushroom, and shrimp.
Today, our Thanksgiving feasts usually include a traditional turkey. But you’re likely to find sushi, sautéed bok choy, and Chinese noodles on the table, too. The candied yams, green bean casserole, and Stovetop were banished long ago, but my mom still makes her sticky rice stuffing every year, and we always devour it. Here’s her recipe with some modifications, along with some substitute ingredients for those who don’t have a Chinatown nearby.
Sticky Rice Stuffing
2 cups sticky rice (my mom says the best brand is Plum Blossom, if you can find it)
1 teaspoon salt
8 medium dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water several hours to rehydrate, then drained and sliced thinly (if you can’t find dried, fresh is fine)
1 tablespoon dried shrimp, soaked in water several hours to rehydrate, then drained and chopped (or ¼ pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp)
1 tablespoon oil
2 Chinese sausages, thinly sliced (or 3-4 slices bacon)
2 tablespoons sliced shallots
2½ tablespoons soy sauce
1. Put the sticky rice in a bowl and rinse it with water a few times in order to remove any stray debris. Add 3 cups of water and let soak overnight (or at least 2 hours).
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat and add shallots. Cook for a minute, then add the sausage. Cook for a minute, then add mushrooms and shrimp. Sauté for a few minutes until the mushrooms have softened a bit and the shrimp are cooked through (if using raw). If using bacon instead of sausage, skip the oil—just cook the bacon on medium heat until browned, then remove to a plate and break into pieces. Turn the heat up and add the shallots, mushrooms, and shrimp to the pan as described above; sauté until all ingredients are cooked.
3. Mix your cooked ingredients into the rice and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cook in a rice cooker; or, if you’re like me and don’t have one, place in a heavy-bottomed pot and let come to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the rice is tender and sticky. (Feel free to add an extra half cup of water or so for stickier rice.)
4. When the rice is done, add soy sauce and mix thoroughly. You’ll probably notice that a brown crust has formed at the bottom of the pot—that’s perfectly fine. Scrape up as much of that brown goodness as you can for extra flavor and texture. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce if necessary.
Note: There are 2 ways you can make this recipe. You can either make it the way I’ve described above, or you can cook the rice separately, cook the ingredients separately, and then add the cooked rice to the skillet with your ingredients at the end to combine. Both methods should work equally well.
You can let the rice cool and stuff your turkey with it, which makes it extra delicious. Or you can simply serve warm on the side. Either way, it’s a must-have at our Thanksgiving meal.
Do you have any international dishes that have become part of your family's traditional Thanksgiving?