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Sweet rice

Sweet rice
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

My Chinese grandmother, Tina, sits to my right at the head of our Christmas dinner table, the matriarch of the family, poised, shoulders up straight and a sincere look on her face. She quietly eats her food, listening to her ... Read more

Total time: 55 minutes, plus soaking time | Serves 6
  • 3 cups sweet rice
  • 6 dried black mushrooms
  • 2 ounces dried shrimp
  • 6 cups boiling water, plus extra for rinsing and soaking the rice, mushrooms and shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Chinese sausages (lap cheong), diced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of chicken broth, divided
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

Step 1Prepare the rice: In a large bowl, rinse the rice under cool running water, gently swirling it with your hands until the water runs clear. Shut off the water, and leave the rice to sit in the water for 2 hours, then drain the rice, leaving it in the bowl.

Step 2Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, soak the mushrooms in enough water to cover until softened, about 45 minutes. Drain the water (dispose of it, or save the liquid for another use), discard the stems and dice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Step 3Rinse the dried shrimp, then place them in a small bowl. Soak the shrimp in enough water to cover until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the shrimp.

Step 4Pour the 6 cups of boiling water over the drained rice to cover. Set the rice aside for 15 minutes, then drain the rice again.

Step 5In a large nonstick wok or a large pan with fairly high sides, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic, sausage, mushrooms and shrimp. Saute, stirring frequently, until the sausage and shrimp are lightly caramelized and the garlic is very fragrant, several minutes. Add the rice and stir to thoroughly combine.

Step 6Stir 3 to 4 tablespoons of chicken broth in with the rice, then cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and repeat until the rice is soft and sticky (similar to cooking risotto); you may not use all of the chicken broth.

Step 7Season to taste with the soy sauce and the white pepper, stirring to combine and marry the flavors. Serve immediately.

Note: My grandma uses Sho-Chiku-Bai brand sweet rice. The rice, light soy sauce, lop cheong and dried black mushrooms are available at Chinese markets.


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