My family has a Thanksgiving turkey stuffing recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s moist, savoury and satisfying but after having enjoyed this stuffing for more than 40 Thanksgivings in a row, frankly it’s getting a little boring. With apologies to my Grandmother, it’s time for a change.
Having read recently that China has overtaken the United States as the largest economy in the world, I decided to look to Asia for inspiration. With the assistance of two friends with impeccable culinary skills (Lee Man and Brian Chan), we developed a recipe for Chinese Sticky Rice Stuffing. Here’s how to make it:
2 teaspoons of sesame or peanut oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
5 Chinese sausages cut into 1 cm diagonal slices
3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups of hot water until soft and puffed up. Remove the stems then cut into thin slices (reserve the soaking liquid)
500 grams glutinous rice, soaked overnight in enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches, then drained
In a wok or frying pan, heat oil on high heat.
Sauté garlic, ginger and scallions until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes
Add Chinese sausages and stir for 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and stir for 1 minute.
Turn off heat and add the glutinous rice and stir until everything is well mixed. Transfer the rice mixture into a rice cooker. Pour the 2 cups of shiitake soaking liquid into the pot. It should just be enough to cover all the rice mixture, if not you can add some more water to cover the entire rice mixture. Cook the rice as per the rice cooker’s instructions. When the rice cooker finishes, spread the cooked rice on a cookie sheet to cool to room temperature. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the cooled rice. Stuff the rice in the main and neck cavities of the turkey but don’t pack it too tightly.
For those of you seeking extra credit, add some duck meat to the stuffing and you can brag to your friends about having made an Asian Turducken.
Over the last couple of years, I have experimented with different ways to prepare turkey. My tests convinced me that roasting turkey in the oven is the best choice.
I wrote about how to roast a turkey last year so all you need to do is replace the Sourdough Stuffing with Chinese Sticky Rice Stuffing. The rice will absorb the turkey juices that drip down from the meat while it cooks and give you an amazing side dish to enjoy with your friends and loved ones.