This is my idea of Chinese comfort food. Naw Mai Fan is a dish of sweet sticky rice and a number of dried Chinese ingredients -- shitake mushrooms, goji berries, dried scallops -- that have been rehydrated and stir fried fragrant.
This rice dish is often served at dim sum restaurants, but it is easy to make at home as well. The hardest part is finding all the ingredients, but one trip to Chinatown can take care if that -- look for a grocer that has packages or bins of dried goods on the shelves, and you'll likely find everything you need there.
For the rice, I like using a Sho-Chiku-Bai Premium Sweet Rice by Koda Farms. It cooks up nice and soft with a wonderfully chewy texture. The other secret ingredient here is Maggi Seasoning. It is a kind of distinctly flavored soy sauce...we always had a bottle of this in the pantry growing up, it's like the ketchup of the Chinese household.
I love all the different flavors and textures in this Sticky Rice Bowl. The mushrooms add an earthy meatiness to the dish, the scallops bring in some savory saltiness, the goji berries a touch of sweetness, and the rice is just so satisfying.
This meal takes a little planning ahead because of the time it takes to soak the dried ingredients, but after that, it's a quick stir fry in the wok and it's done. Serve with some kailan greens or bok choy and you have yourself a satisfying, homey, authentic Chinese meal.
Sticky Rice Bowl (Naw Mai Fan)
Makes: 2-3 servings
¾ cup Sho-Chiku-Bai Premium Sweet Rice (recommended brand: Koda Farms) -- this is a sticky glutinous rice
2 sticks cured Chinese sausage (lap cheung), about ½ cup when cut up
½ cup dried shitake mushrooms
¼ cup goji berries
4-5 pieces dried scallop
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons Maggi seasoning (or more light soy sauce)
1. Rinse rice a few times. Place in rice cooker with about ½ inch water sitting on top of the rice. Place sausages in with the rice and steam all together until rice is cooked. Lay the rice out on a foil-lined sheet pan and let sit for 30-45 minutes.
2. Soak mushrooms, goji berries, and scallops in hot water for at least 1 hour, until softened. Drain water.
3. Remove stems from the mushrooms and slice the caps into small pieces. Break apart the scallops into chunks. Stir fry mushrooms and scallops in a hot pan with oil. Add soy sauce and Maggi seasoning.
4. Cut up the sausage into small pieces and add to the stir fry mixture. Add rice and goji berries, stir to combine. Add white pepper to taste.
5. To plate, spoon into a bowl, pack it down. Place a plate on top and invert the bowl so you end up with a nicely molded round of rice on your plate.