August 27, 2013

Dried Shrimp Steamed White Rice 蝦乾蒸飯

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯
By Published: 2013-08-27
One of the many gastronomic pleasures that living in Hong Kong brings is the ease and variety of the chinese dried seafood available.  One need only go to their local wet market or, better yet, to the long stretch of Des Voeux Road West in Sheung Wan which is known locally as 香港海味街, or Hong Kong Dried Seafood Street.  Fascinating to explore even if you aren't there for actual buying; one would never have imagined that there were that many things in the world to dry and eat!?

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯

One recent dried seafood discovery of ours are these large dried shrimps 蝦乾 (as opposed to those ubiquitous small dried shrimps that one sees everywhere).   These seem to be a local Hong Kong delicacy.  These regular sized shrimps are slit and laid out flat to be slowly sun dried until their sweet succulence has been wonderfully intensified.  My little girl likes to eat them just as they are, a wonderful chewy treat.

My 老公 got all adventurous and threw some of these large dried shrimps into our rice cooker while cooking steamed rice.  Wow,  what a bowl of rice!  Subtle, serene and beautiful.  The wonderfully fragrant almost-nuttiness of freshly cooked rice permeated gently throughout with hints of the sweetness of fresh shrimp and a touch of sea saltiness.   Seriously, if you like your steamed rice you've got to try this!

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯

Of course, remember that the simpler the food, the better the ingredients must be.  So don't forgot to get some seriously good rice grains for your steamed rice.  It will make a big difference.  We have, after trying various kinds of rice, settled on the Golden Phoenix rice.  It cooks up wonderfully fluffy steamed rice, smells very fragrant, and tastes just like rice should.  Jasmine rice from Thailand is also usually highly recommended too, I think more for its heavenly smell than for its taste.  

For the steamed rice that is eaten with a Chinese dinner one usually gets a medium length grain rice  (see photo above).  There are also long grain rice and short grain rice.  Very simply put long grain rice is less starchy and therefore less sticky/tender and short grain rice is more starchy and therefore more sticky and soft.  

Medium grain rice is therefore the best of both worlds, sticking together just enough without losing its texture, yet tender when chewed.  My parents used to buy long and medium/short grain rice and mix it together before cooking.  Chinese people are very serious about their rice!

chinese, dried shrimp, hong kong food, recipe, rice, steamed rice, 蝦乾, 蒸, 飯

And last but not least...get yourself a rice cooker already!  If you're still reading this you must be a steamed rice lover and if you're serious about your need a rice cooker!  Let me just tell you that I have never heard of a chinese person cooking rice without a rice cooker, ever.  Did you not see Wong Kar Wei's movie In the Mood for Love?  Were they not incandescently happy with their rice cooker?  Need I say more...

Dried Shrimp Steamed White Rice Recipe蝦乾蒸飯
(makes 4 bowls) (Prep time: 3 mins  Cook time: 20 mins)

  • 2 cups rice (approx)
  • 8-10 Large Dried Shrimps
  • 2 cups water (approx)
  • Rice cooker


Decide how much to cook.  We use 1 1/2 rice cooker cup for enough rice for two and a half persons.  Use the measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker, not your usual measuring cup as they are not the same.  The rice cooker measuring cup corresponds with the measurement markings for water level on the inside of the rice cooker pot.  Using the rice cooker measurements will allow you to make perfect rice every time with minimal effort.

After measuring out the rice, rinse the rice with water until the water runs pretty clear.  You are basically rinsing the starch out, allowing the final rice to be fluffy, each grain of rice separate but still gently clinging to each other.

With the washed rice in the rice cooker pot add water using the measurement markings on the inside of pot.  If you have 1 1/2 cup rice then add water to the 1 1/2 mark, etc.  Very easy!

Rinse your dried shrimp off briefly.  Add into the rice cooker pot.  Put pot into the rice cooker and add the lid.  Press the rice cooker cook button.  That's it!  Now you have time prepare all your other yummy dishes, secure in the knowledge that in 15-20 minutes you will have perfect, fluffy, fragrantly delicious Dried Shrimp Steamed White Rice.



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