I like jasmine rice. There, I said it. In the time of nutrient rich brown rice, it’s almost faux pas to order plain white rice anymore. To me, the pleasant density, flavor, and cleanliness go really well with say.. a summery dish of minced chicken lettuce cups.
Jasmine rice is white and slender. It’s slightly nutty, with a fragrance to it that’s complimentary to everything Asian. I grew up with short grain white rice, Hinode varietal, so to be sure, when I met Jasmine, it was like I discovered a new continent!
This is based off a Celia Chan recipe from her restaurant in SF many many years ago. Her cookbook / memoir is a wonderful read. It’s called the Seventh Daughter.
Anyway, I took some ingredient liberties as my array of sauces haven’t been fully replenished since fridge fiasco a few months ago. Her recipe is for squab, but I’ve used roasted duck, chicken, Cornish game hen, tofu, minced pork, with very similar results.
Lap cheung (Cantonese for a chinese pork sausage) is easy to find in most Asian markets. The trick is to find them without MSG. If you don’t have this, I recommend using a few tablespoons of salted pork or mild Italian sausage. Chinese sausage is really thin and fatty, sweeter than what you’d imagine sausage to be. It has the density of a salami, I suppose.
I bought fresh water chestnuts (the black round balls.) They rot quickly and from the inside. It’s dense and watery, kind of like jicama. See photos for how to prep it.
Before I forget, I minced ginger and have a tablespoon of pine nuts ready. The water chestnuts need to be clean and white. Carve away the skin, pitted areas and any discoloration. They can be immersed in water before finally mincing them and wok tossing. I don’t like them turning yellow.
Instead of hydrating dried shiitakes (I have enough to chop) I just bought brown mushrooms. Dried shiitakes are wayyy better tasting.
Garnish of cucumber and green scallion are also readied. Once you wok toss, there’s no time for forgetting an ingredient. From cook to serve, expect 7-10 minutes max.
Whole chickens are cheaper than buying breast meat. I carve all the pieces and create a marinade for the legs and wings. (yogurt, crushed coriander, cumin, mustard, a dash of vinegar for grilling spiced chicken tomorrow.)
The breasts are skinned, minced, drenched in juice of 1 lime, dash salt, and minced garlic. (This is more “Thai” as in preparation for larb, but I like the infusion of lime and garlic.)
Mix a few tablespoons of Shiao Shing cooking wine, dash sesame oil, soy sauce and ketjap manis (I didn’t have oyster sauce!) this is the yummy sauce.
When ready to wok, high heat, grapeseed oil, chicken for a few minutes. Open a hole and place Chinese sausage, cook until chicken is white, add water chestnuts, ginger, toss 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and pine nuts. Mix well, add sauce and blend all.
Place a 1/3 cup of yumminess on lettuce. Serve with scallions and cucumbers sprinkled on top. I like rice in bowls, but the sauce always drips onto the plate, so that’s why the rice is there! 😉 This can serve up to 4 as an appetizer or dinner for two with lunch leftovers for one person. Hubby won the coin toss but I’m OK with that!