Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chinese Flavored Rice (Kiam Pung)

This is definitely one of our family's comfort foods. I think every family have their own versions of Kiam Pung. My version is taken both from my own grandmother's recipe plus my mother-in-law's recipe. So, technically, this recipe is a marriage of both families!

My grandmother's Kiam Pung uses the rice cooker. Come to think of it, despite having bound feet and no education, she is quite a modern cook! She would cook chicken adobo first, soften the dried scallops and the shiitake mushrooms. Then, she would put all the ingredients with the rice inside the rice cooker to cook. Sounds very easy? But whenever I use this method, the rice always turns out either too soft and mushy (too much water), or too grainy and half-cooked (too little water). I remember my grandmother would just use her fingers (to check the height of the liquid) to measure the amount of liquid in the rice. And her Kiam Pung would always turn out perfect.

My mother-in-law's Kiam Pung uses the cast iron wok. This, I think requires more skill, particularly paying more attention to the sounds made by the cooking wok. She would saute sliced pork tenderloin and softened dried oysters in soy sauce. She would then add mustasa (mustard leaves? mustard greens?) at the bottom of the wok. Then, she would put the washed rice on top of the leaves and add enough water (again, measured by the finger method.) Then cover the wok, and she would listen to the sounds and gurgling made inside the wok. Based on the sounds made, she would know when to lower the fire, when to turn the wok around so that it would cook evenly. Accordingly, we cannot take a peek inside until we hear another kind of sound. Then, she will open the cover, mix all the ingredients inside, and quickly soon after, her Kiam Pung is done. Sigh... obviously, I was not able to learn this "listening" method of cooking. Or perhaps, I do not have the patience for it too.

With this wok method, the rice is not burnt because the mustasa leaves acts as the base. The rice is also very pleasantly veggie-flavored. However, the leaves becomes too wilted, and sometimes bitter.

My veggie-lover Hubby of course likes his Kiam Pung with mustasa, preferably not ovrcooked. So, I have to quickly learn and experiment on how to cook this dish, in any way, as long as it comes out edible, preferably yummy! And yes! After experimenting several times, I came out with this recipe that is easy to make, very flavorful that even the children love it! (Shhh.. they prefer my version over my mother-in-law's version.)

Of course I have the more "modern" advantage. I use a teflon wok (therefore, no burnt rice) with a see-through glass cover! Hee hee.

5 slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 C dried scallops, softened
2 C cooked chicken or pork adobo, sauce included
1/4 C softened shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 can straw mushrooms, whole pieces halved
1 can golden mushrooms
5 C rice ( I use Jasmine rice)
water to make a total of 7 and a half cup liquid (see later note)
1/4 K mustasa (mustard leaves or greens), washed, cut into pieces
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute ginger slices in cooking oil. When slightly brown, add the onions and the garlic.

2. Add in the softened dried scallops. Add in the rice. Splash some dashes of good quality soy sauce. Mix to blend in the flavors to the rice.

3. Add in all the mushrooms and the chicken or pork adobo. Add water. Mix everything and cover. Lower heat when it comes to full boil.

4. When the rice is nearly cooked ( I use see-through glass cover so I can see.) open the cover, toss everything a bit, then add the mustard greens. Mix everything again. Cover and cook until done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve hot.

Some versions of Kiam Pung uses half regular rice and half malagkit or sticky rice. But I am not confident in using malagkit rice yet. And my family is already very happy with Jasmine rice. The amount of liquid to be added to your Kiam Pung actually depends on the quality of rice you will use. With the Jasmine rice, the proportion is one and a half cup of liquid (the adobo sauce counts) for every cup of rice.


KC said...

This is one of those simple home-cooked dishes that is very difficult to perfect. You've managed it! I cheat by cooking the meat and the rice separately and then mixing them together and cooking for about 5 minutes.

Unknown said...

i add 1 cup malagkit rice for every 2 cups of Jasmine rice. so it won't be too sticky. what i do is soak the malagkit rice for a minimum of 4 hours. just add enough water to cover the rice in the bowl.

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xlpharmacy said...

Thanks for share, I worked in a chinese restaurant as a chef for some time and I learn how to cook many chinese dishes.

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