2 questions re asian cooking techniques
1. what is the best device for steaming thai sticky rice after it soaks?
2. how do chinese restaurants get their meat so tender in stir fry dishes, other than thin slices?
Thanks all :)
If you don't have a rice cooker, just a regular saucepan with a good-fitting lid will do. To your rice in the pot, add enough water to go about a 1/2" level above the rice. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to the lowest simmer you have and put the lid on it for 15 minutes exactly. Fluff and serve. This works for white rice only. For brown and wild rice, it'll take longer than 15 minutes.
The meat in stir fry is cut on a bias, usually marinated for tenderness and flavor, then stir fried at the highest heat possible in steel woks so that it cooks quickly and is not on the heat for very long.
Kishari--- about the rice:
sasha1 is asking about *sticky* rice (also called glutinous rice). cooking instructions you offered are good for regular rice. Please, don't try to boil your sticky rice.
Steaming sticy rice: I use a bamboo steamer for this. First, after a thorough rinse, I wrap the rice in cheesecloth. After soaking overnight, you simply transfer the bundle of cheesecloth to the steamer. Keep the cheesecloth wrapped loosely (no need to tie it closed.) Place steamer over boiling water, cover the steamer, cook until there is no trace of chalkiness as you bite through a kernal. When done, lift the bundle from the steamer, let it rest for a minute, then turn out into a bowl, and use as directed.
Cooking time will vary depending on age of the rice, length of the soak, and quantity of rice. Something between 15 and 25 minutes.
(I have also improvised a steamer using a metal collander. Not as efficient, but it works. Just remember the key is the cheesecloth.)
Earlier tonight I took out some sticky rice-- now its sitting on the counter soaking. (In the Summer I would refrigerate this; in cooler weather its not a problem to leave it out.)
Tomorrow I'm making sweet sticky rice with coconut milk and mango, with a combination of canned milk and some fresh coconuts I picked up in chinatown (also where you'll find your sticky rice). Good luck!
The meat in many Chinese restaurants is tenderized with corn starch (usually as part of a marinade) for a long time. That's how they get that unnaturally "tender" texture. But Kishari is right -- to do a stir fry at home, cut thin against the grain (if you partially freeze the meat first it's easier to cut thin), marinate for for about 15 minutes in a mixture of soy, rice wine and corn starch (adding a bit of sugar, garlic or chilis as desired). Stir fry in small batches in HOT oil for a minute (literally) and remove to a dish while you stir fry the vegetables. Add the meat back to the pan when the veggies are just about done.
I tried baking soda on beef and it worked, but I agree that it is a little unnatural. Almost slimy and puffy?
As stated in the previous post, it is baking soda. See an earlier discussion:
For steaming sticky rice:
Wrap the soaked rice in a double thickness cheese of cheese clothes, flatten it a little. Put in a steamer with boiling water on the bottom. Steam for about 25 minutes
There are the tier steamers...bottom holds water, a second perforated layer that fits on top of the bottom. That is where one puts things for steaming. Then a top cover. There are probably other types steamers. Double boiler doesn't work because the top part is not perforated, therefore, it just gathers water.
For thai sticky rice, white or black, soak overnight in fridge, put in heat resistant dish, drain water until it is at the level of the rice and place in a pot with a rack so dish is above the water level (racks I use are round to fit the bottom of the pot, purchased at asian store) steam 25-30 min. or until done. Make sure you check the water level doesn't get too low. Are you using the long grain style of sticky rice? I love that stuff. Black sticky rice has a wonderful bite and purply chewy yummy-ness.
Steaming tool and cursory pre-soaking instructions here:
The weave of this woven flexible steamer is tight, rather than the more open grids of a standard bamboo steamer.
Other sources: (credit to Thor)
So here is something I've learned on the rice front. Unlike regular rice which cooks to twice or three times the volume you start with, the sticky rice maybe increased by 1/2 with cooking. I thought the kernels would plump up with the soaking more than they did, and only made a cup of rice for 3 of us. Not enough.
However, it reminded me much of the rice at the thai restuarants, so my confidence was boosted. I soaked for about 4.5 hours, and steamed for 30 minutes. It was fairly al dente. Next time, I think a longer soak and a longer steam. Then I'm ready for the mango sticky rice.
Thank you to all who helped me on my quest.