Rediscovering Luffa Squash


Luffa squash lying elegantly on my dining table

Our taste buds are the most effective memory keepers of all.

Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my favorite Hmong farmer, Moua, about the assortment of Asian vegetables he grows and sells. He drew out an elongated green specimen which could have come straight out of a Star Trek episode. The curved gourd has a matt green skin with ridges running down the length of it. “It’s called sing gua,” explained Moua. “Stir fry with pork, garlic and lemongrass .”

Moua and Mary

Moua and his daughter Mary at the Pacific Grove Certified Farmers’ Market

I happily took one home with me to experiment.

Once in the comfort of my own kitchen, I looked up sing gua in Sara Deseran’s “Asian Vegetables.” This odd vegetable is also called luffa squash, Chinese okra and sponge gourd (for good reason!).


If anyone tells you you don’t have to peel the skin, don’t believe them.

To peel the luffa squash, I trimmed the ends and cut it in half. Standing the flat sides of each half on the cutting board, I peeled the bitter skin completely to reveal the pale green flesh. I then cut it crosswise into 1-inch coins.


Peeled and sliced luffa, kinda looks like honeydew melon!

While a luffa has seeds, they are edible and don’t need to be removed. And like a sponge, it will soak up whatever flavors you pair it with.

Anyway I stir fried the luffa as instructed by Moua and sat down to eat. I popped a spoonful of luffa with rice into my mouth and started chewing. As I chomped down on its supple texture, savoring its sweet flavor paired with fish sauce and lemongrass, visions of a childhood dish comprising slices of a soft green vegetable, carrots and cellophane noodles played themselves out in front of my eyes in a wave of nostalgia.

OMG, I know this vegetable!

A quick phone call to my mum revealed this vegetable to be oyong in Indonesian and she furnished me with a recipe.

Funny enough, this childhood dish has been on my radar for the last couple of weeks since I’ve been compiling a list of my favorite recipes for a new book proposal.

The world works in mysterious ways. The stars align. Serendipitous things happen.

Stir-fried Luffa Squash with Pork and Carrots

stir-fried luffa

Luffa is delicious in stir-fries, soaking up the flavors of whatever seasoning or meat/ seafood (it tastes great with squid and shrimp) you pair it with. Try it in curries or soups as well.Some people like it raw too! Ever adventurous, I picked up some burgundy carrots at the farmers’ market which stained the cellophane noodles a purplish hue. Heh.


A burgundy carrot is beautiful to behold but watch out–the color bleeds!

Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 servings over rice as a main course

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
I clove garlic, chopped
1 Asian shallot, sliced
4 ounces pork shoulder or loin, sliced into bite-sized pieces (or chopped raw shrimp)
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 ounces cellophane noodles, soaked in warm water and drained
1 small luffa squash (8 ounces)
Water or stock
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Salt and white pepper

In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until runny and ripply. Stir in the garlic and shallot and fry until fragrant, about 30 to 45 seconds.

Add the carrot and toss for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pork and toss until the meat loses its blush, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the luffa and mix well. Add the cellophane noodles followed by 2/3 cup water. Add fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. The dish is done when the cellophane noodles are completely transparent, the carrots are soft, and the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup, 2 to 3 minutes. The dish should be rather soupy but use your discretion and reduce the liquid further or add more water.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.


Pickling Workshop at La Cocina, SF

Last Sunday, I conducted my very first cooking class/workshop in San Francisco. It was organized by Slow Food SF and held at La Cocina, an incubator kitchen for low income minority women.

The series was aptly titled “Grandmother Workshops” and the goal was to teach people the traditional culinary skills our grandmothers used to teach us. Obviously, you needn’t be a grandmother to teach a workshop.

My chosen topic was pickles: kimchi, Chinese cucumber and carrot pickle and asinan buah (Indonesian fruit salad, see below).

The days leading up to the workshop was a flurry of activity shopping for the right ingredients, not so easy when you don’t live in a metropolitan city. Fortunately a small Korean-owned market in Seaside proffered red pepper powder, the one ingredient I thought would be most difficult to find.

When I got to San Francisco, I stayed with my friend Angeline who was my chauffer, helper and photographer (yup, she took all the pictures on this page) all rolled into one. I owe you one, Ange!

On Saturday, I scoured Chinatown for some fresh produce. While I was lugging daikon, jicama, cabbage and the like up and down Grant Street, Angie and my hubby went for foot reflexology and a full body massage respectively (I am in no way bitter about that, of course).

me and sugars

Prepping for the class

On Sunday, we got to La Cocina an hour early to prep. The large cavernous space comprises 2 sections, 4 work stations, even more sinks, several industrial-sized burners, an industrial-sized mixer, and a massive dishwasher, just to name a few accoutrements I saw.

By 3 o’clock, about 25 people had filled the room. I talked a little about pickling in general and the ingredients we would be using.


Everyone had different reasons for coming. One gentleman really wanted to learn how to make kimchi and requested that straight out. My second cousin came because she wanted to see me (or so I’d like to think). A science teacher thought that pickling might be a fun food science lesson to teach her students.

Soon, the sound of (knife) blade to (chopping) board reverberated throughout the space and informal chatter invaded the kitchen. I walked around making sure everyone knew what they were doing.

pickle mania

Pickle mania!

The communal pickle pot was the first to fill with the assortment of vegetables everyone brought. This we pickled using the same brine as the Chinese pickles. Some students worked on the kimchi and others tackled the jicama and pineapple for the asinan.

kimchi making2

Massaging the chili paste into the vegetables to make kimchi

There was some bickering over the vegetable peelers (we only had 3!) and we ran out of ginger and vinegar halfway. It was also hard to be heard with the banging of pots and pans in the next room and because of the echo-y space. And yes, there was chaos; as my friend said, “hands-on workshops are always a handful.”

In the end, everyone seemed to have a great time. I believe that the asinan was hands down the favorite. When everyone was filling their take home jars, that was the first to disappear.

As for me, I had lots of fun and it was definitely a learning experience.

Indonesian Fruit Salad (Asinan Buah)


The communal pickle pot is on the left and the asinan is on the right

There are two versions of asinan, this one with chunks of fruit and (fruitlike) vegetables and another with a medley of vegetables–carrots, cucumbers and cabbage–and showered with roasted peanuts. This is my favorite, eaten as a refreshing snack on a hot, sunny day. Indonesian palm sugar might be a little difficult to find. Substitute Thai palm sugar or seek out Sweet Tree Sustainable Sweeteners evaporated palm sugar which I found at Whole Foods.

Time: 20 minutes
Makes 4 servings

2 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 ounces)
1 large firm mango, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 small (about 8 ounces) jicama (Mexican turnip), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (about 2 ounces) chopped Indonesian palm sugar
1 fresh, long red chili (like Holland or Fresno), pounded with a mortar and pestle or chopped in a food processor into confetti-sized bits, or 1 teaspoon bottled chili paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Place the fruit and vegetables in a colander over the sink to remove excess liquids.

Place the palm sugar, chili and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and vinegar and stir well. Let it cool.

When the dressing is cool, tumble the fruit and vegetables into the bowl and toss. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

As grandma always says, please share!

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Indian Chicken Wings

Chicken wings were one of my favorite childhood snacks: baked, grilled, or fried, it didn’t matter. I’d gnaw on the wing tips until all the flavor and what little meat and skin were on ‘em was sucked off!

So when Monica Bhide asked me to cook her Indian chicken wings recipe from her new cookbook Modern Spice as part of a virtual bloggers dinner, I was happy to oblige!

indianchx2 by you.

Sprinkling chaat masala over the tasty wings

Now the recipe called for an optional garnish of chaat masala, a spice blend that is sprinkled onto snacks and used in aloo chaat. Unless you live near a South Asian market, it might be a little hard to find. So I devised a do-it-yourself version using whatever spices you can find.

Mix and Match Chaat Masala

Chaat masala is available as a ready mix at South Asian markets for about $1 but if you aren’t able to find it, make your own. It may seem like there are 101 ingredients and yes the ingredient list is lengthy, but if you’re a spice fiend like me, you might already have quite a few of the ingredients in your pantry. Aside from cumin seeds and coriander seeds which I always have on hand, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to put the dried mango powder, black salt, and asafetida powder I had received as gifts to good use! Of course, there are also 101 recipes for chaat masala but that’s the beauty of it—you can mix and match to your taste.

2 tablespoons dried mango powder (amchoor)
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons black salt (kala namak)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

As many of the following ingredients you can find:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds (lovage or bishop’s weed)
1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder (hing)
1/4 teaspoon ground dried mint
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Toast the whole spices separately in a small dry cast iron skillet for 1 to 3 minutes, or until they are fragrant and turn a shade or two darker. Don’t let them burn! Grind them individually into a fine powder.

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Happily Sprouted: What a difference a tail, or rather no tail, makes

When I was a little girl, I hated mung bean sprouts, which we call “tauge” in Indonesian or “dou ya” (literally “bean sprout”) in Mandarin. At the market, they’re often labeled simply bean sprouts.

It had nothing to do with their bland flavor or the weird crunchy yet porous texture of their skinny white bodies (mung bean sprouts have a high water content), but everything to do with the fact that I was always roped in to snap the tails off these little buggers.

Yes, with their tails off, mung bean sprouts look neat and tidy and taste a whole lot better (if you’ve ever had any straggly, stringy and musky-tasting bits in your mouth, you’ll know what I mean) but it was a childhood chore that I didn’t quite enjoy when I could’ve been outside riding my bike or catching spiders in the drain.



Now that I’m an adult, I do appreciate the aesthetics and the texture of a tail-less sprout, especially since I can buy them already washed and tail-free. In fact, I am offended every time a restaurant serves me sprouts with their tails still intact (which happens quite often at the Vietnamese hole-in-the-walls I tend to frequent).

Just as the name implies, mung bean sprouts come from–wait for it–mung beans, also known as mung, moong, mash bean, green gram, etc. Remember those science experiments in elementary school? Boy, do I remember them! I remember cushioning a handful of green mung beans on a bed of cotton wool soaked with water and sticking them on a warm window sill to germinate. Within days, the beans’ hard shells would split and tiny sprouts would start poking out. What a thrill! I never tried eating them though (I learned earlier on in life that science experiments are not meant to be eaten).

There are no lack of culinary uses for mung bean sprouts. They’re often stir fried with garlic and ginger, or the way I like it, with pieces of salted dried fish. Fresh bean sprouts are rolled into Vietnamese spring rolls and are used as a garnish for phở and numerous soup or dry noodle dishes in many Asian cultures. They’re tossed into fried noodles (think Singapore char kway teow and Hokkien mee) and in Korean cuisine, they’re blanched and seasoned with sesame oil, garlic and salt and served as banchan.

Don’t confuse mung beans sprouts with soybean sprouts—they have bigger, droopier heads–which are popular in Korea.

Because of their high water content, mung bean sprouts get slimy, and inedible, quickly. Store them in the crisper for no more than 2 days after purchasing.

Stir-Fried Mung Bean Sprouts with Tofu and Chives (Pad Tao Kua Tao Ngae)

stir fried mung bean sprouts with tofu and chives by you.

This is another dish that Pranee kindly showed me how to make. Together with pork and chives, the combination of soft and fried tofu plays a fun game of textures in the mouth. Don’t worry about cutting the tofu to the exact measurements, they are only a guide. Just as long as the pieces are bite-sized and manageable in the wok, you’re good to go! Vegetarians can omit the pork for a tasty and nutritious protein-rich dish.

Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 to 6 servings as part of a multicourse family-style meal

4 ounces pork loin
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
6 ounces (about 1/2 package) soft tofu (not silken), cut into 1- by 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces (about ½ package) 1- by 1 1/2-inch fried tofu pieces
4 cups fresh mung bean sprouts, tails snapped off
3 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 cup Chinese chives cut into 2-inch lengths
Ground white pepper

Chinese chives are a little fatter than regular chives and skinnier than green onions

Handle the pork partially frozen so that it is easier to cut (if it’s fresh, place in the freezer for about 30 minutes). Cut the pork along the grain into 1 1/2-inch-thick strips. Then, with your knife at an angle almost parallel to the cutting surface, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Preheat a large wok or skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Swirl in the oil and heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and cook until golden and fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Throw in the pork and stir and cook until the meat just loses its blush, about 2 minutes. Add both types of tofu, followed by the bean sprouts. Sprinkle with the soy sauce and sugar and toss gently for 1 minute, being careful not to break up the soft tofu. Add the chives and white pepper and stir everything swiftly, but gently, around the wok.

Chinese chives are thrown into the mix

Once the ingredients are heated through, about 1 minute, remove from the heat. Serve with freshly steamed rice.

As grandma always says, please share!

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Paneer Magic

paneer cubes by you.

Paneer cut into cubes

Everyone has their day dreams.

Mine begins at dawn with me stirring a vat of creamy white milk. Sleep still heavy on my eyelids, my face is flushed from the delicate tendrils of warmth rising from the freshly-milked liquid which not so long ago still resided inside the goats bleating just outside the barnyard door …

…bzztt … it’s back to reality.

I have to admit that I’m not obsessed with making cheese, just with the romantic notion of being a farmstead fromagier–living on a farm, raising some goats, and not having to pay through my nose for some yummy chevre, minus the cleaning of kaka and all that good stuff of course.

However, a chance meeting–in the form of a gentle sari-wearing lady named Sangita Chawila–got me very excited about cheese-making. Sangita showed me how easy it was to make paneer, the mild, creamy Indian cheese that makes its way into everything from saag paneer to paneer-stuffed tikis (potato cutlets).

With Sangita’s simple method, everyday non-cheese-making people like you and me can make cheese in under an hour! If you can boil milk and squeeze limes, you’re already a natural paneer-making machine. How cool is that?

Homemade Paneer

Instead of lime juice, you can make paneer with lemon juice or vinegar. After draining, the paneer is crumbly like ricotta cheese and makes for a delicious snack with apples or bananas and sweetened with honey or sugar.

Makes: 5 ounces of paneer

1 quart whole milk

2 tablespoons lime juice (1 lime), or more as needed

In a large, nonreactive, wide-mouthed pot, bring milk to a gentle boil (the larger the pot the better so that the milk will not overflow). Stir often to prevent scorching at the bottom of the pot. If the pot starts to overflow, whisk it off the stove. Otherwise you’ll have a big, foaming mess and cleaning milk from inside your stove is no joke–I know!

As the milk starts to gurgle, watch diligently that it doesn’t overflow the pot!

Once the milk starts bubbling, add the lime juice and stir continuously for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the spongy white curds start to separate from the sea-green whey (just like magic!). If the curds don’t separate, or the whey isn’t clear, add more lime juice and keep stirring. It will happen eventually.

IMG_5484 by you.

Curdling milk–not always a welcome sight but in this case …

Turn off the heat and let it rest for ten minutes to complete the coagulation process.

IMG_5487 by you.

Paneer up close; can you see the sea-green whey in the background?

Pour the curds and whey into a colander lined with fine cheesecloth. Place a bowl beneath the colander if you’d like to collect the whey and save it for making roti, curry, or rice. (After this step, you can use the paneer in a recipe that uses crumbly cheese or eat it immediately.)

IMG_5500 by you.

Drained paneer curds

Gently wring out as much whey as possible. Tie up the opposite ends of the cheesecloth and hang the bundle around the faucet and drain into the sink for 1 hour. With the cheese still wrapped in cheesecloth, flatten it to about half-an-inch thick and shape it into a disc or a square. Sandwich the cheese between a chopping board and a heavy book and leave for another hour.

IMG_5504 by you.

Curds and whey or rather, whey and curds

Discard any remaining liquid and unwrap the cheese from the cheesecloth. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut it into 1-inch cubes and fry gently in oil, or use in your favorite recipe.

Pat’s notes:

To make creamier paneer, you can add heavy whipping cream to the milk to make up for the cream/fat lost during processing of milk sold in the U.S.

If you can get unpasteurized, unhomogenized (i.e. raw) milk, all the better.

As grandma always says, please share!

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Savory Pancakes, However You Like It

IMG_3731 by you.

Whenever I dine at a Korean restaurant I never fail to order seafood pancake or haemul jeon, chunks of shrimp, squid and the odd bell pepper or green onion nestled in a tasty, savory cushion of a pancake. So when I received a copy of The Korean Table-From Barbecue to Bibimbap, 100 Easy-To-Prepare Recipes by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels (Tuttle Publishing, 20008) I was pleasantly surprised that it was so simple to make.

Korean pancakes can be filled with seafood, kimchi or vegetables like zucchini or green onions. It’s so versatile and an easy and delicious one-dish meal Korean mothers and grandmothers can make in minutes. I just scrounged around in my fridge and came up with my own version based on Chung’s recipe.

Korean Pancakes (Jeon)

Adapted from The Korean Table-From Barbecue to Bibimbap, 100 Easy-To-Prepare Recipes by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels (Tuttle Publishing, 2008)IMG_3720 by you.
In Chung’s recipe, rice flour adds texture for crispy edges while leaving the middle slightly chewy but even if you omit it, the pancakes will still be tasty. Aim for a consistency that’s between a crepe and American pancake batter. The batter should coat the back of a spoon and drip down in a thick stream. Ingredients like seafood or zucchini will introduce water into the batter so start with a little less water first before adding more to achieve desired consistency. I’ve never been good at flipping pancakes and omelets. If you’re like me, feel free to divide up the batter into smaller portions and make smaller pancakes.

Makes 2 large pancakes

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup rice flour
1 1/2 cups water
Half a small head of Chinese (napa) cabbage, cut into strips (about 2 to 3 cups)
1 small onion, cut into thin slices
1/4 pound bacon, cut into julienne strips
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup soy dipping sauce (recipe follows)

In a large mixing bowl, mix the all purpose and rice flours with water.

Blanch the cabbage in boiling water and squeeze dry in a cheesecloth. Fluff them up.  

Add the cabbage, onion and bacon into the batter and mix well.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat for 30 seconds. Pour half the batter evenly into the skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancake and press down on the pancake with a spatula to flatten it.

Cook until the pancake is golden brown and the edges are crisp. Turn and press the pancake 2 to 3 more times until the pancake is cooked through.

Transfer the pancake to a serving platter and keep warm in a low oven.

Repeat with remaining batter.

To serve, cut each pancake into bite-sized pieces and serve with soy-green onion dipping sauce.

Soy and Green Onion Dipping Sauce

This sauce keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator, up to 1 week at most, if you leave the green onions out.  Add them only when ready to serve. Serve extras with fresh greens or pan-fried tofu.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons Korean coarse pepper flakes
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
2 green onions, chopped

Whisk everything together in a bowl.

Thanksgiving Stuffing the Chinese Way

IMG_1276 by you.


I can’t believe it’s only 3 weeks to Thanksgiving.


My husband and I will be celebrating our first Thanksgiving in California but my whole family–parents, sister, and brother with his wife and two boys in tow–is driving down from Seattle to pay us a visit in Pacific Grove. It’ll be crazy-busy times but I’m sure I won’t mind. I miss having my family just minutes away (my hubby, not so much).

Although I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, over the years, the annual ensemble of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce has grown on me. I’ve realized that turkey doesn’t always have to taste like cardboard (darn those dorm dining hall meals). In fact, a deep fried turkey comes out so moist and juicy, usually-bland breast meat isn’t objectionable to my dark-meat loving palate. I have also learned that just about anything, including miraculous just-add-water from-powder-to-mush mashed potatoes (trust Betty Crocker to come up with instant mashed potatoes), when drowned in gravy and cranberry sauce can be edible.

And of course, there’s a never-ending succession of Thanksgiving recipes unfurled year after year in magazines, on TV and on the World Wide Web to help the impassioned cook present yet another winning holiday menu. If you’re cracking your head trying to figure out what to make for this year’s gathering, try Pearl Fong’s delicious Chinese-American stuffing recipe. It is probably adapted from the Cantonese dish called lo mai gai: glutinous rice, black mushrooms, and Chinese sausage wrapped in a dried lotus leaf and steamed. (An aside: Before seeing this recipe in my manuscript, my editor had assumed his mom invented this dish!)

Whatever I end up preparing for my Thanksgiving table, I will give thanks for family, friends, peace where I live, and the very fact that I can actually put food, even a feast, on the table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sticky Rice Stuffing (Naw Mai Fun)

IMG_1275 by you.

Many Chinese-American families have incorporated this Chinese-style sticky rice stuffing into their Thanksgiving tradition, serving it right alongside turkey. However, the turkey is not always roasted. Instead, it may be steamed, which is the traditional way chicken or duck is cooked. Pearl Fong’s rice stuffing recipe blends both traditional Thanksgiving ingredients (chestnuts) with traditional Chinese ones (water chestnuts) to create a side dish that is delicious anytime of the year.

Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (45 minutes active)
Makes: 8 to 10 servings as part of a multicourse family-style meal

1 1/2 cups sticky rice
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 3/4 cup water or chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 (about 6 ounces) Chinese sausages, steamed and cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
8 medium dried black mushrooms, rehydrated and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (reserve the soaking liquid)
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) peeled and chopped water chestnuts
15 (about 4 ounces) peeled, cooked chestnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Put the sticky rice and long grain rice in a large pot and wash well. Drain and add 3 3/4 cups fresh cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 1 hour.

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Fry the onions until they’re soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Set the pot of rice on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the water is almost completely absorbed.

Place all the prepared ingredients on top of the rice and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the steam to cook the rice.

After 15 to 20 minutes, add the remaining salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. Stir from the bottom to distribute the ingredients. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until the rice is tender but not mushy; the grains should still be separated. If the rice is still hard, make a well in the center of the pot and add a little water, stock, or mushroom liquid. Raise the heat to high to generate more steam, then reduce and cook a few more minutes.

Moisten the rice stuffing with turkey drippings and/or chicken stock and serve as a side dish with your cooked turkey.

Pat’s notes:
One key ingredient is glutinous rice (also called sticky rice, naw mai [Cantonese], or malagkit [Tagalog]). You can find both white and black glutinous rice at Asian stores. To avoid confusion, remember that raw glutinous rice is fat and opaque, while long grain rice is skinny and translucent. Once cooked, however, glutinous rice turns translucent and clumps together much more instead of separating as regular long grain rice does.