Machang Time!

25 Jun

I’ve always loved Chinese food.  Mainly because Filipino food has deep Chinese cuisine roots and most Filipinos can claim some sort of Chinese ancestry.  One of my favourites is dim sum.  I love siu mai, or what we call siomai, char siu pao or siopao asado in Filipino and pancit, which is, essentially chow mein.  But one of the things I missed the most is what is called machang.  It was a curiousity for me when I was little.  It was this little pyramid that stood on the counters of the Maxim’s restaurants we used to frequent.  I thought they were little packages wrapped up in banana leaf.  Later on, when I worked up the courage to ask the waiting staff at Maxim’s, they kindly explained to me that it wasn’t a banana leaf wrapped around this delicious sticky rice triangle, but lotus leaf.

When I moved to London, it was fairly easy to get them…if I travelled to Chinatown in London.  And as was the case most of the time, it necessitated my learning how to cook this little dish that I loved so much.  I found a recipe that boasted that it was leafless lotus-leaf rice.  I thought it would be great to try it because if it tastes the same without the lotus leaf, well, then it would be definitely worth learning as lotus leaf wasn’t the easiest thing to come by in these parts of Blighty!

After several attempts, I am proud to say that I’ve managed to perfect my version of machang rice.  So if you’re one of the glutinous rice fans as well but can’t find them nearby, you’ll find that this is a dead-easy version.  If I remember my mother’s cupboard stocks, the only probably difficult thing to get is the Chinese rice wine and maybe Chinese sausage.  But the rest are relatively accessible.  Hey, if I can get these things in England, am sure you can get it in Manila! 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Leafless Lotus-Leaf Glutinous Rice with Chicken and Chinese SausageIngredients

  • 300g glutinous rice
  • 400g chicken skinless thigh fillets, deboned and cubed
  • 200g chinese sausage, cut into small disks
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic crushed)
  • 75g dried chinese mushrooms
  • 3 liters chicken stock
  • 1 liter boiling water

Directions

  1. Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and soak for 3 hours.  The mushrooms will expand and soften.  Once the water is cool chop the mushrooms into slivers.  Put aside.  Save the water as well.
  2. Saute the chinese sausage until the edges crisp up slightly.  Add the chicken and sautee until chicken pieces become white in colour.  Add garlic powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar and pepper. Allow chicken pieces to absorb the flavours and add the mushroom water.  Cover pan and simmer for 10minutes.
  3. Add the glutinous rice.  Allow the rice to absorb the liquid.
  4. Transfer the rice mixture to a rice cooker and mix in the chicken stock.  Cook until the rice has expanded and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 as a side dish.

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