Rice Crumbs

Rice crumbs are the Chinese counterpart of bread crumbs. They are seasoned and mixed into ground meats to improve texture and flavor, and they are used as a light, flavorful coating for steamed foods. Rice crumbs, always used crushed, go particularly well with pork, which takes slow cooking and allows the flavor of the crumbs to develop fully, but they may be used with beef, fish, and chicken as well. The crumbs can be made ahead and stored in a tightly covered jar at room temperature indefinitely, ready to be used at any time.

Our favorite rice crumbs are made with citrus peel, five-spice powder, and peppercorns, combined and browned to release their flavor, then pulverized to a texture like that of coarse cornmeal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice
  • 2 pieces dried citrus peel
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients in a dry wok.

  2. Over moderate heat, toast and stir the rice until it browns.

  3. Wrap the rice and seasonings in a towel.

  4. Crush the rice with a mallet. This can also be done in a blender or a food processor, but take care not to overprocess the rice to a powder. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal.

  5. Store the aromatic mixture in a covered jar.

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