Sizzling Rice Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4-6

Appears in

There are few ingredients which complement and enhance the natural flavour of a good homemade rich chicken stock better than a crispy rice crust. When this simple dish comes to the dining table and the hot toasty crust meets the liquid soup, it all sizzles and steams dramatically.

You need first to make the rice cake as directed for Crackling Rice Crisps with Dipping Sauce. Do not use ‘easy-cook’ rice for this dish because it does not have enough starch to form a crust; use long-grain white rice. If you use vegetable stock, you can turn this soup into a spectacular vegetarian treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity rice cake
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) groundnut oil

For the Soup

  • 25 g (1 oz) Chinese dried black mushrooms
  • 225 g (8 oz) firm beancurd
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
  • 100 g (4 oz) frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded spring onions
  • tablespoons light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

For the Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions, green tops only
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method

After making the rice cake, soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems and finely shred the caps into thin strips. Rinse the beancurd well in cold water and blot dry with kitchen paper. Cut the beancurd into 1-cm (½-in) pieces.

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pan, add the mushrooms and beancurd and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Then add the peas, spring onions, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the garnishing spring onions and sesame oil and ladle the soup into a large tureen.

Now you are ready to fry the rice cake. Heat a wok or deep-fryer until it is hot. Add the 1.2 litres (2 pints) of oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, drop in a small piece of the dried rice cake to test the heat. It should bubble all over and immediately come up to the surface. Now deep-fry the pieces of rice cake for about 1-2 minutes until they puff up and brown slightly. Remove them immediately with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Then quickly transfer the pieces of hot rice cakes to a warm platter and drop the cakes into the soup. They should sizzle dramatically. Once you are skilled at preparing this dish, you can attempt to perform this trick at the dinner table. (The oil used for deep-frying the rice cake can be saved and re-used once it has cooled. Filter it through coffee filter papers before storing it.)

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