Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recipe for Family Night

Have you ever had sticky rice? If you ever eat sushi, it's the kind of rice they use when they make sushi rolls (if it's rolled in rice instead of sea weed or masago)!

A couple of weeks ago, we had all the kids together after not having all four of them at the same time for a while. We wanted to celebrate with a Family Night with a dinner everyone could agree on and watch one of our favorite shows: The Next Iron Chef - Super Chefs. We'd been recording it since the first episode aired, but were waiting for the bigs to watch it!

Have you ever had sticky rice on its own, or with Chinese sausage? If you haven't, you are missing out! It's a favorite around our house, with all the kids and all the grown-ups!

And you know what? I'm going to show you how to make it.

First you need to make a trip to an Asian market. Our favorite is Nam-Hai Oriental Food Market near 21st & Garnett. Keep in mind you're visiting an Asian market, not an American one. It will not smell like Pine-Sol and air fresheners. It will smell like fish and Asian spices, and everything is squished in. If you've been to China, India, or another non western country, it will make sense. If not, trust me; it's fine, and it's a cultural experience!

You'll need rice, not regular long grain white rice, or even basmati rice. It needs to say Thai Sweet Rice on it. This is what it will look like - my apologies it's not in the commercial bag. Often, they sell it by the pound in an unmarked bag, but sometimes it is pre-packaged. You can see the grains are bigger than your standard long grain rice, and the color is not bright white. If you can't find it, ask someone for "sweet rice" or "sticky rice." 

Then you need some sausage. No Eckridge for this dish; save that for your chili and red beans and rice! No, for this recipe you need a second ingredient from the Asian market: Chinese Style Sausage. It looks like this:

You're also going to need a basket and pot to cook the rice in. They look like this, and you can also find them in the Asian market:

Start by soaking your rice at least 8 hours. Use about a pound of rice to one package of sausage. This time we doubled it. Put your rice in a large bowl and cover with water. You'll see the water get cloudy and this is good; it's just the starch being drawn out of the rice. This is what it will look like after soaking.

Once your rice has soaked and you're ready to start cooking, you'll need to get water boiling in your pot. You need enough water in the pot to steam the rice through the basket, but not enough to touch the bottom of the basket. Here's my not-so-fancy trick for measuring the water.

Place the basket in the pot with no water in it, and put your thumb on the basket where it meets the top of the pot.

Then take it out and hold it up next to the pot, level to where it was sitting inside the pot. Take note of where the bottom of the basket is hovering and that will be the top of your water fill line. Make sure to stay just below it so your basket is not sitting in the boiling water.

Put that on the stove on high, and start chopping up your sausage. We like to chop it at an angle, though I don't think it necessarily matters all that much.

Place that sausage in the basket, which is in the pot where the water is heating up.

Take the basket out of the pot for a minute and place it in the sink. Pour your whole bowl of rice into it, on top of the sausage, letting the water run through the basket.

Then put your basket with sausage and rice back into your pot of water and place a lid over top. If you don't happen to have a lid the right size, you could always use foil.

While Marc and I cooked (rather, he cooked and I snapped pics), the kids were super chilled out, watching some Disney movie about a chihuahua.

Before you know it, the water is boiling! The pot will begin to shake and that's normal. Aidan says it looks like it waddles like a penguin on fire!

Let it boil for a good 40 minutes or so, the longer the better. When the rice is done, it will ball up and stick together when you run a fork or your fingers through it, like this:

Ready to serve! Now, get a large serving platter, and dump the basket upside down to turn out your rice and sausage.

Then you'll need some Thai Sweet Chili sauce, which you can also find at the Asian market, but a lot of American supermarkets carry it as well.

Let's eat!

No utensils required! This is a meal where you get to play with your food. Pinch off a bit of rice, squish it into a ball, grab a piece of sausage, dunk and eat - yum!

And go ahead - play with your food! This is a sausage burger with a sticky rice bun.

And this is a volcano!

Dinner done, and Marc started making dessert. Chop up some fresh mangoes.

Put some of that sweet, sticky rice in a skillet with some half and half,

Stir, and add in a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract.

Then top with those delicious mangoes!

And you have a delicious tapioca-like dessert!

On to baths for the kiddos and our show! Finally!

Of course, as soon as they saw the camera, the bigs scrambled. So, since we're all about being a family and loving each other and showing kindness and patience with each other on family night, I promptly yelled at them and threw a fit about them sitting still and not whining about ONE picture...

since I'm so mature...

...and then snuck one from behind!

Hey, no body's perfect, right?

Here's to my imperfect family and a wonderful evening in the hive!

Love and Honey,

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