Sunday, 20 October 2013

Getting Flaky with the Rice!

Funghi Pleurotus ai 5-Spezie Asiatiche, con Fiocchi di Riso Croccante al Forno
5-Spice Oyster Mushrooms with Crispy, Roasted Rice-Flakes

This evening I finally discovered that the best use of Vietnamese rice-flakes is! Pardon me for using this abbreviation- but OMG! This was a revelation and a half, because as well as being incredibly easy and a whole lot of fun... they actually became really delicious to eat this way! Who knew?!?

The main ingredient of this dish though, were of course the oyster mushrooms- nice, thick, juicy and wonderfully fresh from the market- but as usual, I picked them up because they looked lovely, but at the time I had absolutely no idea what I would do with them. And up until maybe 10 minutes before supper this evening, I still didn't have a clue!

It was just one of those things... I began to think it should be something Asian-inspired with the oyster mushrooms, as I had done an Italian dish of course with the Porcini last week. So I had a look through my Asian ingredients. Lots of rice and noodles of course. Even rice noodles. And then these... the ominous, triangular "rice flakes".

I have cooked these once before- and they were just fine. They have a bit of a slippery-slimy consistency, but obviously they just taste of rice and so that was okay in a stir-fry. They "filled me up" and that is also an important criteria when it comes to meal-time- haha! But to be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. Sigh. And yet, there they were, in my cupboard and waiting for a second chance and as it turns out, waiting for redemption...

I prepared them by soaking them in boiling water for 10 minutes. This softens them up of course, but also releases a lot of starch in the rice- which is a good thing, as it can then be poured-off and ensure that they will not be TOO sticky when they cook. Cooking entailed just 3 minutes of boiling, seasoning with a little salt, draining and then drizzling with just a little sesame oil- just enough to coat them lightly so that they didn't stick. Easy. I set them to one side and got busy with the mushrooms...

I first sliced up an onion and started it frying in a few drops of peanut oil, which meant I could use a high temperature, without the oil starting to smoke. As soon as the onion became translucent, I added the mushrooms, a hint of garlic, a little grated ginger and a little sesame oil for flavor. I stir-fried the mushrooms and onion together and when everything was nice and juicy and moist, added about a teaspoon of 5-spice powder, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a tablespoon of light soy sauce and a tablespoon of Sriracha chili sauce... what a wonderful aroma!

If I had had cilantro at home, I would have added that, but as I didn't, I added a handful of chopped parsley, just a splash of sherry and a little water, tossed the mushrooms through to get everything nicely and evenly distributed and then poured the mixture straight into an oven dish.

Finally, the rice flakes came into their own, as I laid them out on top of the juicy mushrooms in a nice even spread and gave them a final, light trickle of sesame oil... and with no further ado, pushed the dish into the oven and let it sit and bake away for 10 minutes or so at 350°F.

After 5 minutes or so, I began to notice a popping sound coming from the oven- and sure enough, you've guessed it, the rice-flakes had begun to come to life! Strangely, at first they softened up even more, but then they began to crisp-up, pop and gain a little color... how cool! To emphasize this, I turned on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes, added a sprinkle of sesame seeds... and wow! Talk about becoming wonderfully golden brown- and so crispy! What a surprise and what a nice treat!

I served them up with a sprinkle of parsley leaves and a drizzle of both Hoisin and Sriracha sauce- and although of course it did look very nice, the reality of the matter was that it tasted much, much better! The rice flakes were wonderfully, insanely crispy in some places, smooth and chewy in others... and combined with the rich oyster mushrooms, the Hoisin and the hot sauce- this was just a fun, good meal! And I can't wait to try out some other dish with these things soon! You should try them too!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment