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Fragrant Rice, Hakka Style

Rice, Noodles, and Other Grain Foods

Fragrant Rice, Hakka Style
2 cups jasmine rice (eight ounces)
2 ounces Chinese bacon, or one additional Chinese sausage
1 Chinese sausage (about two ounces)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup thin evenly sliced shallots
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Place the rice in a two quart clay pot or a heavy metal saucepan. Cover the rice with two and three-quarters cups of water and swish the rice with your hands until the water is very cloudy; then carefully pour off most of the water and repeat until the water is just slightly cloudy, doing this two or three more times. Holding the rice back with your hand to drain off all the water, or pour the rice and water into a wire strainer to drain it and return the rice to pot.
2. Next, level the rice and add the two and three quarters cups of water and cook this rice over high heat, uncovered, until most of the water has evaporated and the surface of the rice is exposed, seven to ten minutes.
3. Cut the bacon crosswise and as thinly as possible, and thin slice the sausage crosswise. Sprinkle the sausage and bacon evenly over the partially cooked rice, cover, and cook over low heat until the rice is tender and the meat is hot, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Next, uncover and continue cooking until the bottom is toasted and slightly crisp, about three to five minutes more, before removing the pot from the heat.
4. Meanwhile, set an eight- to ten-inch fry pan over medium-high heat, and when hot, add oil and cook until it ripples. Then add the shallots and stir for two to three minutes until they are golden, and then remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
5. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt, and just before serving, drizzle this sauce mixture evenly over the rice. Sprinkle with the fried shallots, and stir lightly scraping the pan bottom to remove and put the chunks of crisp crust on top; then spoon the rice into individual bowls, and serve.
Note: Cooking is slower and gentler in a clay pot lightly coated with vegetable oil. I use a heat diffuser on electric burners and serve six people as part of a multi-course meal.

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