The other day I was craving some of my mom's sticky rice and called her up to ask for the recipe. This is how awesome my mom is: She was able to tell me how to make it right then and there without looking anything up! She was excited to share this new technique she developed where she first par-cooks the sweet rice and then bakes it off in a casserole dish instead of using a rice cooker. Apparently, when you use a rice cooker, the sticky rice can get too mushy—but when using this technique it's always "QQ," or chewy.
Instead of cooking the aromatics in a different pan and then transferring everything into a casserole dish, I just used my Dutch oven (don't know how I lived without this baby!). If you don't have one, just transfer the rice to a casserole dish with a lid, or do what my mom does and cover it with aluminum foil.
My mom usually makes this with pork or chicken, but I decided to make it with Chinese sausage (which I guess makes it more Cantonese than Taiwanese). You can find the Chinese sausage and fried shallots (sometimes labelled fried red onions) in a Chinese grocery store. If you like cilantro, it makes a great topping, but if you don't, it still tastes great without it. For a little kick, I highly recommend serving it with some sweet chili sauce. —Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy
Test Kitchen Notes
Comfort food varies depending on what corner of the world we're in. But wherever in the world we are, this is comfort. The sticky rice, with bits of Chinese sausage and the depth of sesame oil, make this a dish to keep in the books. The recipe makes quite a large serving, perfect for a big family or leftovers all week. Thanks for introducing this to us! —Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
Soak the sweet rice and mushrooms in room temperature water for an hour. The mushrooms will float, so place a lid or dish on top to weigh them down.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Start boiling 4 cups of water in a large pot.
Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms and cut off the stems. Slice the mushroom caps and set aside.
Drain the rice and add to the boiling water. Make sure that the water covers the rice, adding more water if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until almost all the water is absorbed. The rice will have plumped but won't be soft yet.
In the meantime, heat up the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for a few minutes, until the fat is rendered out but the sausage still hasn't browned. Add the mushrooms and fried shallots and stir-fry for about a minute or two. Add the rice wine, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil and mix well.
Add the rice to the Dutch oven. Mix very well so that the rice is the same color throughout. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Fluff and serve with cilantro and sweet chili sauce, if desired.