Savory Rice Balls

SAVORY RICE BALLS Nuo Mi Fan SERVES 8 AS AN HORS D’OEUVRE

Sticky rice studded with Chinese sausages and black mushrooms makes a great stuffing for roasted duck or a Thanksgiving turkey. But this stuffing can also be sculpted into mini rice balls (almost like dim sum) for passed hors d’oeuvres at cocktail gatherings.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups uncooked sticky rice


2 tablespoons soy sauce


2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

6 large dried black mushrooms

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1 teaspoon sugar


5 tablespoons minced shallots


4 links Chinese smoked sausage (lap cheong), cut into small dice

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Rinse the rice thoroughly in a sieve, drain it well, and then place it in a medium bowl. Add cold water to cover and let the rice soak for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Drain the rice thoroughly and place it in a rice cooker on the sticky rice setting. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, and steam until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and add hot water to cover. Let them soak for about 30 minutes, until softened. Then drain and slice them into thin strips.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the sugar, shallots, mushrooms, and sausages and stir-fry until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the cooked rice into the sausage mixture. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature, or until it is not too hot to touch.

Mold the rice mixture into 1-inch balls, wetting your hands with cold water after forming each ball to prevent stickiness. Spread the finished balls on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap for up to 30 minutes until ready to serve. If desired, garnish with cilantro just before serving.