One of my favourite Christmas memories is my Mom's turkey. Her turkey is not quite your typical Christmas dish. It is turkey with a Chinese twist! The secret lies in the stuffing, which was made from sticky rice and Chinese sausage. This is a quintessential flavour of Christmas in our family.
This salad is a take on my Mom's turkey stuffing. I love using wild rice because of it's nuttier and sweeter flavour over white or brown varieties. Of course, if wild rice isn't a usual in your pantry, this recipe works just as well with any rice you may have lurking around, including leftover takeout rice. Lap cheong is Chinese sausage, and if you've never had it before, it's delicately sweet, extra-fatty and supremely tasty. It is easily available at your local Asian grocery (some is gluten free, some is not- read the labels if this is a concern for your family).
Topped off with punchy celery, an extra-special crunchy topping and Asian-style marinade, this salad is sure to be a hit at your Christmas table. Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, spicy... the textures and flavours make this a full celebration on a fork!
What you need:
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs white miso
1 tbs honey
1/4 cup olive oil, for dressing and cooking
1.5 cups raw wild rice, cooked per packet instructions, then ideally chilled overnight
5-6 lap cheong, sliced thinly on the diagonal
3 celery stalks, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
Ideally, this recipe works best with rice that has been chilled. If you can, prepare your rice the day before. Alternatively, it's a great recipe to use up your leftover takeout rice.
Make the dressing by whisking the chillies, vinegar, miso, honey and 1 tbs of the olive oil in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a couple tbs of olive oil in a flat pan on medium heat. When shimmering, add chilled rice and press into a flat, even layer. Don't stir, and cook until the underside is very crisp. Break the rice pancake into pieces and flip. Continue to cook until the other side is crispy as well. Season to taste and transfer to a large bowl. Roughly break up the rice.
Using the same pan, heat another couple tbs of olive oil. Cook the sausages and celery, stirring occasionally only. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the celery and sausage are brown in some parts. Remove the celery and sausages and put into the same bowl as the rice.
Using the same pan, heat the remaining oil on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Season to taste.
Return rice, celery and sausage to the pan and toss for about a minute.
Remove from heat, and put the mixture back into the large bowl. Toss with the dressing and peanuts.
Garnish with extra celery leaves and enjoy!