I first had sizzling rice soup when I followed my heart out to the Bay Area, CA the summer after my freshman year of college in the early 90's. On a sunny summer afternoon I was treated to a wonderful lunch at a great Chinese restaurant, and was served my first bowl of steaming sizzling rice soup. The strong memory of the rice crackling & sizzling when it hit the hot soup, and the texture of the chewy rice with the flavorful broth, lingers still. I'd eaten quite a bit of Chinese food in my life, but this soup didn't seem to have made it to the east coast in the early 90's, at least not anywhere I had been. I loved it, and 20 years later (wow!!) that is just about all I remember of the whole meal.
I have seen sizzling rice soup on a few east coast menus, but it's still not common east coast restaurant fare. A year or so ago, while in one of the many good asian markets, I am very thankful exist in New Haven, I saw this package of "instant sizzling rice", I snatched it up, brought it home, and it sat in my cabinet for over a year. Since funds have been low recently, I have needed to cook my way through every random ingredient and dry bean in my cabinet, so eventually I got to these.
It had not occurred to me until I googled sizzling rice soup just before starting dinner, that the rice needs to be deep fried before being added to the soup. I may not have bought it if I had known, but I had it, and a bit of oil too, so why not. They cook up in about 15 seconds, and the oil needs to be seriously hot, about 450 degrees, so the rice doesn't absorb much oil.
Sizzling rice cakes originated as the dry crispy rice stuck on the bottom of a cooking pot. Many rice-loving cultures have a name or dish for this crispy delicious rice. In Dominican communities it is called Concón, another fabulous culinary creation.
For this soup I just made a simple clear broth soup with some turkey stock that was in the freezer from Thanksgiving. I added some slices of ginger, a little soy sauce, kale, tofu and some sweet potato. I sprinkled some delicious sambar curry powder on the crispy rice before adding it to the soup. Totally not traditional sizzling rice soup, but it was good and fun.
Do you have any good winter soups that you love? Or Chinese New Year treats you want to share?