Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)

Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)

So the other day I was messing around on Zhihu,
the Chinese equivalent of Quora, and there was an interesting thread over there that
spawned a ton of discussion. The OP asked what everyone thought the best
xianfancai or “over rice dish” was, and the sheer diversity of responses was like
overwhelming in an awesome way. It actually made me think back to when I saw
like the exact same thread over on Reddit… it’s just one of those things I guess that
people can get fanatical about the world over. And I mean… why not? Over rice dishes can be super simple, they
can also be more involved… but either way are like the aesthetic ideal of a one-person
meal. So we wanted to show you three different “over
rice” dishes today. First being a simple saucy diced pork and
mushroom dish called xianggu rouding, then moving on to steamed squash and black soybean
because I mean it’s.. technically still autumn, and finally finishing up with an absurdly
dirt simple rice with Lao Gan Ma chili crisp that I guess more of a college student-style
slap-stuff-together meal than a proper dish per se… but might actually be our personal
favorite xiafancai of the bunch. Now, we have do an obvious tendency to share
some pretty intense recipes on this channel, but we felt the whole essence of an over rice
dish is something that could be whipped up on a weeknight. So for this video we gave ourselves a time
limit. Our rice cooker cooks rice in 50 minutes,
so each of these dishes can be whipped up in that time, from the first slice of the
knife to the very last dish you scrub down. So first up, diced pork with mushroom. Here we’re using 200 grams of pork loin
and giving this a dice by hand. Please don’t sub this with ground pork here,
with this dish hand diced loin or chop’ll have a much better taste and texture. Slice those by first cutting down into about
three millimeter sheets, then pile a stack and cut into similarly thick slivers, then
align those slivers and finally give them a dice. Now transfer over to a bowl, and we can marinate. So to your pork toss in a quarter teaspoon
salt, a half teaspoon sugar, a half teaspoon cornstarch, a half teaspoon liaojiu aka Shaoxing
wine and you could sub that with whatever wine you feel like, and a quarter teaspoon
soy sauce – here we’re using dark soy sauce for color but regular soy sauce would also
work just fine. Give that a thorough mix, squeeze in about
a teaspoon of oil to coat, and let that sit for at least ten minutes. Now for the mushrooms, we’re using about
eight shiitake mushrooms here – washed and with the stems removed. We’ll give those a similarly sized dice
by first slicing the mushroom in half horizontally, then slicing into slivers, and just like the
pork aligning those slivers and getting it into a dice. Now, to get out a bit of the grassy taste
of the mushrooms, prep those by giving them a quick blanch in boiling water. Boil for about a minute, strain, rinse under
running water, and once it’s cool enough to handle give those a good squeeze so they’re
not overly water-logged when we try to fry them. Last up, a bit of aromatics. This was about an inch of ginger, gently crushed,
three cloves of garlic, crushed just enough to easily peel them, and about three springs
of scallion. We’ll be using the white part of the scallion
as an aromatic, so just cut that off and keep it with the garlic and ginger. The green bits’re gunna get added separately
at the end… so give those a slice, and toss on a plate. So now, to fry. As always when stir-frying, first longyau. Get that wok piping hot, shut off the heat,
add in your oil – here about two tablespoons or so… and give it a swirl to get a nice
non-stick surface. Flame on high now, immediately go in with
the garlic ginger and scallion whites. Quick fifteen second fry until fragrant, then
go in with the marinated pork. Fry that for about a minute or until the pork
basically looks ‘done’, then swirl in a tablespoon liaojiu aka Shaoxing wine over
your spatula and around the sides of the wok. Quick mix, toss in the mushrooms, fry for
about another minute, then swirl in a tablespoon and a half of soy sauce and give it all a
mix. Now go in with three quarters of a cup of
water and bring it up to a boil. Season with a half tablespoon oyster sauce,
a teaspoon of sugar, a quarter teaspoon white pepper powder, and an optional sprinkle of
MSG. Let that bubble for about two minutes, then
go in with a slurry of about a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of
water. Quick mix, make sure it’s good and thickened,
add in the chopped scallion greens and shut off the heat. Drizzle in about a teaspoon of toasted sesame
oil… and your diced pork and mushroom is done. Ok, so squash with fermented black soybean. Here we’re actually using a gourd called
nangua – it’s often mistranslated into English as pumpkin, and while we’re not
100% it’s a definitely dead-ringer for butternut squash, which could at very least be a direct
sub. We’re using a quarter of a gourd here, or
about 350 grams in all. First scoop out the pulp and seeds, then peel
the outside with a knife. Now slice those into about inch and a half
rings, stack a couple up, chop into inch and a half chunks… and set those aside. Now to go with that, we’re making a simple,
bog-standard garlic with fermented black soybean sauce. So to a mortar first toss in five cloves of
garlic, half teaspoon salt and two teaspoons of sugar. Give those all a pound together for about
two minutes… and if you don’t own a mortar you can alternatively use a metal bowl and
pound with the butt of the knife. Then add in your douchi, the black fermented
soybean. If you’re familiar with that Chinese bottled
black bean with garlic sauce, that’s basically what we’re making here but this’s one
of those things like mayo where homemade is like a 1000 times better. We’ll be pounding a half of our tablespoon
of douchi for about a minute, then adding another half tablespoon and giving only like
5 or 6 pounds. Separating the douchi like we did here is
mostly for looks – we are on youtube after all… but feel free to just pound them all
together if you don’t care. Now back to the squash, drizzle over a teaspoon
of oil and give it toss to coat. Now spread those out into roughly one even-ish
layer, and spoon over the garlic black bean sauce. Now put that in a rapidly bubbling steamer,
and steam for twelve minutes. After that time, shut off the heat, and drain
out the excess steaming liquid. Definitely don’t toss that though… we’ll
be putting that back in a saucepan, bringing to a boil, and adding in a slurry of a half
teaspoon cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water. Quick mix, heat off, then drizzle in a teaspoon
of toasted sesame oil. Spoon that sauce back over, mix it all together…
and the steamed squash is done. Last up, rice with Lao Gan Ma. If you’re not sure what Lao Gan Ma Chili
crisp is, feel free to check out our recent thesis on the topic up here… but full disclosure
this is almost a non-recipe. Take white rice. Add Lao Gan Ma. Eat. But because we’re theoretically a cooking
channel… let’s also top this with a quick fried egg. No special technique here or anything… first
add about two to three tablespoons of oil to a pan and over a medium-high flame heat
that up until bubbles form around a pair of chopsticks. Crack an egg, let it set, then shut off the
heat. Tilt the pan so the oil pools, then spoon
the oil over the white until it all basically looks cooked. Toss the egg over the rice, nestle in a bit
of blanched veg to give this some semblance of a full meal, and drizzle a touch of the
chili crisp’s oil over the egg to make everything all pretty. Simple, satisfying, and way more delicious
than it has any right to be. So right! Uh… xiafancai. This is not necessarily a category of things,
but more of an adjective to describe dishes that’re really good over rice. And starch. Because all of this? Would just be also awesome on noodles. Now there would be so many of these dishes
to even start listing out… so yeah, if you are curious and interested, let us know in
the comments… and we can make more xiafancai in the future. And of course… check out the Reddit link
in the description box for a detailed recipe, a big thank for everyone that’s supporting
us on Patreon… and of course, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.

2 thoughts on “Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)

  1. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. To blanch the vegetable: pot of boiling water, squeeze in a touch of oil for a bit of sheen. Here we were doing Choy Sum, so that gets blanched for ~1 minute. The way I (Chris) learned to do crunchy veg like Choy Sum or Baby Bok Choy is to hold the thick stem in the bubbling water for about ~30-45 seconds (I usually do it until my hand gets too hot), then drop it in for 15-30 seconds then drain. Of course, Steph doesn’t bother with that… and she’s a better cook than the person that taught me that anyhow. I just like my blanched vegetable cooked just enough and no more I suppose.

    2. I’m guessing my opinion on Mapo Tofu with rice might… have some strong disagreement lol. Here’s the way I look at it. A proper Mapo Tofu can be pretty intensely flavored… and I feel like for something as strong a taste as Mala, I personally want my white rice to be a break from that, a respite. Having it on the side gives the meal a bit of contrast. Obviously though, if you like your Mapo Tofu over rice, most of the world seems to agree with you. I guess I seem to be the weird one 🙂

    3. So I promise we weren’t trying to pull a fast one on you or anything by labelling “Lao Gan Ma on white rice” as a ‘recipe’. Here’s the thing – a number of things that people might think of as xiafan (i.e. good over rice) here are basically prepared products. Another example might be fermented tofu, or perhaps Sichuan pickles. We wanted to include that sub-category of “good-over-rice” stuff in the video, and Lao Gan Ma is certainly the king of that sub-category…

    4. Generally, I think most people in the West equate ‘good over rice’ as ‘saucy’. And saucy stuff is good over rice, no doubt… but there’s definitely stuff beyond that. So yeah. The whole concept here was ‘something saucy’, ‘something not saucy’, and ‘something prepared’.

    5. Another contentious opinion I hold: definitely make your black soybean garlic sauce yourself… it’s so, so much better than that bottled LKK. I compared the difference to mayo, but in hindsight I think a better analogy might be whipped cream – i.e. homemade = awesome, store-bought = kinda gross. To my taste buds at least, the bottled stuff just isn’t a substitute for that chocolately richness that douchi brings.

    Lastly, if you like this sort of stuff… let us know. We do have a comparative shortage of ‘weeknight cooking’ kind of things on this channel, and we quite like the concept of “a handful of good-over-rice dishes” in that 50 minute time limit (30 minutes is the cliché ‘quick and easy’ time limit, but I think 50 minutes is more realistic for proper cooking). It was fun for us to conceptualize & test too. We’d love to circle back around to “over rice dishes” every ~3 months or so, but only if you guys are into it. I know it’s not quite that hardcore foodie content that y’all might expect from us by now.

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