Shanghai Vegetable Rice 上海菜饭

My friend invited us to her place for lunch to try her Shanghai Vegetable Rice 上海菜饭. I must be in serious need for inspiration and motivation! The next thing I wanted to do after trying this dish, was to try making the same dish! And I wanted to cook it within the same week, with that vivid memory.

What memory?

Both my friend and I usually cook without an-exact-measurement-recipe, so there is no memory to begin with in the first place. Often, when I find or come across recipes that I like, I usually browse through the list of ingredients and general cooking directions; then when it is time to cook, I try to prep. similar ingredients with the approximate quantity and adjust the taste during the cooking process. To remember the number of cups, tablespoons, down to teaspoons was not as important as remembering the taste and texture of the final dish.

As she has no recipe for Shanghai Vegetable Rice, our interaction was purely verbal and it was in a few sentences that I try to pick up the tips and tricks.

This does not sound like a scientific way of cooking? How about you? That is why I seldom bake because in baking, I can't do the "recipe" method.

Traditional Shanghai Vegetable Rice uses some meat for flavor but I have tried a vegetarian version using fresh shiitake mushrooms and Bok Choy, and the dish has also turned out perfect in terms of flavor (more light-tasting than the non-vegetarian version but still tasty) and texture.

Even before I cook the dish that day, I made a phone call and ask her if any garlic is necessary. She said nope. No garlic, no onions required. That is Shanghai Vegetable Rice and so I started.

Shanghai Vegetable Rice 上海菜饭
Less than 1/4lb of organic ground chicken (Optional: omit when making vegetarian version)
4-5 organic erygji king oyster; mushrooms or 8-12 fresh shitake mushrooms, finely diced
6-8 Bok Choy, finely chop the stems and leaves
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 cup Basmatic rice (to about 1 to 1.5 cups water) (Note: you can use Thai, or Jasmine long-grain rice if you prefer)
Pinch of sea salt, ground white pepper to taste

Directions: Brown the chicken in a non-stick pan (Note: I have used Happycall Pan. You can use any pan/pot that you usually cook rice with, over the stove), breaking up the chicken into smaller pieces while pan-frying/browning. Set aside.

Add the mushrooms and fry for 3mins, then add the Bok Choy stems, then leaves and fry for another 1-2mins. Add the soy sauce, then rice, mix the rice with veggies, then add about 1.5cups water to submerge the rice, then simmer to cook (low medium heat) the rice for about 20mins till cooked. For vegetarian version, just start off the cooking from "add the mushrooms" step.

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