"Sticky rice with Chinese sausage has always been a family favorite," explains Catherine An, managing partner in House of An and owner of An Catering and Tiato in Santa Monica, and the youngest of the five An sisters who manage the family's restaurants. "It was my grandfather's favorite thing to eat, my father's ... so every holiday we have sticky rice. In Vietnam, we stuffed it in chicken or geese. Once we came to America and Thanksgiving was the culture, we adapted it and did it for turkey. Growing up, it has always been my favorite holiday thing to eat, whether for Thanksgiving or Lunar New Year."
An adds that her mother, Helene, "loves adding the chestnut because it's sweet and healthy. She also likes sticky rice over bread because it's gluten-free."
This Vietnamese sticky rice stuffing, from executive chef Helene An of Vietnamese fusion restaurant Crustacean and An Catering, combines traditional stuffing elements such as sausage, chestnuts and sauteed onions with Asian seasonings like fresh chopped lemongrass and oyster and soy sauce. The addition of tapioca holds this moist, delicately flavored dish together.
Mama's Sticky Rice Stuffing With Shiitake Mushrooms and Chestnuts
From: Chef Helene An, Crustacean
Note: This recipe is for a 10-pound turkey, but also works well for stuffed chicken (for chicken, reduce all ingredients by half).
Makes: 10-12 servings
2 cups dry black mushrooms (presoak in hot water for one hour)
2 ½ cups boiled chestnuts (cooked until tender)
4 cups boiled sweet rice, cooked well (also called Asian sticky rice or botan rice)
4 cups Chinese or Italian sausage (ground)
2 cups diced white onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon tapioca
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1. Sauté white onion in olive oil for about five minutes on medium heat until golden brown.
2. Turn off heat. Add black mushrooms, ground Italian sausage, chestnuts, lemongrass, oyster sauce, pepper, salt, and soy sauce to onions.
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3. Mix all ingredients together evenly. Mixture is now ready for stuffing.
If you don't feel like cooking, you can order this stuffing ($33 for 8-10 people), as well as side dishes and turkey brined in citrus and home-grown Asian herbs, from Crustacean by calling (310) 866-5228 or placing an order here. The deadline for orders is Monday, November 19.
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