The origin of Shanghai bok-choy rice is similar to the one of cippino, as it was first served as a fast and easy-to-make meal for the port laborers. For me, it is a fast and yummy way to dress up the otherwise ordinary steamed rice.
You will need: Bok choy, chopped; dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and chopped; 2 gloves of garlic, chopped; 3 cups of rice. Cook rice in the rice cooker (I prefer jasmine rice because of the fragrance, but any long grain rice will do). Heat up oil in a pan, stir-fry garlic and dried shrimp to bring out the aroma. Once the garlic starts to brown add bok choy and saute for 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Before the rice is about done (it usually takes 15 minutes to cook 3 cups of rice in the rice cooker)— so about 3 minutes before the switch jumps from “cook” to “keep warm”— add the stir-fried vegetable to the rice and mix thoroughly. Continue to cook the rice until it is done. Open the lid and let the steam air out for 5 minutes. Then close the lid and switch the cooker back to “cook” again. This extra step will make the rice absorb the liquid from the vegetable.
Once the switch jumps to “keep warm” again, it’s ready. This rice can be a nice substitute for the regular steamed rice, eaten with other dishes, or served alone.
Wontons are definitely one of the most common foods in Chinese cuisine, and they vary from region to region, mostly popular in the south, as the north is better known for dumplings and buns. The name for wonton also differs from one province to another. They are usually considered “snack food” in the afternoon or late night. As I recall from childhood, they were often served in between ma jong games at my grandparents’. And since my paternal grandma (nai-nai) was a native of Sichuan, the Sichuan style wontons are the ones I am most familiar with.
What goes into the wontons are 2 lbs of ground pork, 1/2 lb of shrimp, chopped, with rice wine, sesme oil, white pepper, and salt. Wrappers are store bought.
These “hot oil wontons” (as its literal translation denotes) are eaten dry, with a mixture of aromatic toppings (sans soup), which is different from the Canton and Shanghai styles, often served in a broth.
To cook the wontons:
Add wontons to a pot of boiling water. When it is boiling again, add a cup of cold water to it. When that comes to a boil, you’re done. Remember: It is the same to cook fresh versus frozen wontons (as it will just take frozen wontons a bit longer to come to a boil), and there is NO need to defrost fozen wontons.
Mix the finely chopped scallion, garlic, dried shrimp, zha cai (preserved vegetable) with soy sauce, hot oil, and sesame oil atop the wontons.
Toppings: Garlic, scallion, zha cai (preserved vegetable), and dried shrimp