Fluffy, fragrant, flavourful, healthy and nutritious Chinese-style yam rice makes the perfect one-dish meal and is a delicious staple to accompany your favourite mains and sides.
Rice is such a staple in Chinese and Asian cuisines in general, it’s no surprise that there are infinite ways to enjoy this humble grain. I particularly enjoy Chinese-style fragrant yam rice. Uncooked rice grains are first wok-fried with fried dried shrimp and tender slivers of pork belly, flavoured with Asian sauces, and then cooked in a rice cooker with diced yam, carrots and Chinese mushrooms, until fluffy and fragrant.
Yam rice is so much tastier and wholesome than plain cooked rice, yet healthier than most fried rice dishes. The best thing about this delicious rice dish and meal? It can be cooked to perfect fluff and texture in your rice cooker. It’s really that easy.
I especially love pairing yam rice with any savoury Chinese soup, to round out a meal that is just so much more healthier, nutritious, and balanced.
And yes, it’s the perfect one-pot rice dish cum meal for us lazy or overly busy folks, when we need something easy from stove to table – you can prep all your ingredients in under 30 minutes (aside from marinating time) if you’re lightning quick but careful, of course, with a knife, and then whip up a quick stir-fry to combine the essentials.
After, just let your trusted rice cooker take over – all you have to do is add the yam, carrots and mushrooms once the water comes to boil, and wait. Patiently, of course… which I am hardly, as soon as I catch the slightest, misty whiff of aroma from all that yummy, bubbly goodness escaping from the rice cooker.
So, just head out of your kitchen and do your thing for about 20 minutes or so… take a shower (yes, it’s still ‘hard’ work, especially on hot days like what we’ve been having in Singapore), or read another recipe idea (preferably from my blog … heee). Soooon…Ta-Dah! Fragrant yam rice is as good as done!
If you haven’t realised that fluffy, fragrant, flavourful, delicious yam rice was this easy, well, now you know! Don’t worry, I was late to the party too!!
Useful Tip – How to Prepare Yam for Cooking. To experienced hands, preparing yam must seem like ‘sap-sap-sui’ (湿湿碎, a Cantonese slang meaning ‘small matter’), but for self-taught home cooks, even the simplest thing can seem bewildering!
So you might find the instructions here useful: Take your yam and brush it clean of dirt and sand, as best as you can. Slice about 5-mm off the small end of the yam, and about 1 cm (1/4-in) off the (usually) green end of the yam.
If using a paring knife, place the yam upright on its wider base on a cutting board, then slice away a thin outer layer from the body of the yam, from top to bottom (be careful not to cut away too much of the flesh).
If using a peeler, hold the yam in one hand, and with the peeler in your working hand, peel the outer layer, AWAY from your body.
Look for any discolouration or bruised spots on the peeled surface, and remove these by slicing away with a small knife or peeler.
When done, clean the surface of the yam with a paper towel. DO NOT rinse with water, as the yam will turn slimy and become difficult to handle. When cleaned, slice or dice into cubes as desired.
Fragrant Yam Rice
- 400 g uncooked rice grains
- 200 g pork belly
- 200 g yam
- 100 g carrot
- 5 dried Chinese mushrooms
- 50 g dried shrimps
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 500 ml water
- Some spring onion, finely chopped (optional), for garnishing
Seasonings for Marinade:
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- Slice pork into narrow strips. In a mixing bowl, combine seasonings for marinade. Add sliced pork and rub in marinade until thoroughly coated.Set aside for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, soak dried Chinese mushrooms in warm water until softened, drain and dice. Soak dried shrimps in water until softened (about 5 minutes) and drain. Peel and dice yam and carrot. Wash rice grains and drain.
- Heat up oil in a wok over medium heat until very hot. Add diced yam and stir fry until partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Scoop out and set aside, leaving the oil in the wok. Fry dried shrimp in oil until very fragrant. Add pork slices (with marinade sauces) and stir fry for a few minutes. Add rice grains, and stir fry for 30 seconds or until well combined.
- Place the rice mixture into a rice cooker. Add water and start the cooking process. When water in the rice cooker starts to simmer (boil), quickly stir in the fried yam, diced carrot and mushrooms, and close back the lid of the rice cooker. When end of cooking is indicated on the rice cooker, do not open the lid right away. Let the rice settle for about 10 minutes.
- When ready to serve, gently stir to fluff the rice using a rice scoop (be careful not to over-stir, as the soft, cooked yam can break up easily). Dish out, garnish with chopped spring onion (optional) and serve as desired.