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 that it’s no surprise that there are infinite ways to enjoy this humble grain.
Of the many rice dishes, I particularly enjoy Chinese-style fragrant yam rice.
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.
What is fragrant yam rice?
Fragrant yam rice starts with uncooked rice grains.
The rice grains are stir fried in a wok or skillet with fragrant dried shrimp, tender slivers of pork belly, and flavoured with Asian sauces.
Then the fried mixture is put into a rice cooker. Together with diced yam, carrots and Chinese mushrooms, it is cooked until fluffy and fragrant.
How to eat yam rice
Yam rice is a very flavourful and hearty dish that can be eaten and enjoyed entirely on its own.
How to cook yam rice
It makes the perfect one-pot rice meal for when you’re having a crazy day and need something quick and easy.
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This yam rice is definitely a wholesome meal to get from stove to table to under an hour.
You can prep all your ingredients in under 30 minutes (aside from marinating time).
If you’re fairly quick with a knife, then all you need to do is whip up a quick stir-fry to combine the essentials.
After, just let your trusted rice cooker take over. Simply add the yam, carrots and mushrooms once the water comes to boil, and wait.
Patiently, of course. Which I hardly am, 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.
Soon…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!!
Ingredients you’ll need
- rice grains. I usually cook with long-grain variety of rice. When well cooked, long-grain rice will be loose and fluffy as is intended for this dish.
- pork belly. Because pork belly has a little fat, it’ll be more tender and succulent. Feel free to use a leaner cut of pork or substitute with chicken or beef, if you like.
- dried shrimps. These add aroma and release tons of flavour when first fried, and then subsequently steamed with the rice mixture.
- Chinese mushrooms. I use dried Shiitake mushrooms for maximum flavour.
- sauces and seasonings. I use oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and ground white pepper.
Useful tips – 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:
DO NOT rinse yam with water after removing the outer peel, as the surface will turn slimy and become difficult to handle.
- 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 greenish end of the yam.
- Place the yam upright on its wider base on a cutting board.
- If using a knife, slice away the peel from the body of the yam, from top to bottom. Try not to cut away too much of the flesh.
- If you prefer working with a peeler, hold the yam in one hand. 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. Remove these by slicing away with a small knife or peeler.
When done, clean the surface of the yam with a paper towel. Then slice or dice into cubes as desired.
How to store yam rice
Any leftover cooked yam rice needs to be kept in the chiller. Allow it to cool completely. Store in an well-sealed, air-tight container and place in the chiller.
To reheat, microwave on high until hot or steam for 10 minutes until thoroughly heated through.
Enjoy! – xx Celia
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
- ½ tbsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- ⅛ 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.