Sizzling Rice Soup: The Chinese Soup That Crackles and Pops

Sizzling rice soup is a classic Chinese soup known for its dramatic flair and complex flavors. The sizzling sound when crispy rice meets hot broth delights diners. This article provides step-by-step instructions for making sizzling rice soup at home, along with key ingredients and amounts.

Overview of Sizzling Rice Soup

This soup features a savory chicken broth with meat, seafood, and veggies. Puffy fried rice is added before serving, creating a sizzling, popping effect. The rice soaks up tasty broth and adds crunch.

Sizzling rice soup likely began as a thrifty way to use leftover rice in China. The crispy browned bits were added to the broth for flavor and texture. This fun soup became popular in Chinese restaurants when immigrants came to America.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to make sizzling rice soup at home:

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 1⁄2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1 1⁄2 cups of vegetable oil intended for frying
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 oz chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 4 tsp water
  • 3 tsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
  • 4 oz ham, sliced thin
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed and halved
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp white pepper

Step 1 – Prepare the Rice

  • Cook 1 1⁄2 cups white rice and spread on a baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp salt.
  • Let sit overnight uncovered to dry out.

Step 2 – Prepare the Chicken and Shrimp

  • Slice chicken breast into thin strips.
  • Mix chicken with 4 tsp water, 3 tsp oyster sauce, and 2 tsp cornstarch. Marinate 30 mins.
  • Peel, devein and slice shrimp into pieces. Toss with cornstarch.

Step 3 – Prepare Vegetables

  • Soak 8 dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 30 mins.
  • Drain, slice mushrooms, and reserve liquid.
  • Slice bok choy, carrot, snow peas, and other vegetables.

Step 4 – Make the Broth

  • In a wok or pot, bring 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil.
  • Blanch chicken for 30-60 seconds until just cooked. Remove and set aside.
  • Repeat with shrimp. Set aside.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and green onion. Stir fry briefly.
  • Add vegetables, mushrooms, broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Return chicken and shrimp to pot. Cook 1 minute more.
  • Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper.

Step 5 – Fry the Rice

  • Heat 1 12 cups oil to 350°F in a pot.
  • Fry dried rice for 30 seconds until puffed and golden brown.
  • Remove rice with a slotted spoon and drain.

Step 6 – Serve the Soup

  • Transfer broth to a serving bowl.
  • Add fried rice to the broth. Listen to the satisfying sizzle and pop!
  • If desired, add green onions and sesame seeds as a garnish.

Tips for Best Results

Follow these tips when making sizzling rice soup:

  • Allow rice to dry out overnight uncovered for the lightest texture
  • Maintain oil at 350°F to perfectly crisp the rice
  • Work in small batches when frying to prevent soggy rice
  • Add hot fried rice at the very end so it sizzles and stays crunchy
  • Adjust broth seasoning right before finishing, as boiling dulls the flavor
  • Use day-old rice; freshly cooked rice won’t puff up as much

The History of Sizzling Rice Soup

Sizzling rice soup likely began as a thrifty way to use leftover rice in China. The crunchy browned rice bits were incorporated into broths for added texture and flavor. When Chinese immigrants brought their cooking traditions to America, this fun soup became popular on menus at Chinese-American restaurants.

The tableside preparation allowed servers to showcase the soup’s dramatic sizzling feature. Servers would pour hot oil over puffy fried rice right before serving for a flashy, interactive dining experience. The soup remains popular today at Chinese restaurants, especially for special occasions.

The Dining Experience

Beyond tasting delicious, sizzling rice soup also offers a multisensory experience:

Sight – Watching the server prepare tableside

Sound – Hearing the sizzle and pop when rice hits broth

Smell – Aromatic ginger, garlic, sesame

Taste – Deep, savory broth with a slight seafood essence

Texture – Contrast of tender ingredients and crunchy rice

This soup truly engages all the senses, making it about more than just flavor. The simple act of frying up day-old rice creates an interactive dining theatre.

Serving Suggestions

Serve sizzling rice soup as a starter or a meal on its own. You can mimic the restaurant experience by preparing tableside for special occasions. Bring the soup to the table, scoop it into bowls, fry it, and add the piping hot rice to each bowl for that sizzle factor. Your showmanship impresses your guests as they enjoy this flavorful soup.

With its tasty complexity and dramatic flair, sizzling rice soup will liven up any dinner. Follow the step-by-step instructions to master this technique at home. The satisfying sizzle will bring smiles to your guests!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of rice works best?

It works well with long-grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine. Medium or short-grain rice may get too sticky. Avoid freshly cooked rice, as day-old rice will puff up better when fried.

Can I prepare the puffed rice in advance?

Yes, you can make the puffed rice up to 3 days ahead. Store the cooled, dried rice in an airtight container until ready to use. Then, re-fry it briefly to crisp before adding to the hot soup.

Is Shaoxing wine essential for flavor?

Shaoxing wine adds a unique, sweet, nutty caramel flavor. If you don’t have it, dry sherry makes the best substitute. Leaving it out altogether will still yield great results.

Do I need a wok to prepare the soup?

While a wok is ideal, you can also use a large pot or Dutch oven to prepare the soup. The key is having ample room to cook the ingredients in batches.

How can I get the broth perfectly seasoned?

Flavor the broth well with aromatics. But only add final seasonings like soy sauce before serving, as extended boiling can dull flavors. Taste and adjust the seasoning just before adding the sizzling rice.

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