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Crispy or Sizzling Rice
When deep-fried, crispy or sizzling rice adds the dramatic sizzle to Sizzling Rice Soup.   
 More of this Feature
• Crispy Sizzling Rice Recipes
 Related Resources
• Rice History, Information, and Cooking Tips
• More Rice Recipes

Given the importance of rice in Chinese culture, it's not surprising that even overcooked rice is put to use!  Crispy rice is the hardened rice layer that sometimes forms at the bottom of the pot or rice cooker.  While most of us have accidentally made crispy rice (also called rice skins or popped rice) at one time or another, chefs deliberately make it to use in classic restaurant dishes such as Sizzling Rice Soup. 

The popularity of crispy rice comes from the crackling and popping sounds made when the deep-fried rice crusts come into contact with a hot liquid or sauce.  In addition to soup, the crusts are used in stir-fries or deep-fries, where the rice crackles when hot sauce is poured over.  But you don't have to wait until you're eating out or cooking dinner to enjoy Crispy Rice - like won ton, they make a tasty snack when deep-fried and sprinkled with a bit of sugar.

Asian markets sell pre-cooked rice cakes, but it's easy to make your own.  One method is to cook a pot of rice, then remove the soft rice from the top and cook the rice at the bottom on low heat for another thirty minutes.  However, for larger amounts baking is easier. 

Baked Sizzling Rice Recipe:

Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: 8 - 10 squares

Rinse 1 cup of long or medium grain rice.  

In a pot, add 1 1/2 cups water (1 1/4 if using medium grain rice) to the rice and bring to a boil.  

Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from burner and allow to cool. 

While rice is cooling, preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Place the rice on a baking sheet, making sure that it is about, but no more than, 1/4-inch thick. 

Bake the rice for 50 - 55 minutes, until it is dry. 

Cool and cut into 2-inch squares.

Store in a canister until needed.  Do not freeze. 

The rice is now ready to be deep-fried.  The trick to using deep-fried crispy rice is to make sure that both it and the sauce or soup it is being added to are very hot.  That way you will hear the crackling sounds. Unfortunately, this makes for a lot of last minute work  - you can't deep-fry the rice crusts and then set them aside to add during the final stage of cooking. Instead, the rice should be deep-fried just before the dish is served, with the soup or sauce being kept warm during this time.  Deep-fry a few at a time, turning constantly, until they turn brown and puff up (this will take only seconds).  Drain on paper towels. Bring to the table, quickly pour the hot liquid over, and listen to the rice snapping and popping. 

Safety Tip: If not properly handled, cooked rice has the potential to grow a bacteria called Bacillus cereus. The following tips for preventing this come from Brad, a food service sanitarian from Michigan: "make certain the rice is completely dried, then rapidly cool, cut into squares, place into a canister and refrigerate for no more than seven days before use."  

Recipes Using Crispy Rice 

Popped Rice with Shrimp
Sizzling Rice Soup 

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