The Way Rice Should Be: Taiwanese Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Rice
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 10:03 AM
In Taiwan, every city has its own specialty food. The southern Taiwanese city of Jia Yi is most know for its turkey rice, which originated sometime after World War II when the American military, which established a base there, imported turkey to feed the troops. Because Taiwan was a very poor country back then and there were limited protein resources, shredding the turkey into small pieces was the best way to get the most meal out of one small piece of meat. Street vendors started to add shredded turkey to stewed rice for added protein. Thus, the famous Jia Yi turkey rice was born. Nowadays it’s also very commonly served with chicken and is a very cheap and popular street food available in almost all noodle shops in Taiwan.
Taiwanese Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Rice
With Thanksgiving coming up this week, to me the best way to be thankful is to not be wasteful. From my experience celebrating Thanksgiving here in America, I’ve noticed there seems to be a lot of leftover turkey every year, and no one really seems to know what to do with it all the next day. While turkey toast and casseroles seem to be the most common uses for Thanksgiving leftovers, this year I thought I’d pitch a new option — Taiwanese Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Rice!
(serves 2 to 3 people)
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- 2 cups cooked turkey
- 6 shallots
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 scallions
- 3 slices of ginger
- 2 Tbsp. cooking wine
- 31⁄2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 3⁄4 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1⁄8 tsp. Chinese five spice
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt or to taste
- For the pickles:
- 1 cucumber
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1⁄4 tsp. sugar
Start by thinly slicing the shallots. In a large skillet, cook the shallots in 1⁄4 cup oil on medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes until the shallots are golden brown and crispy (photos 1, 2, 3). Strain the shallots, reserve the oil, then set aside. It’s very important that you start cooking the shallots before the oil has come to temperature. This way the shallots will cook gently and their flavor can be infused into the oil. I’ve been asked by someone before, What is the definition of Taiwanese food? The key ingredient to get that Taiwanese flavor is fried shallots. If a Taiwanese person walks into your house and you are frying shallots, chances are you will hear them say, “Smells like my grandmother’s kitchen!”
Roughly chop up the garlic, scallions and ginger. In a heavy sauce pan, heat up 1 tsp. of the shallot infused oil and cook the garlic, scallions and ginger on high heat. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in 2 Tbsp. cooking wine, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1⁄4 tsp. white pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1⁄8 tsp. Chinese five spice and 3⁄4 cup water. Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Add in the fried shallots (reserve 2 Tbsp. aside for garnish) Let it simmer for an hour. If you have the bones from the leftover turkey, you may add them in as well, as this will intensify the turkey flavor (photos 4 & 5).
Now shred up the 2 cup leftover turkey and toss it in 2 tsp. of the shallot oil along with 1⁄2 tsp. soy sauce, 1⁄2 tsp. white pepper and 1⁄4 tsp. salt or to taste. Set aside (photo 6).
Traditionally, the turkey rice is served with Japanese pickled yellow daikon. You may find those in most Asian grocery stores. But to make things easier, I’m going to show you how to make a quick and simple cucumber pickle that goes really well with this dish. Start by thinly slicing the cucumbers, toss them in 1 tsp. salt and set aside. After 30 minutes, wash and drain the cucumbers, mix in 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar and 1⁄4 tsp. sugar (photo 7).
Once the braised shallots are cooked it’s time to assemble the turkey rice (photo 8).
Serve the shredded turkey over some white rice, pour a ladle of the braised shallots over the turkey, sprinkle some fried shallot on top, and serve with the pickled cucumbers.
For more recipes, visit www.thewayriceshouldbe.blogspot.com