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Sizzling rice soup is a unique dish and unlike anything I have ever experienced in Asian cuisine. It isn’t hard to make, but it does take a little attention to the process to achieve that snap, crackle, and pop of the crispy rice when it hits the hot broth. This is a fun dish that will delight everyone at the table.
Sizzling rice soup is basically a light broth or stock that has a few vegetables and some sort of protein. Baked and then fried cooked rice is added to the hot soup and it makes a sizzling sound. The sizzling rice is the main ingredient of the soup with the veggies and protein being the supporting cast.
You will need cooked rice that you have prepared according to the package directions. Leftover rice is really perfect for sizzling rice soup. After you bake the rice to dry it out, you can start making the soup. This step won’t really take that long to make because the vegetables and protein, shrimp, in this case, won’t take very long to cook.
While the soup is finishing simmering, start frying the baked and cooled rice. Once all the rice is fried, ladle the soup into a nice bowl for serving and top the hot soup with the hot fried rice. If the timing is right, the rice will crackle. It will eventually soak up some of the soup stock, giving a good deal of body and texture to the soup.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup neutral flavored oil for frying
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 carrot sliced thinly
- 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 heads of baby bok choy chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3 scallions sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 12 medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- Salt and pepper to taste
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Preheat your oven to 300°F.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the cooked rice in a thin even layer on the lined sheet pan.
- You may have to dampen your hand so the rice won’t stick, or use a fork.
- Place the rice in the oven and bake it until it is dry, approximately 20 minutes (60 minutes if the layer is thick). Remove it from the oven and set it aside while to cool you prepare the soup.
- In a medium stockpot over medium-high heat, bring the 4 cups of stock to a boil. Add the carrots, soy sauce, and wine. Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and stir in the bok choy. Cover the pot and cook until the carrots are just soft. This could take about 15 minutes. Start preparing the rice when the soup is almost finished simmering.
- In a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. As soon as it is hot, add about 1/3 of the cooled rice in small bundles and fry it until just golden brown and crisp. It may clump together. Remove the rice to paper towels to drain and continue to cook the rest in 2 more batches.
- Just before all the rice is finished frying, raise the heat to medium under the soup. Add the scallions and shrimp to the soup and continue to cook until the shrimp are opaque, approximately 3 minutes.
- Adjust the seasoning of the soup to your liking with salt and pepper. Ladle the hot soup into a large serving bowl. Place the bowl in the center of the dining table and add the hot crispy rice to the top of the soup.
- As soon as the rice crackles and pops, ladle the soup into individual serving bowls and enjoy right away while some of the rice is still crispy.
Notes & Tips
- The rice is often made into little crackers or cakes before baking and frying. I like placing a thin layer of rice on the baking sheet and frying random shapes of the rice after it cools down. They aren’t as dense and more surface area gets crisp when they fry. You also don’t need to fuss with breaking the cakes apart in the hot soup.
- You can make the rice in advance or use leftover rice.
- Make sure the oil is hot enough to quickly fry and crisp the rice. One way to tell if the oil is hot enough is to stick the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick in the oil. If the oil bubbles around the wood, it is ready for frying the rice.
Substitutions & Shortcuts
- Rice: I prefer long-grain white rice for making sizzling rice because it is less sticky and fluffier than short-grain rice. If you want to save a step, you can actually buy instant rice crackers made specifically for sizzling rice soup. These are dehydrated and ready to be quickly fried in oil. You can find them online or at an Asian market.
- Shaoxing Wine: Not many people have a bottle of Shaoxing wine in their liquor cabinet or pantry. You can leave it out or substitute it with mirin, dry sherry, or sake.
- Bok Choy: Really any leafy green will be fine in this soup recipe. You can try savoy cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, or dandelion greens for something different.
- Shrimp: Shrimp is pretty classic in sizzling rice soup. There is no reason you can’t make this with scallops, shredded cooked chicken breast, ground pork, or firm tofu.