I fondly recall my favourite stall at the canteen during the period of time when I was attending secondary school. I can’t remember what the main dishes were that were sold at the stall; what I do remember is that every Friday, the stall would dish out a favourite of most students there – plates of yam rice that are extremely tasty and addictive. The stream of people queuing up in front of this stall was always constant during the recess times on Fridays. That was one of the reasons why my classmates and I always looked forward to Friday afternoons, albeit the boring lessons that dulled most of our appetite for the day.
I don’t think I could explain why we loved that plate of yam rice so much. Perhaps it was the fragrant dried shrimps and mushrooms that we tasted in every bite of the rice; perhaps it was the mushy and soft yam chunks that appealed to my dialectal roots. I do not think I am capable of reproducing the exact taste of the yam rice from that stall, given that these tastes have long faded away in my memories. Nevertheless, it would be nice to give this dish a try at home to see what ingredients are used or what steps are taken to create a dish that is still close to my heart.
- Oil: 3 tbsp
- Garlic: 3 cloves, finely chopped
- Shallot: 5 bulbs, finely chopped
- Pork belly: 300g, sliced, marinated with 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp pepper & 1 tsp corn starch
- Dried shrimp: 3/4 cup
- Dried mushroom: 10 pieces, soaked in water for 1 hr, sliced
- Yam: 500g, diced
- Rice: 5 cups, washed
- Oyster sauce: 4 tbsp
- Fish sauce: 3 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Dark soy sauce: 4 tbsp
- Sesame oil: 3 tsp
- Sugar: 2 tsp
- White pepper: 1 tsp
- Water: 5 – 6 cups
- Spring onion: 1/2 stalk, finely chopped
- Fried shallot crisp (optional): 1/2 cup
- Heat oil in wok. Fry garlic and shallots till fragrant.
- Add pork belly, shrimps & mushrooms. Fry for 2 min.
- Stir in yam & rice. Mix well.
- Mix oyster sauce, fish sauce, salt, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar & pepper together.
- Pour sauce mixture into rice mixture. Mix well.
- Pour the whole wok of rice into a pot. Add water to cover rice.
- Leave rice to cook on low heat for about 45min.
- Garnish with spring onion and fried shallot crisps to serve.
- If you have a rice cooker at home, pour the whole wok of rice into a rice cooker in step 6 and leave it to the rice cooker to do the rest of the job. It’ll be cooked more evenly and quickly that way.