Happy Father’s Day! Dad’s Taiwanese Sticky Rice

Dad’s Taiwanese Sticky Rice

I frequently talk about how my mom’s cooking has helped shaped and developed both my palate and love for cooking, but there is one person who has also been equally (if not more) instrumental in that development.  That person is my dad.  When my mom first met my dad, she didn’t know anything about cooking.  I think it may have come from the fact that she was the youngest of 7 kids.  She didn’t really have to worry about cooking for the family because the family was always cooking for her.  My dad actually had to teach my mom how to make rice.  But, because of my dad’s willing to teach the basics and his basics at trying my mom’s experiments, my mom, brother, and I have become the cooks we are today.  It’s also because of his patience, kindness, and amazing personality that my brother and I have become the people we are today.

By the time I was born, my mom’s recipe pool had grown and we owned a rice cooker.  This meant less times/opportunities for my dad to cook.  But when he did, it was always his signature dishes.  The Grilled Garlic Soy Chicken was one, but the dish that made people travel from all over the country was my dad’s sticky rice.  He used it as stuffing in Turkey, so this became a quintessential dish for the Holidays.  My brother and I crave it like crazy when the weather starts getting cold and we realize Thanksgiving is coming soon.

I have mixed memories about this dish.  On one hand the texture, flavors, and warmth completely remind me of family, holidays, and good conversations and on the other hand, I cower in the corner at the thought of the prep for the roast turkey.  To prepare for this was a process that was laborious and intense that literally made me cry. When prepared for 4 people or 6 people it’s not that bad.  But when my dad was roasting two 70 lb turkeys for the average party list of 40 to 60 people, I had a lot of cavity to fill full of sticky rice. So usually the night before and morning of I would be mincing green onions against my tear duct’s wish, cutting up raw kidney and hearts into bite size pieces, and stuffing the insides of turkeys elbow deep.  And that wasn’t the end of the torture; I then had to endure the smell of turkey and stuffing wafting through out the house.  Salivating like a mature Neapolitan mastiff hound. The stuffing tastes the best coming out of the turkey; it had a nice hint of turkey flavor and was good, but without stuffing is good too.

My dad always made extra of the stuffing because my brother and I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the day of and the days afterward.  This dish freezes well.  I learned that in College when I asked my dad to make bricks of this delicious rice.

Some notes:  When cooking the rice, be sure to undercook the rice by using less water.  If not, you will end up with a giant ball of mochi, which although still good, the texture is way off.

If you are not into gizzards and hearts or vegetarian, you can omit them from the recipe and add more mushrooms.  If you have access to dried tofu, you can add that.  It taste good and is a good texture substitute for the gizzard.  Enjoy, it’s a Taiwanese classic with a fatherly twist.

Happy Father’s Day.


2 cups sweet rice/glutinous rice

1¼ cups water

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 cup chopped chicken gizzard and heart OR dried tofu in small pieces

½ cup cubed rehydrated shitake mushrooms

½ – ¾ cup minced scallion

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs Chinese cooking wine

1 tbs dried shallots

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp salt


mix sweet rice and water and cook in a rice cooker according to instructions

-if using meat-


marinate gizzard and heart with rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic powder for 10 minutes

stir fry scallion, gizzard, and heart in 1 tbs of hot oil on high heat in a deep pan, wok, or pot until browned,  2 minutes

add mushrooms to meat mixture and cook for 2 minutes

remove mixture from the pan and reserve and skip down to “heat rest of vegetable oil and sesame oil in say pot on high”

if using tofu­-

heat 1 tbs of vegetable oil on high heat in deep pan, wok, or pot and add scallion, tofu, and mushroom and stir until slightly browned, 2 minutes

add soy sauce, wine and garlic powder and stir until incorporated, 2 minutes

remove mixture from the pan and reserve

heat rest of vegetable oil and sesame oil in say pot on high

add fried shallots and cooked rice and stir until well mixed and rice is covered with oil, add more oil if necessary on medium high for about 5 minutes

mix the reserved mixture and salt into the pan and cook for 5 more minutes until well incorporated.

-makes 4-6  –


4 Responses to “Happy Father’s Day! Dad’s Taiwanese Sticky Rice”

  1. June 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I love hearing about dad’s cooking cause my dad can only burn toast in the toaster and microwave re-heat.I ❤ sticky rice!

  2. 2 Tony
    June 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    The batch you made for this post came out really well, but I find that slightly undercooking the rice (using less water – sometimes equal amounts of water and rice by volume) when you first cook it helps. If you cook the rice according to the instructions before you stir fry and incorporate the ingredients after, you might end up with overcooked rice which takes on a more mochi-like texture, instead of sticky rice. In fact, I think Dad always undercooks the rice initially as well. But, like I said, the batch you made came out well, so I dunno.

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