You fan (油飯) is a classic and comforting Taiwanese dish packed with umami and just really satisfying to eat. This recipe is your best bet for successfully making your own at home!
In Taiwan, you fan is commonly eaten at wedding receptions or as a gift from parents to relatives and friends when their newborn baby boy turns one month old. Here in the US, many Chinese people also serve it as Thanksgiving stuffing.
Making a good you fan at home is actually pretty easy. The key is to cook the sticky rice (glutinous rice) properly so it can maintain its QQ (bouncy/ springy/ pleasantly chewy) texture after mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. In this recipe, I will show you two different ways of making perfect sticky rice at home.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
- The recipe is tried and true. It's been tested many times and always come out perfect.
- I will show you two different ways of making sticky rice.
- I used both long grain and short grain sticky rice to create the best texture.
- It freezes and reheats well.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Sticky rice - also refers to glutinous rice or sweet rice. I use a combination of long grain and short grain sticky rice to create the best texture.
- Crispy fried shallot - store bought or homemade. Here's how you make your own crispy fried shallot at home.
- Pork belly - both skin on or skin off will work.
- Rock sugar - can be replaced with regular sugar.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1 - Make sticky rice. Here are two ways to do it:
The first way is cooking in a bamboo steamer. This is the traditional method, which is also the most ideal way to make perfect sticky rice for making you fan, but it requires presoaking the rice for at least 3 hours in warm water (ideally 6 hours to overnight in cold water).
In this method, start by lining a piece of damp kitchen towel in a bamboo steamer. Next, drain your presoaked rice before spreading it out evenly on the towel. Poke some holes in the rice (see picture below) to allow the hot air to flow through. Fold in the edge of the towel before covering with lid.
In a wok or a deep pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil before setting the steamer on top of the pot. Steam for 25-30 minutes over medium heat. If the rice is not cooked through (which never happened to me), sprinkle some water, turn and flip the rice a bit and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.
Second way is cooking in a rice cooker. (this method doesn't work with Instant Pot)
If you have a good rice cooker, this is a super easy and convenient way to cook sticky rice. In this method, you don't need to presoak the rice -- all you need to do is to put in sticky rice and water with a 1: ⅔ ratio and cook it the same way that you'd cook white rice.
I made it with my favorite Cuckoo IH rice cooker and it always turns out very well, and I like how it only takes 30 minutes to cook!
Step 2 - Prepare other ingredients.
Cut pork belly into small pieces.
Mince garlic and dried shrimp. Squeeze the excess water from shiitake mushrooms before cutting into slices.
Step 3 - Brown pork belly and stir fry with the aromatic ingredients.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and render fat from pork belly before adding ginger, garlic, dried shrimp and shiitake mushroom. Stir and cook for 1 minutes.
Step 4 - Add seasoning.
Add soy sauce, sugar, white pepper powder, Chinese five-spice powder, sesame oil and water; cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Step 5 - Assemble.
Turn off the heat, mix in cooked sticky rice and crispy fried shallot and that's all!
You can serve it right away, but for the best results, turn on low heat, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld and get into the rice s bit more.
This Taiwanese sticky rice is super delicious, make sure you give it a try!
Tips and Tricks
- Cooking sticky rice properly is the key to success for this recipe. You want the sticky rice to be cooked through without becoming mushy or clumping together.
- The surface of the sticky rice that's cooked in a rice cooker will be a little bit stickier than the one cooked in a bamboo steamer, so it requires a bit more patience when mixing it in with other ingredients.
- When mixing the sticky rice with other ingredients, the goal is to coat each grain of rice with sauce without smashing the rice. Use the side of the spatula to "cut" and separate the rice and scoop the bottom to the top so that the sauce can distribute evenly, which in turn helps to separate the rice grains.
- Add a bit more water if the rice is too dry and difficult to incorporate with other ingredients.
Yes you can, add 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil and stir fry the pork until the outer part turns white before adding the aromatic ingredients. However, I highly recommend using pork with higher fat content as the lard provide a nice meaty fragrance to this dish.
No, the unique flavor and aroma of dried shiitake mushroom is important to this dish.
Yes, I usually store it in a Ziploc bag and gently flatten it out before putting it into the freezer. To heat up, just place the you fan on a plate, sprinkle some water and microwave it until it's heated through.
Make Sure You Also Try
Taiwanese Sticky Rice (You Fan)
- bamboo steamer
- rice cooker
- 1 cup long grain sticky rice , see note
- 1 cup short grain sticky rice
- ½ lb pork belly
- 5 dried shiitake mushroom, pre soaked for 1-2 hours and sliced
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp, rinsed and minced
- 3 slice ginger
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp rock sugar, or regular sugar
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp white pepper powder
- ⅛ tsp Chinese five-spice powder, optional
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup crispy fried shallot , see note
- Taiwanese sweet chili sauce
- chopped cilantro
Make Sticky Rice (choose your preferred method)
- Cooking in a bamboo steamer. Soak the sticky rice in water for at least 4 hours (preferably 6 hours to overnight).
- When it's ready to cook, add 4 cups of water in a wok or pot and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, line a piece of damp kitchen towel in a bamboo steamer.
- Drain the presoaked rice before spreading it out evenly on the towel. Poke some holes in the rice to allow the hot air to flow through. Fold in the edge of the towel before covering with lid.
- Set the steamer on top of the pot and steam for 25-30 minutes over medium heat. If the rice is not cooked through, sprinkle some water, turn and flip the rice a bit and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.
- Cooking in a rice cooker. (this method doesn't work with an Instant Pot)
- Rinse and drain sticky rice very well with a strainer (no need to pre soak) before putting in the rice cooker pot along with 1⅓ cup of water. Cook it the same way that you'd cook white rice. Once it's done cooking, fluff the rice with rice paddle/spatula right away to loosen the rice.
Prepare Other Ingredients
- While the sticky rice is cooking, slice pork belly according the picture in the post.
- Heat a frying pan (I use an 11" non-stick pan) over medium heat, add pork belly in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the pork browns and the fat is rendered.
- Add ginger, garlic, dried shrimp and shiitake mushroom. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat to low before adding rock sugar, soy sauce, white pepper powder, Chinese five-spice powder, sesame oil and ½ cup of water. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, mix in cooked sticky rice and crispy fried shallot. Use the side of the spatula to "cut" and separate the rice and scoop the bottom to the top so that the sauce can be distributed evenly, which in turn helps to separate the rice grains. Add a bit more water if the rice is too dry or difficult to incorporate with other ingredients.
- You can serve it right away; but for the best results, turn on low heat, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn of the heat, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm with cilantro and Taiwanese sweet chili sauce (optional).