Garlic Chicken on Bok Choy Rice Cakes

Holiday 2011
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food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Japanese short-grain rice, the type used to make sushi, is naturally quite sticky and makes for an easy, substantial base over which to serve deliciously salty-sweet and saucy chicken bites.

RICE CAKES
2 cups (500 mL) Japanese short-grain rice
1 cup (250 mL) bok choy stalks and greens, finely diced
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1½ tsp (7 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) toasted black sesame seeds

CHICKEN
8 oz (250 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp (30 mL) hoisin sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) sherry
1 tsp (5 mL) light soy sauce
½ tsp (2 mL) Asian chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, fi nely chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
Finely shredded green onion to garnish

1 To make rice cakes, cook rice according to package directions. Once cooked and while still hot, stir in bok choy, onions, rice vinegar, sugar, salt and oil. Scrape mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch (3.5-L) baking pan. Use the back of a large spoon to distribute the rice mixture in an even layer covering the pan. Smooth the top by using fingers dipped in cold water. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating for 2 hours or until firm.

2 Using a 1¾-inch (4.5-cm) round cutter, cut into 24 cakes. Discard excess rice and return cakes, covered, to the refrigerator until ready to use. Finished cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance.

3 To prepare chicken, slice breast across the width into ¼-inch-thick (5-mm) slices, and cut each slice into roughly 2-inch (5-cm) squares. In a small bowl, combine hoisin, brown sugar, sherry, soy, chili sauce and garlic. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet, add chicken and fry until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove to a small plate. Pour sauce mixture into pan, bring to a boil and reduce by half, or until sauce is thick and glossy. Return chicken and juices to the pan, simmer for an additional 30 seconds or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.

4 To assemble, place a piece of warm chicken on top of individual rice cakes and top each with a small amount of shredded green onion.

Makes 24 pieces