Chinese Sticky Rice (Nuomi Fan)

November 27, 2007 | Chuck
Chinese Sticky Rice

I love Chinese sticky rice. It contains several of my favorite ingredients — sticky rice, Chinese sausage and mushrooms. I know I'm going to have Hungry Bear's sticky rice at least twice a year, at Thanksgiving dinner and during Lunar New Year (Vietnamese/Chinese New Year) festivities. It's become a traditional dish for us on these holidays.

I really enjoy the rich flavors from the Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, oyster sauce and soy sauce that get infused into the sweet, sticky rice. Chinese-American families often serve sticky rice in place of stuffing during Thanksgiving. It's great with turkey, roasted duck or just by itself. I didn't grow up eating this dish, but I now consider it a comfort food.

Hungry Bear started making Chinese sticky rice using a recipe from Grace Young's The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen. The recipe has dried scallops and shrimp in it, which takes additional time to prepare. Over the years, Hungry Bear has altered Grace Young's recipe, excluding the dried seafood, in order to save prep time. The scallops and shrimp are a little too fishy for my tastes and I prefer my sticky rice without them.

Another common ingredient in sticky rice is chestnuts, which Hungry Bear's mom often includes in her recipe. A frequent reader, Judy, told us that her aunty used bamboo shoots in her sticky rice. Next time, Hungry Bear plans on adding either chestnuts or bamboo shoots for some variety.

Until then, I've included two Chinese sticky rice recipes. The first one is Hungry Bear's and the second recipe with dried seafood is Grace Young's, in case you want all the flavors of traditional sticky rice. I need to warn you that Hungry Bear's version makes a huge amount of rice. She likes to cook in mass quantities and all recipes are bear-size, which means they are quadrupled! Hungry Bear loves leftovers, therefore the need to cook in abundance.

I'll never complain about the large quantities because there's no such thing as too much Chinese sticky rice!

Chinese Sticky Rice

Chinese Sticky Rice Recipe

4 cups sweet rice 
2 cups jasmine rice 
25 Chinese dried shiitake mushrooms
6 Chinese sausages (lop chong) 
1 pound lean Chinese barbecued pork, store-bought  
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 
5 cups low sodium chicken stock  
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped cilantro

1) In a bowl, soak the mushrooms in warm water for about 30 minutes, until softened. In a 6-quart stockpot, wash all the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the combined sweet and jasmine rice for 1 hour in enough cold water to cover.

2) When softened, drain and squeeze dry the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Cut off and discard stems and chop the caps.

3) Chop sausage and barbecued pork and set aside separately.

4) Heat large wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add oil and Chinese sausage, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and barbecued pork, and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until heated through. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, stir to combine, remove from heat, and set aside.

5) Drain rice. Add chicken broth and enough the reserved mushrooms liquid to measure 1 cup, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Uncover and quickly scoop Chinese sausage mixture onto top of rice. Immediately cover and continue cooking the rice 25 to 30 minutes, or until broth is completely absorbed and rice is tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, oyster sauce, scallions, cilantro and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Makes about 4 quarts. Serves 18 to 20 as part of a multicourse meal.

[Recipe adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young]

Flavored Sweet Rice (Naw Mai Fan) Recipe

1/4 cup Chinese dried scallops (gawn yu chee)
1 cup sweet rice
1/2 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons Chinese dried shrimp
4 Chinese dried mushrooms
1 Chinese sausage (lop chong)
4 ounces Chinese barbecued pork, store-bought or homemade
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
1 1/4 cups homemade chicken broth
2 teaspoons black soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster flavored sauce
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1) In a small bowl, soak the dried scallops in about 1/3 cup cold water for 2 hours, or until softened. In a medium-sized bowl, wash all the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the combined sweet and long rice for 1 hour in enough cold water to cover. Place the shrimp and mushrooms in separate bowls. Pour about 1/4 cup cold water over each ingredient, and soak for about 30 minutes, to soften.

2) When softened, drain all the ingredients except the rice, discarding the shrimp water and reserving the scallop and mushroom liquids. Remove the small hard knob from the side of the scallops and discard. Finely shred the scallops with your hands. Chop shrimp if larger than 1/4 inch. Drain and squeeze dry the mushrooms. Cut off and discard stems and finely chop the caps.

3) Finely chop sausage and barbecued pork and set aside separately.

4) Meanwhile, heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add oil and Chinese sausage, and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add scallops and stir-fry another 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, mushrooms, and barbecued pork, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add thin soy sauce, stir to combine, remove from heat, and set aside.

5) Drain rice and place in a 2-quart saucepan. Add chicken broth and enough of the reserved scallop and mushrooms liquids to measure 1/4 cup, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Uncover and quickly scoop Chinese sausage mixture onto top of rice. Immediately cover and continue cooking the rice 25 to 30 minutes, or until broth is completely absorbed and rice is tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the black soy sauce, oyster sauce, scallions, and cilantro, and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Makes about 6 cups. Serves 6 to 8 as part of a multicourse meal.

[Recipe via The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen by Grace Young]

[tags]chinese, sticky rice, rice, sausage, barbecued pork, lop chong, oyster sauce, shiitake, grace young, glutinous rice, mushrooms[/tags]

32 Comments on “Chinese Sticky Rice (Nuomi Fan)”

  1. Judy said:

    I am going to make the first recipe but I’ll cut the quantities in half. Thank you so much! My family thanks you also, because they will be the lucky beneficiaries of this recipe.

  2. Bxmamanco said:

    I was in search of this delectable comfort food that was always such a treat when we went to Chinatown (NYC). Thanks for posting the recipe, now I can share a bit of my childhood memory & flavors with my family.

  3. Joseph said:

    Great recipe. However, I have to disagree with Chuck’s generalized comment “Chinese-American families often serve sticky rice in place of stuffing during Thanksgiving.”
    I’m from a Chinese-American family and we’ve never had this during Thanksgiving…nor or many other Asian-American families.

  4. Rsbeemer said:

    I’m Chinese American and we have always had the sticky rice with Thanksgiving dinner. And this is since the 50’s. a long standing tradition. I always crave for bread stuffing. And now I just make a small portion for myself and anyone else who might want some. But the naw mai fan has always been there. This is SF. Almost all Chinese families have the rice. So Joseph must be from some non asian community.

  5. Jessica said:

    Im confused…

  6. katie said:


    I am making this as we speak. but no char siu… chinese bacon and dried scallops. I love this stuff. Could tirelessly eat it on a porch all day long.

  7. Tim said:

    My aunt in NYC uses day old Nuomi Fan after Thanksgiving , presses it into a patty like a hamburger then coats it with an egg and fries it in pan to heat it up. I always thought Nuomi and Thanksgiving was an oddity of her household. Guess not.

  8. Vera said:

    This is comfort food for me. I normally cook it halfway on the stovetop and then put it in a casserole dish and then finish it off in the microwave. Saves space/burner and so much easier than worrying about it burning on the stovetop.

  9. Joseph said:

    Rsbeemer is from SF as I am too. Your comment is interesting. Guess, the Chinese-American homes that I’ve been to (during Thanksgiving) here in the bay area for the past 30+ years dont serve naw mai fan during Thanksgiving. Careful for us (Asian Americans) not to make assumptions either.

    BTW, good recipe!

  10. pj said:

    thanks for the great recipe! it was really yummy except my glutinous rice was crunchy. i cooked it in my rice cooker :-p i guess next time i’ll try soaking it overnight first.

  11. Bobbie Flayscio said:

    Don’t the Chinese like to wrap the rice in banana leaves? I have seen them in square shapes and at times in triangles. Very deliscious and I recommend them to all types of peeps. Gong Hay Fat Margaret Cho & A Happy Hom Suey Gok to my SF friends ;o)

  12. A Kao said:

    I’m going to agree with Joseph and disagree with Rsbeemer (all way back from 2008). My family is Taiwanese-American and we’ve never had “nuomi fan”/sticky rice for Thanksgiving. It has always been a dish we make whenever we have a hankering for it. And we have a hankering for it often!

    It’ so easy to make and ingredients are so common place in any Asian market it’s not funny.

    I actually never knew what the name of this dish was, translated into English. I always called it… a childish name – “Market Rice” – because it’s a favorite of the Taiwanese markets (cai shi chang – pinyin sucks).

    Here is my family’s variation on the recipe:

    Instead of chinese sausages, we use lean pork (a little bit healthier than the sausage but still just as tasty)
    We add dried oysters (these are cooked, dried oysters)
    We add dried shrimp (the small kind)
    We use ginger, shallots, garlic – minced as aromatics in the beginning
    All of these are sauteed in the beginning

    Instead of oyster sauce, we add sesame oil – it gives it a great aroma. Soy sauce adds color and we add a bit more salt for flavor.

    That’s it – everything else is cooked down as the recipe above. I add chopped cilantro at the end for flavor and garnish.

    I will also add this – it’s normal for the bottom rice to “burn” and crunch up. This is actually one of the best parts. In Taiwanese we call it “go-ba” (Min Nan).

    Eating it with oyster sauce or hot sauce is great. I like to make a small little salad with more cilantro and chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers – or even a fresh guacamole with cilantro. Very tasty contrast – but that’s my spin.

    BTW, to Bobbie Flayscio – the rice in leaves is another dish. It’s made with sticky rice, you typically stuff with a savory filling and wrap it in bamboo leaves, lotus leaves, or banana leaves, depending on your tradition/geography. I think banana leaves for more southeastern/hawaii culture. I think Cantonese or Guangdong in southern China wrap in lotus. My family has always wrapped in bamboo.

    To PJ, you gotta cook this dish as prescribed, not with a rice cooker. However, that crunchy bottom part – when you cook this dish correctly – is normal and very tasty.

  13. Joseph said:

    Thanks AKao!

  14. julia said:

    this is fantastic! i just came from a friend’s new year’s celebration–their second annual–and, even from last year, all i could think about was the sticky fried rice! and now i have a great sounding recipe complete with variations! thanks, everybody, for making something so delicious, so accessible. i can’t wait to try this on my own.

  15. Angela said:

    Hey y’all. Another Chinese American chiming in here (a bit late, I know). I tend to call the kind of rice in nuomi fan either “glutinous” or “sticky,” rather than “sweet.” Also, here’s one kind of the rice-in-leaves dish: and another:

  16. PAC said:

    I am a second generation Chinese living in Vancouver, Canada. We ALWAYS have nuomi fan with turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom never made bread stuffing and it wasn’t until years later as a young adult that I even tried bread stuffing.

    My Chinese Canadian friends also traditionally eat Chinese sticky rice for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If this dish is not served, there would probably be great protests! Maybe for the Chinese-Americans, this tradition is more regionalized?

  17. chris said:


    Thanks for this recipe while I was trying to find one to cook for thanksgiving dinner. It has been a tradition in my family to make it!

  18. Meilene said:

    I was born in HK & grew up in an inter-racial household. We always had the American Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of his family. My American Aunts would come to help with dinner. We served turkey, stuffing w/oyster, green bean casserole, wine, etc.

    My mom’s side of the family would come over on Friday and we would have a Chinese Thanksgiving. We had roast duck, soy sauce chicken, ox tail stew, sticky rice, gai lan, choy sum, XO Hennesy, etc.

    Then on Saturday, we would have rice porriage made from the left-over poultries.

    I read these post to my mom and she says it’s different for everyone because some families left the homeland 1 or 2 generations ago and some have come wanting to quickly asseminate into and achieve the American Dream. So sometimes immigrants and refugees have had to lay aside some of their culture. She says this is why she loves the internet, even if your family has mislaid parts of the culture, it’s so much easier to fill in the gaps today. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  19. Meilene said:

    Opps! I meant assimilate not asseminate

  20. cheryld said:

    Woo hoo people from San Francisco! Dungeness crab for Thanksgiving? ;)

    I’m Filipino-American, and we have this sometimes for Thanksgiving in stead of stuffing/dressing. I guess someone taught my aunt how to make it and she did. It is popular among many of my Filipino friends’ families – you don’t have to be Chinese to eat this! YUM!

    My husband is Chinese/Vietnamese and like Meilene’s family we do Chinese food Thanksgiving too. Delicious. I look forward to trying to impress my families with this. Has anyone heard of/made of a vegetarian version of this?

  21. michael said:

    A kao,You should have writen the measurement, sounds like you know what you’re talking about.

  22. Tiffany said:

    I just made the first version and it turned out great! I did add some dried baby shrimps to be more like my grandmother’s. Thanks for a great recipe! Now that I know how easy it is to make, I’m going to be making this all the time!

  23. Sara said:

    Wow…its amazing to listen to the comments of “Asian-Americans” on what is traditional and not in America. Being a second generation Chinese born American who grew up in Southern California in a non-Asian community, this is HAS been a traditional Cantonese side dish served at Thanksgiving if your parents or grandparents immigrated at least to California during the 50’s – 70’s. And of course, they prepared and passed it down to their children and grandchildren. Newer immigrants from the 70’s to present, would not know of this tradition.

    I agree with RSBeemer as this being a traditional dish since the 1950’s when the majority of immigrants were from Canton, China.

    There are different variations and I couldn’t quite remember them, so a Google-search led me here to remind me what was in it. Thanks all for your recipe comments.

  24. Amanda said:

    As a 3rd generation Chinese American (my grandfather was born here and my grandmother came over in 1932), I found this discussion so interesting. My family always has nuomi fan for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t imagine not having it! We eat it in place of mashed potatoes though, instead of stuffing. Although, I have to say I’m not much of a fan for mashed potatoes. Or stuffing.

    For my Pau Pau’s recipe, we steam lop chong (chinese sausage), and lop yuk (chinese bacon) in with the rice, and cook the rice in chicken broth. The rice comes out so tasty you really don’t need to add any extra flavorings, although oyster sauce is sometimes necessary. Mix in the rehydrated shiitake mushroom, green onions, cilantro, and sometimes char siu if we have it on hand. And a couple years ago my grandmother had the brilliant idea to mix in the salted duck yolk for an extra saltiness and richness if we were able to find raw duck eggs. An added bonus!

  25. e M i said:

    Love it! Thanks for the recipe! I’ve also grown up on sticky rice stuffing on Thanksgiving. It’s still my favorite, and my mommy wants to make it for me every year. Yay!! Sometimes we even get it on Christmas too. ;) I will need to try and make my own sometime now, with your recipe!

  26. Daniella Ramdhanie said:

    Thank you for this lovely recipe, can’t wait to try making it myself. By the way I’m 17 and not Chinese nor an I Korean. But I love their dishes.

  27. L said:

    I’m (2nd generation) Chinese and we have sticky rice at Thanksgiving, Christmas and sometimes at Birthday dinners too. This is a special treat for us, we can make it anytime but we like to save it for special occasions.

    We use button mushrooms, chinese sausage, diced chicken, green onion & cilantro.

    At Thanksgiving we have stuffing and sticky rice.

  28. Curtis said:

    I’m a third generation Asian American. My family is from Canton (Guongzhou) and we grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. And indeed my grandmother and aunts served sticky rice (naw mai fan) at Thanksgiving. We also had the traditional turkey dressing as well, so people could have both if desired. Although Phoenix is far removed from the Bay Area and LA regions, we still observed some of the old customs brought over from the old country, and ate the traditional foods (when we could get the right ingredients brought over from the west coast!).

  29. Cinderella Tremaine said:

    I have read all the comments on this wonderful rice dish. And now I am so homesick. I can smell it and taste it. This is a famous dish for all Chinese families. Comfort food as I see here. Thanking everyone here for sharing… a Chinese female, I sure know what it means to have a happy bowl full of nuomi fan.

  30. Sherry said:

    As another Cantonese American (2nd generation), we never had this dish during Thanksgiving either. I’m from the PNW and I’ve never heard of that tradition until today. But then again, my family never actually did Thanksgiving, either American or Chinese-ifed — it’s much more common for us to do a hot pot on that day.

    For me, this is a dish we have during the winter time. In fact, we just made this the other day when our first cold snap rolled through. We also do lap yuk and the small dried shrimp, but we also put preserved radish and the stems of broccoli in it as well…

  31. Kim Lum said:

    Thank you the discussion. I am a low fan married to a first gen Cantonese. We enjoy many traditional Asian foods and will have a feast on Christmas including jeweled rice. Love the aromas as I prep all the ingredients as well as the char siu from a local market.


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