Kind of Sticky Rice with Calamari and Kale

One of the reasons I created Macheesmo was to challenge myself in the kitchen. I wanted to push myself to explore new cuisine and new techniques and I really enjoy sharing these new dishes with my very attractive (I’m assuming) readers.

While leafing through my go-to cookbook last week, I found this recipe and knew I wanted to try it.

I absolutely love calamari. It is surprisingly simple to cook, flavorful, fast, and dirt cheap. Even at Whole Foods it runs about $5/pound. If you have a fish market in your area, you can get enough for a good appetizer or salad dish for a buck.

The part of this recipe that was new to me was not the calamari, it was the rice. What really makes this dish is the Sticky Rice. I got it pretty close, but made a pretty fatal error right away: I used the wrong kind of rice.

Sticky Rice with Calamari

Just a moment please...

Yield
Serves 2.
Prep Time
Total Time

Homemade sticky rice (it’s easy) and quick seared calamari for a fast and delicious dinner!

Ingredients

Basic Sticky Rice

1 1/2 Cups sticky rice
1 Cup Coconut milk
1 Tablespoon soy sauce

Calamari and Kale Stir Fry:

1/2 pound calamari, cleaned
1 bunch kale, try to pick one with smaller leaves
1-2 red chiles depending on your desired heat
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
A few carrots (optional)
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Directions

1) For best sticky rice, rinse it well with cold water and soak it overnight.

2) Take your soaked rice the next day and pour it through a section of cheesecloth. Tie it up into a tight ball and put it in your steamer. Steam the rice for 30-40 minutes. Keep a close eye on the water level in your steamer to make sure it doesn’t get too low.

3) Prep your stir-fry ingredients while the rice steams. For the kale, slice out the large stems and chop it into pieces. Cut the calamari into rings and halve the tentacles. Also, dice up your chiles, garlic, and any other ingredients you need. This all cooks really fast, so you want to make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped.

4) On the rice, add the coconut milk and soy sauce while keeping the rice in the cheesecloth. Kind of roll the rice around to get it all covered and mixed in. Wrap up your rice again and return it to the steamer on low to basically stay warm. It should be done cooking though.

5) For the stir-fry Saute the peppers and garlic for about a minute over high heat with a drizzle of oil.

6) Then add your kale. Saute for probably three minutes until the kale turns really green.

7) Then add your calamari and cook for about two more minutes until the little squids turn opaque and barely firm.

8) Take them off the heat right away.

Then it is as simple as putting a heaping serving of your sort of sticky rice down and topping it with your stir fry.

The recipe called, of course, for sticky rice which is typically broken Jasmine. This rice is impossible to find though unless you are in an Asian market. I didn’t want to make a special trip so I thought I would try it with Jasmine rice and see what I got. I followed the same procedure which was fun and new and I ended up with a very flavorful rice, but the texture wasn’t, well, sticky. Or not as much as it should be.

To really get the desired texture you have to soak your rice overnight. First, rinse it very well until the water runs clear. If you have the right kind of rice, this will rinse of extra starch you don’t want. Then let it soak overnight.

Rice is such an amazing thing.

Rice is such an amazing thing.

When you are ready to start cooking the next day you are going to need one more piece of equipment which can be bought at most supermarkets for about $2.

We are not making cheese today.

We are not making cheese today.

Take your rice and dump it into a section of cheesecloth, tie it up tight into a ball and put it in your steamer. You want this to steam for about 30-40 minutes. It’s pretty hard to overcook so don’t worry about that.

Possibly odd, but effective, method.

Possibly odd, but effective, method.

NOTE: Keep an eye on your steamer. I almost burned my kitchen down because all of the water will evaporate much quicker than when you normally steam vegetables. I’m guessing this is because the water is being absorbed by the rice. I had to add water to my steamer half way through because it was bone dry.

While it is steaming you can prep your other ingredients. When buying calamari, it should smell fresh and be on ice. Most markets will have them cleaned for you already. If you get to know your fishmonger (you should), maybe you can talk him/her into throwing in a few extra tentacles. They’re the best.

Squid is CHEAP.

Squid is CHEAP.


Feel free to experiment with other veggies. This is just what I used.

Pretty easy prep.

Pretty easy prep.

For the kale, slice out the tougher middle stem part and then rip up the leaves into bite-sized pieces. For the calamari, slice the body into rings and the tentacles into halves or quarters depending on size.

Also, dice up your chiles, garlic, and any other ingredients you need. This all cooks really fast, so you want to make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped.

Everything ready to go.

Everything ready to go.

Focus back on your rice for a minute. Hopefully it has been cooking for about 40 minutes and hopefully it is sticky. If you are like me, you will have Jasmine in a bag, which is good also, but not exactly right.

Add the coconut milk and soy sauce while keeping the rice in the cheesecloth. Kind of roll the rice around to get it all covered and mixed in.

Wrap up your rice again and return it to the steamer on low to basically stay warm. It should be done cooking though.

The flavor for the rice.

The flavor for the rice.

Now for the quick part. Saute the peppers and garlic for about a minute just to get the flavors going.

Don't burn these guys.

Don’t burn these guys.

Then add your kale. Saute for probably three minutes until the kale turns really green.

Healthy!

Healthy!

Then add your calamari and cook for about two more minutes until the little squids turn opaque and barely firm.

Calamari party.

Calamari party.

Take them off the heat right away. The hard thing about calamari is that if you overcook them for even 30 seconds they will start to get rubbery. You want tender. Not rubbery. I always err on the side of under-cooking these guys actually.

Then it is as simple as putting a heaping serving of your sort of sticky rice down and topping it with your stir fry.

Why don't you put a ring on it?

Why don’t you put a ring on it?

There was something about this meal, even though I messed up the rice, that left me feeling really awesome. The dish was filling but also I could tell that what I was eating was good for me. It had that kind of flavor. It tasted like health. You know what I mean?

Next time I’ll buy the right kind of rice…

3 comments on “Kind of Sticky Rice with Calamari and Kale

  1. Good point. Coconut milk is not the healthiest of ingredients. I would encourage you to use Lite as I can't ever really taste the difference.

    You could also leave it out entirely. If you use the proper rice, it will be delicious just as is.

  2. This sounds brilliant! I’m such a fan of quick easy but full of flavour meals and have been experimenting a lot recently with Kale.. We have plenty of asian supermarkets around so I might go hunting for the rice this week. Looking forward to trying it..

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