Food is one of the most exciting ways to share and explore cultures from around the world, and today, award-winning fashion designer Peter Som shares with us an updated recipe from his childhood that sheds light on the Chinese-American experience, just in time for the Lunar New Year.
Som—who has dressed Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Scarlett Johansson and Maggie Gyllenhaal in his colorful and flowing designs—has long held a special place in his heart for the culinary world.
In 2019, he launched The Extra Taste as a means to share recipes and kitchen essentials and “everything delicious.” Today, he shares with us his take on No Mai Fan, a savory Chinese sticky rice.
"In our household growing up, steamed rice was served at every meal,” Som says. “For special occasions my Grandma would make No Mai Fan, which is sticky rice that’s studded with lap cheong (Chinese sausage), dried shrimp, mushrooms and other savory bits with a pale amber hue from oyster sauce and soy sauce. I loved it (and still love it) so much that as a kid I would immediately look at the amount in the steamer and try to gauge how much each person would get (this was the only time I was good at math). So yes, for me rice is life and No Mai Fan is heaven.”
This version streamlines the recipe, calling for everything to be cooked in a single Dutch oven in about 25 minutes.
“If you can’t find Sweet Rice (also called Glutinous Rice or Sticky Rice),” Som says, “use all Jasmine Rice and add a few extra tablespoons of water which will give the rice a slightly stickier consistency, and after cooking leave the pot covered on the stove for 10-15 minutes. It will be a decent approximation of the signature sticky chewy tender texture, but truly, if you can find sticky rice it will be worth it."
Follow Peter Som’s The Extra Taste online for more delicious dishes and inspiration.
Photography by: Peter Som