A sticky crusty crush

    Do you like that crisp, burnt, gochujang-dyed rice crust at the bottom of the dolsot when you scrape off spoon after spoon of bibimbap? If the answer is yes, I’m certain that you’d fall for this one too.

    Mom cooks her xoi in a non-stick pan, with coconut milk and little water. Somehow, without a precise recipe, she can make a shell of brown, sweet and crusty sticky rice every time. Then we fight each other for it when it’s still warm and just a tad chewy, leaving the soft innard xoi for my dad.

    Approximate recipe: Xôi cháy (literally “burnt xoi”, usually considered a point against the skillful xoi cooks, but I think it’s better than icing on a cake, it’s the best part of a perfectly cooked batch of xoi)
    – 1 lb sticky rice
    – 1/2 lbs mung bean (halved is fine, unscraped)
    – 1 can of coconut milk
    – 1/2 tsp salt
    – sugar (lots! ~ 8-10 tbs)

    Soak mung beans in water overnight to soften them, so that they get cooked faster (at about the same rate as the sticky rice). Mix sticky rice and beans together.
    Put sticky rice, mung bean, a can of coconut milk, and just enough water to have the grains 1/10 inch under the liquid surface. Cook in a deep pan, covered, on medium heat. (If cooked in rice cookers, the bottom crust won’t form.)
    When the mixture boils, turn the heat to low, wait about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is soaked into the grains, then use a chopstick to make holes in the mixture, allowing steam to circulate easily all around. Keep covering. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.
    When rice and mung bean are soft, sprinkle salt and sugar on top, then gently mix (with chopsticks) the xoi without disturbing the bottom layer. (This is exactly what you must do when eating dolsot bibimbap, you don’t want the crust to mix with the soft part.) Make holes in the mass again. Cook for a few more minutes.
    Scrape off the xoi innard first and store separately. Take out the whole crusty shell with care, or break off into chunks. Eat by itself. Flavorastic by itself.

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