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Start the rice a day ahead unless you're using microwave directions. Any crispy rice left over is delicious used in salads or eaten out of hand. The preparation needs planning to assure that both the soup and the rice are brought to the table at the same moment. It takes a little doing, but well worth the effort.
- 1 cup long-grain rice (not converted)
- 1 cup water
- 1 whole chicken breast, skinned,boned and cut into julienne strips
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups shredded fresh watercress or lettuce or spinach
- ½ cup finely chopped green onions
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- vegetable oil (for deep frying)
- This step is done the night before, or 1 hour before if the rice is to be dried in a microwave oven.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven combine rice and water over high heat.
- Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes then reduce heat to low and cook an additional 30 minutes without removing lid.
- The crusty rice around the sides and bottom will stick to the pan and will be used in the soup. Take off the top layer of soft rice and reserve for another use.
- Lift out the crusty rice and place on a cookie sheet to dry at room temperature, or place in a glass baking dish in a microwave oven for 10 minutes on low.
- Toss the strips of chicken breast with 1 tablespoons of the cornstarch and set aside.
- In a small container combine remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with water and soy sauce.
- Heat chicken stock just to boiling then stir in soy mixture and chicken and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the shredded greens, onions and sesame oil, if desired.
- Keep the soup hot (but not boiling) while frying rice.
- Heat oil to 375 °F in a deep fryer or heavy saucepan and fry rice 3 to 5 minutes until puffed and lightly browned, being careful because it can burn quickly.
- Lift rice out of the oil with a slotted spoon.
- Drain the rice on paper towels and place in heated tureen or bowls, pour in the soup and serve at once.
- Or, hot fried rice balls can be dropped into individual servings of hot soup, creating a"sizzling" sound.
- Additional fried rice may be passed during the course.