Sizzling Rice Soup features a light broth with vegetables, chicken or shrimp, and topped with toasty crispy rice. The sizzling and crackling sounds of the piping hot crispy rice as it is poured into the soup is sure to impress your guests. Now you can make this Chinese restaurant favorite at home!
I had never heard of Sizzling Rice Soup until I moved from Malaysia to the United States! From what I understand, this soup originated in Taiwan but has become very popular in American Chinese restaurants.
The soup is usually served family-style in a large bowl. As the crispy rice is poured into the soup right at the dinner table, it starts to sizzle and crackle.
Sizzling Rice Soup features a very light broth in order to allow the delicious toasty flavors of the crispy rice to shine through. This gives the soup an amazing flavor as well as texture.
Having moved back to Malaysia, I have had to learn how to make it at home since it is still not popular even in Chinese restaurants here.
How to Make Sizzling Rice Soup
There are three parts to making Sizzling Rice Soup:
- Baking the cooked rice to dry it
- Preparing the soup
- Deep-frying the rice to make crispy rice puffs
Preparing the Rice For Sizzling Rice Soup
There are a couple of ways in which the sizzling rice can be prepared and served. The crispy rice is either packed and then cut into square cakes (like thin rice crispy treats) or served loose (as pictured above).
The first step is to cook the rice, then dry the cooked rice by baking it in the oven. (Side note: If you do not have an electric rice cooker, click here for a step-by-step guide on How to Cook Rice Without a Rice Cooker)
Square Crispy Rice Cakes
To make these square crispy rice cakes, pour 1 cup of cooked rice onto a baking sheet, then use a spatula to spread and pack the rice not more than 1/2 an inch thick over the baking sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees F for about 1 hour until dry. Allow the rice to cool completely before cutting them into 2-inch squares. Just before you are ready to serve the soup, deep fry the squares until puffy and slightly golden brown.
You can also find Instant Sizzling Rice Crackers at Asian supermarkets or online.
These pre-made rice crackers are convenient as you can skip the baking. All you need to do is to deep-fry them just before serving.
Loose Crispy Rice
Personally, I prefer my crispy rice to be loose in my Sizzling Rice Soup (as opposed to the square rice cakes) for a few reasons – it takes a lot faster to bake/dry the rice in the oven (20 minutes as opposed to 1 hour), and I prefer a little bit of crunchy rice in each bite, rather than having to break apart the large piece of rice cake once it’s in the soup.
This is the method that will be outlined in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread 1 cup of cooked rice on the sheet in a very thin layer. Using a fork helps ensure the rice stays fluffy and separated so it bakes evenly.
Leftover rice is perfect for this as it’s not too clumpy and will separate well.
Bake for 20 minutes.
The rice probably will not brown much, but you will notice that the rice grains will be very hard and almost translucent. Not each grain of rice will be completely dry but this is sufficient for deep-frying.
Allow the rice to cool, then pick up the parchment paper to pour the baked rice into a bowl.
Set the baked rice aside to prepare the soup.
Tip: This baked rice can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge. If you will be storing the rice for more than a few days, increase the baking time for a few more minutes or leave it out on your kitchen countertop for a few hours to ensure that each grain is completely dry before storing.
Preparing the Soup
Since the Sizzling Rice Soup will be served family-style (so you can pour the crispy rice into the soup for that sizzling effect) as opposed to individual bowls, I recommend using a pot that you can cook and serve the soup in, just so you won’t have to worry about transferring the hot soup into a large serving bowl once it is ready.
Of course, you can slice the carrot however you like, but this makes the dish look so pretty 🙂
Add 2 stalks of baby bok choy, chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can add just about any vegetable to this soup but I would recommend limiting it to 3 kinds to keep the soup simple. Baby corn, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots are some great options.
Bring the soup to a boil again, then add 8 – 10 medium shrimp. Let the soup boil for a few seconds, turn off the heat, then cover the pot. The shrimp will continue to cook so turning off the heat at this time will ensure they don’t overcook.
Tip: This soup can easily be made vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth and omitting the shrimp.
Leave the soup pot covered until you are ready to serve.
Making Crispy Rice For Sizzling Rice Soup
The secret to making the rice sizzle is to pour the crispy rice into the soup while it is still piping hot.
Just before you are ready to serve, heat approximately 1 cup of cooking oil (just enough to deep fry the rice) in a wok over medium-high heat.
Before you pour the rice in, test the oil to make sure that it is ready for deep-frying by placing a wooden chopstick in the wok. If it starts to bubble immediately, it is ready.
Pour a small batch of rice into the wok. After just a few seconds, the rice grains will puff up and turn brown.
Use a stainless steel soup skimmer to scoop up the rice from the oil.
Scoop up any stray grains of rice with your wok spatula and place it on the skimmer. It’s important not to leave any grains of rice in the oil as they will burn quickly.
Place the crispy rice on a serving plate, then fry up the next batch as quickly as possible. You’ll be doing 2 – 3 batches in total to deep-fry all of the rice. Work as fast (but safely!) as possible to ensure that the rice stays hot enough to sizzle when it is poured into the soup.
Pour all of the crispy rice into the soup and watch it sizzle and crackle! Enjoy!
Sizzling Rice Soup
Preparing the Rice
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, the spread the rice evenly on the baking sheet in a very thin layer using a fork.
- Bake the rice for 20 minutes.
- Allow the baked rice to cool, then pour into a bowl. Set aside
Preparing the Soup
- Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sliced carrot.
- Add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (if using) and salt to the soup.
- Add bok choy to the soup.
- Bring the soup to a boil again, then add the shrimp. Let the soup boil for a few seconds, turn off the heat and cover the pot.
Making the Crispy Rice
- Just before serving, heat cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot (see instructions in the recipe post on how to test this), pour a small batch of rice into the wok.
- Deep-fry the rice in 2 - 3 batches until slightly golden brown. Use a stainless steel soup skimmer to scoop up the rice from the oil.
- Immediately pour the crispy rice into the soup for that sizzling effect.