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The Chef's Way

Chef's Way
Steamed sticky rice with crab and sakura shrimp
By Danny Yip
Owner of The Chairman, on World's 50 Best Restaurants list and Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list

Veteran restaurateur Danny Yip had successful establishments in Canberra, Australia, before he moved back to Hong Kong to open The Chairman in 2009. The Chinese restaurant was ingredients-focused even before that concept became popular; from the start, Yip was using local ingredients as much as possible, and even produces many of the sauces and condiments they serve. The Chairman is on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants lists.

The most popular dish at The Chairman is the steamed flowery crab with aged Shaoxing wine and rice noodles, but the restaurant’s regular customers also love the steamed sticky rice with crabmeat and dried sakura shrimp.

In Chinese tradition, it’s served at the end of the meal - rice is meant to fill any holes in your stomach, in case you’re still hungry after all the courses that came before. At home, though, this would be a good centrepiece to a simple meal, served with stir-fried green vegetables and perhaps a soy sauce chicken (homemade or purchased), or roast meats (char siu [barbecued pork] or siu yuk [crisp-skinned roast pork]) from the siu mei (roast meat) shop.

Sticky rice is also known as glutinous rice; it’s a short-grained variety, but is not the same as the type served at daily meals in Japan and Korea. Sakura shrimp belong to the Sergestid family. They are tiny and pink, and are named poetically after sakura (cherry blossoms). Dried scallops (conpoy) are sold in some Chinese supermarkets, but you’ll find the better-quality ones at shops specialising in dried seafood. Don’t buy the very small ones, which are tough; buy scallops that are about 2cm (⅞in) in diameter. Because you’re going to shred them, it’s fine to buy dried scallops that are slightly broken (not perfect discs), which are a little cheaper.

Flowery crab is also known as flower crab; it gets its name because of the pattern on the shell. It's important to kill the crab right before cooking it. Once the crab is not alive, the meat starts to deteriorate.

You can make an easy clam stock by steaming fresh, shell-on clams until they open, then using the liquid that collects in the bowl. The clam meat can be used for other dishes. You can substitute homemade unsalted chicken broth, if you like.

January 31, 2020
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