Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)

Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)


So the other day I was messing around on Zhihu,
the Chinese equivalent of Quora, and there was an interesting thread over there that
spawned a ton of discussion. The OP asked what everyone thought the best
xianfancai or “over rice dish” was, and the sheer diversity of responses was like
overwhelming in an awesome way. It actually made me think back to when I saw
like the exact same thread over on Reddit… it’s just one of those things I guess that
people can get fanatical about the world over. And I mean… why not? Over rice dishes can be super simple, they
can also be more involved… but either way are like the aesthetic ideal of a one-person
meal. So we wanted to show you three different “over
rice” dishes today. First being a simple saucy diced pork and
mushroom dish called xianggu rouding, then moving on to steamed squash and black soybean
because I mean it’s.. technically still autumn, and finally finishing up with an absurdly
dirt simple rice with Lao Gan Ma chili crisp that I guess more of a college student-style
slap-stuff-together meal than a proper dish per se… but might actually be our personal
favorite xiafancai of the bunch. Now, we have do an obvious tendency to share
some pretty intense recipes on this channel, but we felt the whole essence of an over rice
dish is something that could be whipped up on a weeknight. So for this video we gave ourselves a time
limit. Our rice cooker cooks rice in 50 minutes,
so each of these dishes can be whipped up in that time, from the first slice of the
knife to the very last dish you scrub down. So first up, diced pork with mushroom. Here we’re using 200 grams of pork loin
and giving this a dice by hand. Please don’t sub this with ground pork here,
with this dish hand diced loin or chop’ll have a much better taste and texture. Slice those by first cutting down into about
three millimeter sheets, then pile a stack and cut into similarly thick slivers, then
align those slivers and finally give them a dice. Now transfer over to a bowl, and we can marinate. So to your pork toss in a quarter teaspoon
salt, a half teaspoon sugar, a half teaspoon cornstarch, a half teaspoon liaojiu aka Shaoxing
wine and you could sub that with whatever wine you feel like, and a quarter teaspoon
soy sauce – here we’re using dark soy sauce for color but regular soy sauce would also
work just fine. Give that a thorough mix, squeeze in about
a teaspoon of oil to coat, and let that sit for at least ten minutes. Now for the mushrooms, we’re using about
eight shiitake mushrooms here – washed and with the stems removed. We’ll give those a similarly sized dice
by first slicing the mushroom in half horizontally, then slicing into slivers, and just like the
pork aligning those slivers and getting it into a dice. Now, to get out a bit of the grassy taste
of the mushrooms, prep those by giving them a quick blanch in boiling water. Boil for about a minute, strain, rinse under
running water, and once it’s cool enough to handle give those a good squeeze so they’re
not overly water-logged when we try to fry them. Last up, a bit of aromatics. This was about an inch of ginger, gently crushed,
three cloves of garlic, crushed just enough to easily peel them, and about three springs
of scallion. We’ll be using the white part of the scallion
as an aromatic, so just cut that off and keep it with the garlic and ginger. The green bits’re gunna get added separately
at the end… so give those a slice, and toss on a plate. So now, to fry. As always when stir-frying, first longyau. Get that wok piping hot, shut off the heat,
add in your oil – here about two tablespoons or so… and give it a swirl to get a nice
non-stick surface. Flame on high now, immediately go in with
the garlic ginger and scallion whites. Quick fifteen second fry until fragrant, then
go in with the marinated pork. Fry that for about a minute or until the pork
basically looks ‘done’, then swirl in a tablespoon liaojiu aka Shaoxing wine over
your spatula and around the sides of the wok. Quick mix, toss in the mushrooms, fry for
about another minute, then swirl in a tablespoon and a half of soy sauce and give it all a
mix. Now go in with three quarters of a cup of
water and bring it up to a boil. Season with a half tablespoon oyster sauce,
a teaspoon of sugar, a quarter teaspoon white pepper powder, and an optional sprinkle of
MSG. Let that bubble for about two minutes, then
go in with a slurry of about a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of
water. Quick mix, make sure it’s good and thickened,
add in the chopped scallion greens and shut off the heat. Drizzle in about a teaspoon of toasted sesame
oil… and your diced pork and mushroom is done. Ok, so squash with fermented black soybean. Here we’re actually using a gourd called
nangua – it’s often mistranslated into English as pumpkin, and while we’re not
100% it’s a definitely dead-ringer for butternut squash, which could at very least be a direct
sub. We’re using a quarter of a gourd here, or
about 350 grams in all. First scoop out the pulp and seeds, then peel
the outside with a knife. Now slice those into about inch and a half
rings, stack a couple up, chop into inch and a half chunks… and set those aside. Now to go with that, we’re making a simple,
bog-standard garlic with fermented black soybean sauce. So to a mortar first toss in five cloves of
garlic, half teaspoon salt and two teaspoons of sugar. Give those all a pound together for about
two minutes… and if you don’t own a mortar you can alternatively use a metal bowl and
pound with the butt of the knife. Then add in your douchi, the black fermented
soybean. If you’re familiar with that Chinese bottled
black bean with garlic sauce, that’s basically what we’re making here but this’s one
of those things like mayo where homemade is like a 1000 times better. We’ll be pounding a half of our tablespoon
of douchi for about a minute, then adding another half tablespoon and giving only like
5 or 6 pounds. Separating the douchi like we did here is
mostly for looks – we are on youtube after all… but feel free to just pound them all
together if you don’t care. Now back to the squash, drizzle over a teaspoon
of oil and give it toss to coat. Now spread those out into roughly one even-ish
layer, and spoon over the garlic black bean sauce. Now put that in a rapidly bubbling steamer,
and steam for twelve minutes. After that time, shut off the heat, and drain
out the excess steaming liquid. Definitely don’t toss that though… we’ll
be putting that back in a saucepan, bringing to a boil, and adding in a slurry of a half
teaspoon cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water. Quick mix, heat off, then drizzle in a teaspoon
of toasted sesame oil. Spoon that sauce back over, mix it all together…
and the steamed squash is done. Last up, rice with Lao Gan Ma. If you’re not sure what Lao Gan Ma Chili
crisp is, feel free to check out our recent thesis on the topic up here… but full disclosure
this is almost a non-recipe. Take white rice. Add Lao Gan Ma. Eat. But because we’re theoretically a cooking
channel… let’s also top this with a quick fried egg. No special technique here or anything… first
add about two to three tablespoons of oil to a pan and over a medium-high flame heat
that up until bubbles form around a pair of chopsticks. Crack an egg, let it set, then shut off the
heat. Tilt the pan so the oil pools, then spoon
the oil over the white until it all basically looks cooked. Toss the egg over the rice, nestle in a bit
of blanched veg to give this some semblance of a full meal, and drizzle a touch of the
chili crisp’s oil over the egg to make everything all pretty. Simple, satisfying, and way more delicious
than it has any right to be. So right! Uh… xiafancai. This is not necessarily a category of things,
but more of an adjective to describe dishes that’re really good over rice. And starch. Because all of this? Would just be also awesome on noodles. Now there would be so many of these dishes
to even start listing out… so yeah, if you are curious and interested, let us know in
the comments… and we can make more xiafancai in the future. And of course… check out the Reddit link
in the description box for a detailed recipe, a big thank for everyone that’s supporting
us on Patreon… and of course, subscribe for more Chinese cooking videos.


100 thoughts on “Three “Over Rice” Recipes (下饭菜)

  1. Hey guys, a few notes:

    1. To blanch the vegetable: pot of boiling water, squeeze in a touch of oil for a bit of sheen. Here we were doing Choy Sum, so that gets blanched for ~1 minute. The way I (Chris) learned to do crunchy veg like Choy Sum or Baby Bok Choy is to hold the thick stem in the bubbling water for about ~30-45 seconds (I usually do it until my hand gets too hot), then drop it in for 15-30 seconds then drain. Of course, Steph doesn’t bother with that… and she’s a better cook than the person that taught me that anyhow. I just like my blanched vegetable cooked just enough and no more I suppose.

    2. I’m guessing my opinion on Mapo Tofu with rice might… have some strong disagreement lol. Here’s the way I look at it. A proper Mapo Tofu can be pretty intensely flavored… and I feel like for something as strong a taste as Mala, I personally want my white rice to be a break from that, a respite. Having it on the side gives the meal a bit of contrast. Obviously though, if you like your Mapo Tofu over rice, most of the world seems to agree with you. I guess I seem to be the weird one 🙂

    3. So I promise we weren’t trying to pull a fast one on you or anything by labelling “Lao Gan Ma on white rice” as a ‘recipe’. Here’s the thing – a number of things that people might think of as xiafan (i.e. good over rice) here are basically prepared products. Another example might be fermented tofu, or perhaps Sichuan pickles. We wanted to include that sub-category of “good-over-rice” stuff in the video, and Lao Gan Ma is certainly the king of that sub-category…

    4. Generally, I think most people in the West equate ‘good over rice’ as ‘saucy’. And saucy stuff is good over rice, no doubt… but there’s definitely stuff beyond that. So yeah. The whole concept here was ‘something saucy’, ‘something not saucy’, and ‘something prepared’.

    5. Another contentious opinion I hold: definitely make your black soybean garlic sauce yourself… it’s so, so much better than that bottled LKK. I compared the difference to mayo, but in hindsight I think a better analogy might be whipped cream – i.e. homemade = awesome, store-bought = kinda gross. To my taste buds at least, the bottled stuff just isn’t a substitute for that chocolately richness that douchi brings.

    6. So “xiafan” in an interesting word, because it seems that different people here have different concepts of what the word means. For some, it means basically anything salty/flavorful that you want to eat a lot of rice with *in the same meal*. For others (and how we used it here), it means something that you toss on/in your rice and eat it *in the same bite*. I can’t seem to put together if it’s a regional thing or not. It’s a kind of interesting dynamic because you could theoretically have people from the former group be talking about ‘xiafan’ dishes with the latter without much hiccup, as often there’s a big overlap there.

    Lastly, if you like this sort of stuff… let us know. We do have a comparative shortage of ‘weeknight cooking’ kind of things on this channel, and we quite like the concept of “a handful of good-over-rice dishes” in that 50 minute time limit (30 minutes is the cliché ‘quick and easy’ time limit, but I think 50 minutes is more realistic for proper cooking). It was fun for us to conceptualize & test too. We’d love to circle back around to “over rice dishes” every ~3 months or so, but only if you guys are into it. I know it’s not quite that hardcore foodie content that y’all might expect from us by now.

  2. I don't know about you guys, but butchering a squash with a cleaver takes me about 50 minutes in addition to any cooking time. That being said, I am a huge fan of these easy to throw together week-night warrior dishes; I'd love to see more.

  3. My favorite is mapo tofu. Kinda kidding but it’s still really good. My actual favorite might be katsudon, Japanese style fried pork and egg over rice. Or honestly gimme some eggs over rice too would work.

  4. This should be popular on Reddit. I'm certainly interested in more xiafancai dishes.
    I'm sort of with you on the mapo tofu. Mostly because letting it mix with rice makes it harder to eat with chopsticks. But also contrast/relief is nice.

  5. I am very guilty of just adding lao gan ma on noodles or rice and then calling it a meal, so I love stuff like this! I want to learn quicker recipes I can whip up in under an hour and still feel like I'm eating my parents' cooking.

    I still love watching your more complex videos as a learning experience though! But I'd also really appreciate simpler recipes or ideas for cooking at home. Keep up the good stuff!

  6. i literally just ate laoganma over rice just yesterday, Used the same brand and type aswell lol. Just instead of egg i just ate some silken tofu cubes alongside it. provides a nice hot/cold-contrast

  7. I didn't know there was a school of dishes of this distinction, but as it turns out, I happen to have a favorite breakfast, nearly like the last entry in your video:

    On low to medium heat, fry 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, one clove of chopped garlic, and one small chopped chili of your choice in a wok or standard frying pan, with 2 tbsp oil, until just barely browned. Next, crank the heat for only as long as it takes to crack in two large eggs. Immediately cover and remove the pan from the heat, allowing the residual heat to cook the eggs to your liking. This will vary (I like mine about 30 seconds past the free running yolk stage, or about 2 minutes covered).

    I serve the eggs over rice, with the yolks facing down. The underside of the eggs are beautifully studded with garlic, peanuts, and chili pieces, and the yolks, and soft albumin flow down into the rice. I like to splash a bit of black vinegar, light soy sauce, and the occasional lash of hoisin sauce over the top, and devour.

    I suspect some pickled veg work well with this as well. Hard to source where I am.

  8. nice! always looking for more squash recipes since self seeded kabocha grow in my garden every year
    also lol, almost everything i make gets turned into xiafancai since everyone in my family just wants their own singular bowl

  9. Big fan of the over rice dishes. Also love the multiple recipes per vid. You two are building up quite the repertoire!

  10. Is there any substitute for alcohol? Will just skipping it affect my dish? I live in a place where alcohol is prohibited.

  11. The pork and mushroom sounds really good, but I'm a bit confused about how the mushrooms are prepped; Do you really have to wash and blanche them? I was taught that you should never ever put mushrooms in water cause they'll soak it up and become soggy and mushy. Usually I just remove the dirt with a paper towel, cut it and throw it into the pan, and I've never noticed a grassy taste. Do you really have to blanche them or is this step optional?
    BTW, I'd love to see more weeknight dishes!

  12. the first two recipes are "quick descent dishes for a foodie", the last one is "I wanna something to eat or I am gonna die". To be honest, any kind of 炒磨肉 is a pretty good Xiafancai. 豆腐炒磨肉; 泡椒炒磨肉;番茄炒磨肉;芹菜炒磨肉……the list can go on and on and on

  13. Chinese here. Sorry but you totally misunderstood the meaning of 下饭 here. 下 here means consuming. So it’s not “dish over rice”, but “dish goes with rice”, something you’d eat a lot of rice with it. That’s why Mapo Tofu is a classic one cuz you really CONSUME a lot of rice while eating it. “这菜很下饭” means “this dish really goes with rice”. 所以川菜里的水煮肉片也是下饭菜,但是没人会把水煮肉片盖在米饭上吃吧?

  14. Xiafancai varies from family to family,for us it's leftover liquid from any stir-fried dishes lol…great works as always,keep it up!Also I would like to recommend a dish from my hometown Inner Mongolia,It called lamb Shaomai 羊肉烧麦 but It's a whole lot bifferenct from Guangdong version of Shaomai since It is filled with lamb and green onion and looks different too,In fact we call it 稍麦 or 稍卖 instead of 烧麦 to distinguish from the Cantonese Shaomai,but it works the same way as Cantonese 早茶 as people eating and drinking tea from early in the morning to noon,so check it out and you won't regret it!

  15. Definitely another disagree with the Mapo tofu front. But also I don't mix mine up completely. So I like to get a mix of heavy flavour and low. I think that the best dishes are the ones that blend with the rice beat. Hence why your Lao gan ma and soft egg is so damn good. But also why I'm skeptical about having a starchy squash with rice. But I'm keen to try it if you guys say it's good. Anyway, I love this kind of video, would definitely watch more.

  16. Over rice 🍚 yes I like the ideas especially the egg with chili 🌶 sauce. BTW the dog 🐕 is so cute!!! We loved seeing it peaking at the food!!

  17. Nice over rice options however I prefer more sauce. Just the Louisiana and gravy over rice or as we say rice and gravy with meat veggies on the side vibe. Thanks for sharing and love this channel.

  18. I'm recently working ona thick caramelized fried onion sauce to go over rice for a brainless, comforting meal. Not even a speck of Chinese technique in this, but the general idea is similar.

  19. I'm definitely interested in more like this – And, just so you know, I've always asked for my rice on the side when I have Ma Po Tufu. I'd, personally, enjoy seeing more "dry" things to add to the rice rather than just saucy type recipes. Oh, BTW – Thanks again for ALL the work and time you put into these. And even more, I love just how clear and useful you make all your videos.

  20. What can be a good substitute for liaojiu? I'm living in a small town with no way of getting some of the ingredients.

  21. That exact pork and mushroom recipe works excellently with store bought ground beef/pork/turkey/chicken, especially for lettuce wraps and extra garnishes

  22. Hiya, I noticed in another comment you mentioned that you like your mapo tofu next to your rice rather than over it. May I ask how these two eating methods are different (because to me, you end up with mapo tofu and rice in the same mouthful anyway), and why you prefer to eat it this way?

    I'm genuinely curious and worried I'm wearing my mapo tofu wrong lol.

    And I'd love to see more over rice recipes. My mum doesn't tend to cook these types of dishes often =)

  23. I really appreciate that two of these are veg! I love watching (but usually only watching, not making the dish) all your vids but I'm gonna actually make the two veg ones soon

  24. Question… would y'all consider doing a series on quick to-go meals? I'm talking about the kind of stuff you would make specifically to eat on the way, or during a short break on a job… things that perhaps stand up well to being reheated (even in a microwave).

    I'm constantly on the hunt for simple, easy, to-go foods, and it'd be so cool to see y'all tackle that kind of thing (if you haven't already, of course).

  25. 50 minutes for a weeknight meal is way too long, no reason to go longer than half an hour if you are just cooking a simple dinner. and i'm surprised your rice cooker takes 50 minutes.

  26. A simple and easy meal for any student or a single person to eat a healthy home cook meal. Good to teach someone to stay away from instant noodles. A useful lesson for me too. Thanks

  27. I ONLY eat mapo tofu over the rice… it flavors the rice and is especially good when it's extra super spicy, the rice absorbs the heat and flavor really well…

  28. I really liked this kind of video. I have been using one of your recipes for pork fried rice a lot lately because I don't usually have much time to cook and I can make it quickly. More of these would be awesome!

  29. There’s no such thing as "over-rice” dish.
    I eat every damn things with rice…Chinese dishes with rice, steaks with rice, KFC with rice, Fish & Chips with rice…oh and with chili-oil:)

  30. Cheers from Germany, you guys are one of my favorite cooking Channel… even my downy Daughter likes your Recipes… and that very rare

  31. A. More xiaofancai, yes, please! I love your channel and have learned much, but this is the sort of thing I could do most easily in my own situation.
    B. Love your doggie. 🙂
    C. Garbage plate?? How do you know about garbage plates; I thought you were from Eastern PA? (I'm from Western NY, the home of said garbage plate)
    D. Speaking of rice, is it ever not served at a meal in China or is that unthinkable?

  32. Sticky rice. Made with pistachio oil mixed in prior to steaming a long with a couple bay leaves some ground pistachio and golden raisins and saffron is basically the best food on earth.

  33. Rice, add Laoganma, and eat – this is what's going to happen with me this evening for the first time. I always lusted about this and held off so thanks for dignifying it for me! Good thing my wife's in Beijing now and would not see me doing this.

  34. Would be awesome to have a series of these! Feel like I need to get started with simple stuff before moving onto your more complicated recipes

  35. As cool as dishes that need more effort are, We all need a couple of no-brainers.
    If anyone else has a favorite they want to share, maybe we can collect them here in the comments!
    As a german, my go to really is good bread with cheese and pickles.
    But whats amazing too is rice, tuna with mayo and green beans? Idk why, it was so good the last time I ate that.

  36. Hey gang – long time listener, first time caller. This channel is absolutely the best English-language source for learning Chinese cooking ever done, full stop, and it really has me appreciating NYC's Chinatowns in a way most people don't get to. This video reminds me of a question (or maybe just 'topic') that's been burning my brain, and I can't seem to find a great source for answers. The headline is "what does a full home-cooked family meal look like day-to-day, in China, and how might that vary regionally, or how might it vary from a big meal at a decent restaurant?" So what I mean to get at is things like: "is rice a always a must with dinner, or if some noodles are involved in dinner, does rice go by the wayside?" "are there particular chili condiments you might nearly always see at a home table in Hunan or Sichuan?" "How many dishes might be made for say, a weekend meal when company is over?" I'd love to see a video on what the guidelines and traditions for home-cooked meals are!

  37. YES PLEASE!!!!!! more Xiafancai!!!!! & Ms Annie says she wants to see more of the cute puppy too!!!! Definitely more dog time needed ….I could have used this Tuesday night after 2 back to back snowstorms which left us with a foot of snow EACH and about 4 hrs of snowblowing AFTER the guy plowed out the driveway…. I was too tired & sore to make anything for dinner….I should have made the corn chowder I wanted BEFORE I went out to clear snow…. Lesson for next time….& keeping these in my "back pocket" recipes when I want something REALLY good & quick!!!!

  38. So… "over rice" is "rice toppings" here in the Philippines. Now i know the global term for this versatile dish

  39. Looking forward to trying the nangua. I noticed that you did not rinse your dandouchi for this recipe. Is that to retain more saltiness? Thanks.

  40. All three look good – steamed pumpkin – that is not something that would ever cross my mind in a million years. I really need to expand my imagination with regards to cooking food.

  41. When talking about xiafancai and 'student meals', I believe Stir-fried tomato and scrambled eggs should definitely be mentioned!! That's by far my #1 favorite, despite not being the most typical or 'authentic' type of xiafancai.

    I'd love a sequel video with another few recipes!

  42. My fave would be mapo dofu. It has always felt like the perfect over-rice dish to me – even more so than the Indian dishes I grew up with

  43. As someone who rarely feels compelled to comment on videos, lemme say OMG, YES, PLEASE MAKE MORE VIDEOS ABOUT STUFF ON RICE! That is possibly my favorite category of food. I love your in-depth videos explaining Chinese cooking techniques in microscopic detail (and Chinese food culture in general), but I'm also kinda lazy and unlikely to actually make a lot of the things in your videos (also I live in Norway and I can't find all the right ingredients here). I mean, I WANT to make all your recipes, but I also want to not cry when my version doesn't come out as good as yours due to my lackluster kitchen skills and ingredient substitutions. Anyhoo, simpler "over rice" recipes are so up my alley.

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