Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Black sticky rice revisited

My muscles are recovering from yesterday’s Bridge Run, which was approximately 10k from Milsons Point ending at the Government House along Macquarie Street.  Unlike last year’s experience, this year brought more sore muscles and pain in my butt, thighs and legs. As I ran, jogged and walked the route in light rain, I kept thinking of Murakami’s book which reminded me of his experience in the many marathons that he runs around the world – how he prepares for each mentally and physically.  I constantly had to remind myself to concentrate on the breathe and focus on the path ahead, one step at a time.  This kept me focus for the whole 1 hour and 32 minutes.  The weather wasn’t as glorious as it could have been, but the view always gets to me - passing under the magnificent Harbour Bridge, the spectacular harbour and the iconic Sydney Opera House. I can never get tired of these Sydney wonders!   

Soaking in the light drizzle, my head was soaked from a combination of rain and sweat.  My work colleagues who joined me have dispersed into the distance as we approached the bridge, and I could only whisper in between breathes, “hey, wait up!” , each of them already zooming around other runners as they satisfy their own fitness goals.  There were moments of doubt when my thoughts turned to stopping and giving up and cheating by taking off my bib and going through the Domain and ducking in with the crowds at the finish line. The medal was not something aimed for anyway.   But there was that nagging thought inside me, pushing me to go take that extra step, take that next kilometre in stride and it’s all going to be fine.    

Running alone amidst a crowd of thousands (does that sound weird?), it was so easy to get distracted by the noise from the spectators, music from sponsor stalls along the route, the cheers from the volunteers as they hand cup after cup to the runners. Breathing in and out, slowly pacing myself, I see older men and women triumphantly passing me with their slow calculated pace and that kept me inspired.  Oooh, oooh, oooh.... inhale, ooh ooh ooh ooh, inhale.  I calculated my breaths as if I was breathing through flows in my Vinyasa yoga practice.  Although it is not a marathon by any standard, the run/job/walk was something I did not prepare for.  Except for my 2x yoga sessions and intermittent 30-minute walk around the block a week, there were no special trainings that went with the decision to do another Bridge Run this year.  It was another whim decided amongst office colleagues.  Albeit the sore muscles, I felt it was one of the most exhilarating runs I’ve ever done, as well as the longest.    

As I turn onto Macquarie Street, the running crowd from the opposite lane approaching the finish line is always an inspiring sight.  As I slowly ran my way following the course, I can’t help but get distracted and amazed at each of runner sprinting their way towards the finish line.  Their faces expressing varying degrees of intent, focus and determination. Some huffing and puffing but still eyes set forward to the finish line. Some sweating so much, red faced by eyes glued straight ahead. 

Although this is my 3rd Bridge Run experience, this year has given me a strong sense of belief in myself – where usually doubt sits comfortably.  I felt energized after the run and had so much energy even until late last night, when the muscles started tightening and soreness creeping slowly into each muscle tissue.   I went to my yoga practice with slightly stiff legs today, but as always, I come out feeling taller and calmer. 

And after a day of strenuous activity, there’s nothing that I would love more than to indulge in comfort food.  So we’re revisiting an old post with new photos! (It’s actually just an excuse to give life and new photos to posts from the archives!) Black sticky rice with coconut cream and toasted sesame seeds!  I tell you.  This one cuddles you in all the right places.  Sore muscles or not.


3 cups black glutinous rice
3 pandan leaves, tied in a knot

1 tsp salt 
375g palm sugar. grated
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
500ml coconut cream (use Kara brand in tetra pack)

Wash and rinse the rice until water is almost clear.  The water will still be a little bit dark but clean.  (This took about 5-6 wash-and-rinse)

Place the washed rice in a 6L or 8L pressure cooker.  
Add water to cover the rice, 6cm above the rice level.

Add salt and pandan leaves.  
Close pressure cooker lid tightly and bring to boil on high heat, approximately 5 minutes.

Once boiling (pressure cooker hissing loudly), reduce heat to low (hissing gently) and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool/decompress for another 15 minutes. 

While rice is resting/cooling/decompressing, toast the sesame seeds - using a non stick pan.  
 On medium heat, fry the sesame seeds until golden.  No oil needed.  
Transfer into a small bowl and let cool.

Using a sauce pan, dissolve the grated palm sugar in the 1/2 cup water.
Remove pressure cooker lid and remove pandan leaves.  Stir in dissolved palm sugar. 

Serve warm in bowls drizzled with coconut cream and toasted sesame seeds.

Tips and tricks
* Use Kara brand for the coconut cream.  I find that this brand is creamier than those that come in tins/cans.
* Be extra careful when using pressure cookers, as they can cause burns if opened while still hissing.
* Remember that pressure cookers once lid has been locked, should not be opened at any time, unless the hissing has completely stopped and the safety red button (differs in various brands and models) has completely sunk.


The real prize for running the 10K Bridge Run for me, was not really the medal. It's winning against all the self doubts inside and pushing through to the finish line regardless of the time.  And this year, I actually beat my last year's record by 17 minutes.  So that's a bonus.  The half marathon next year doesn't seem too far after all.



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