Chinese Crispy or Sizzling Rice

Chinese Sizzling Rice Recipe
BJI/Blue Jean Images Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
21 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 6mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese crispy or sizzling rice is also known as guoba (鍋巴). There are two different types of guoba in Chinese cooking. The first kind of guoba means scorched rice. Traditionally Chinese people boil rice in a giant metal wok over a flame and the result of this kind of cooking method causes the bottom of the wok to form a layer of crusty or scorched rice. This scorched rice has a hard and crispy texture with a delicious toasted flavor and Chinese people eat this guoba as a snack.​

Some people might find it hard to believe Chinese people enjoy eating scorched rice but it’s just like some people like well-fired bread or toasted marshmallows.

Another type of guoba is what we call crispy or sizzling rice. This guoba is often used in different kinds of Chinese dishes. It is usually served with thick sauce and seafood. One of the interesting things about this kind of guoba dish is it’s not only delicious and smells good but also makes a “sound”. When thick sauce is poured on, the guoba will start to make a magical popping noise. The guoba dish “sweet and sour prawn with guoba” combines delicious and sweet and sour tastes.

Another interesting fact about guoba is that during World War Two, there was a dish called “Bombing Tokyo," which contained prawns, cooked shredded chicken, and tomato sauce poured into guoba, resulting in a dramatic popping sound.

You should be able to purchase pre-cooked or cooked guoba in Chinese or Asian supermarkets but it’s also very easy to make at home. Below is the sizzling rice recipe.


  • 1 cup long- or medium-grain rice

  • 1 1/2 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse 1 cup of long- or medium-grain rice in a pot. Add 1 1/2 cups water (1 1/4 if using medium-grain rice) to the rice and bring to a boil.

  2. Cover and simmer at low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from burner and allow to cool.

  3. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 300 F.

  4. Place the rice on a baking sheet, making sure that it is about (but no more than) 1/4-inch thick.

  5. Bake the rice for 50 to 55 minutes until it’s dry.

  6. Cool and cut into 2-inch squares. Store in a container until needed but don’t freeze.

  7. The rice is now ready to be deep-fried. The trick to using deep-fried crispy rice is to make sure that both it and the sauce or soup it is being added to are very hot. That way you will hear the crackling sounds. Unfortunately, this makes for a lot of last-minute work–you can’t deep fry the rice crusts and then set them aside to add during the final stage of cooking. Instead, the rice should be deep-fried before the dish is served, with the soup or sauce being kept warm during this time. Deep-fry a few at a time, turning constantly until they brown and puff up (this will take only seconds). Drain on paper towels. Bring to the table, quickly pour the hot liquid over it, and listen to the rice snapping and popping.

Safety Tip: If not handled properly, cooked rice has the potential to grow a bacteria called Bacillus cereus. To prevent this, make certain the rice is completely dried, then rapidly cooled, cut into squares, placed into a container, and refrigerated for no more than seven days before use.