Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fried Rice

Although I have much to tell and share about Miss D's first show ever (The Annual Spring Show at her preschool), I thought some of my readers might enjoy a break from child-centered posts.

I feel like most of my food posts are about dishes I'm trying for the first time or there is something tricksy about them. So I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite weeknight dishes which I make all the time, and would be happy eating almost every day, Fried Rice.

It is the easiest thing in the world and super-quick if you have pre-cooked rice. Usually if I am making anything with rice I will make sure to make a little over what I need so I have it on hand later. (a cup cooked or more is plenty for a family of 2 adults and one 3 year old)

You can put just about anything in it. It's great for using up leftover (not heavily flavored) vegetables or meats, and also for those days when you've run out of everything you can just chuck some warmed frozen veggies in there. For me, fried rice is not fried rice unless there is egg involved.*

Here is the technique I use:

- Take 2-3 eggs and mix them with a fork, season with salt and pepper

- Heat a neutral oil (like vegetable) in a frying pan over medium high heat.(It is hard to cook with a wok on western burners and I feel you get better results with a frying pan)

- Once the oil is shiny add the eggs, swirl the pan a little for even distribution and let them sit. DO NOT SCRAMBLE.

- When the egg is almost set, flip it over (watch it RISE- so fluffy!) The take your spatula and break it up into little pieces. When done to your desire, take it out and put it in a bowl.

- next, add more oil and cook anything raw (veggies, shrimp, meat, etc) that needs to be fully cooked quickly and in separate batches. Adjust heat as necessary (This enables you to make sure each ingredient is fully cooked, the pan does not cool down from having too many ingredients and that the items will be stir-fried and not steamed.) Browning is desirable. Take each item out as it is completed you can put them in separate bowls or in the same bowl with the eggs it doesn't really matter. (Frozen vegetables or cooked leftovers can skip this step.)

- More Oil! (that is what makes everything good you know) add some chopped garlic to the plan. As soon as you start to smell it, add any (thawed) frozen veggies or leftovers. Stir them to get them warmed through. Then add the (preferably cold) rice. Break up the rice with your spoon, it will clump and lump so do your best to get it all loose, stirring stirring stirring. Lastly add any pre-cooked ingredients including the egg.

- The sauce! This should be pre-made at the beginning actually so you can throw it on at the end as soon as everything is warm. Take approx 1 part soy sauce to 1 part mirin (sweet chinese cooking wine- if you don't have this you could try using sherry but it is really much better with mirin- you can get it at the jewels!) say a 1/4 cup of each. Taste it and add a table spoon of sugar or so (whisk to dissolve) to balance out the salty. (Add more or less as you prefer) A dash of dark sesame oil (also found at your neighborhood jewels) and you are good to go.

- Once everything is warmed through add the sauce, it should be almost instantly absorbed by the rice and everything else but stir for a minute until its slurped up or burned off. then turn off the heat.

- Serve in bowls topped with a little extra sesame oil. Bonus points if you can eat it with chopsticks.

*I have this weird thing about eating eggs. I hate them by themselves but love them fried hard and served with a lot of other stuff. Like fried rice or pad thai or even a frittata.

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