Fried Rice With Everything Nice
March 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
In a recent post I went public with my vow to use the food that I have on hand. I promised to waste less, to depend on my wits and create memorable meals with the dregs from my fridge, yadda, yadda, yadda. Alas, alack! One look in my over-stuffed refrigerator reveals that I have some work to do. But I’m not giving up, and I have a delicious solution. Fried rice is the perfect vessel for those little bits of leftovers. Truly greater than the sum of its neglected parts.
This recipe includes the vegetables and meat that I excavated from my refrigerator last night. You should adjust the recipe to include the forgotten treasures that you find in your fridge. Once you have the basic technique down, fried rice becomes a blank canvas on which to layer your leftovers. It’s art, man. The most important part of this recipe is the day-old rice. Rice that has been cooked the day before and left to cool and slightly dry out will make fried rice that separates into individual grains and is not a gummy mess.
This fried rice has a Southeast Asian flavor profile, with lime, cilantro and fish sauce. Trade those ingredients for soy sauce and black pepper, and you’ll have a Chinese version of the same. The one constant in my household: a fried egg on top. The added protein is always welcome, I love the crisped white, and the runny yolk makes a silky sauce for the rice that is a knockout. Fried rice is one of my favorite foods to gussy up with the fermented chili paste I posted about on the Panacea Facebook page a few days ago. That bit of chili heat and squeeze of lime are delicious finishing touches here.
Fried Rice With Everything Nice
8 Tbslp neutral oil -canola, vegetable, or peanut
8 C cooked rice, chilled
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
3/4 lb raw, diced boneless meat or small shrimp -or- 2 C tofu or cooked meat, diced
2 C of vegetables, diced (some suggestions… greens, broccoli, peas)
2 Tblsp fish sauce
1 C cilantro, chopped
1 lime, quartered
Your favorite chili sauce
For the rice:
Note: It is best to fry rice in small batches. I suggest dividing the recipe and cooking the rice two servings at a time.
1. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil of a large, heavy skillet or wok over high heat. When it is hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir fry until golden, about 30 seconds.
2. If you’re using raw meat, add it now and stir fry until it changes color and gives up some of its fat, a few minutes. If you’re using tofu or cooked meat, add it now and stir fry until it begins to crisp up a bit, about one minute.
3. Add the rice, using a damp hand to break up the rice as you add it to the pan. The aim is to ‘sprinkle’ the rice into the pan as individual grains.
4. Stir fry the rice for a minute, and then add the vegetables. Use your judgement about the timing for this step. A hard vegetable, like chopped broccoli florets, will need a few more minutes in the pan than frozen peas (which cook nearly instantly). Stir-fry for a few minutes more.
5. Just before the vegetables are cooked how you like them, add the fish sauce and stir fry for another minute.
6. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in another, smaller, heavy skillet. When it’s hot, crack an egg in the skillet and cover. Check after one minute – the egg is ready to flip once the white is opaque and the edges are crisping up. Carefully flip the egg and cook for 30 seconds more, uncovered. Cook each egg to order as you serve the rice.
7.Turn the rice into warmed bowls. Top each serving with a fried egg and serve with lime wedges, chili sauce, and cilantro.