Thursday, 18 April 2013
Egg Fried Rice
In the western world, egg fried rice is a take out favourite from Chinese and Pan-Asian restaurants. Not only is it very simple to make at home but this is one of those dishes that was invented to use up leftovers. I don't recommend using fresh cooked rice for this technique. Fresh rice tends to be sticky and goes mushy. It's best to use leftover rice that has been refrigerated. Refrigerated rice has the perfect consistency and resiliency to additional cooking. This is also a great way to use up leftover vegetables and even leftover meat. If you add enough vegetables, it could be a meal unto itself. It also makes the perfect side dish to meat or fish, preferably cooked with similar Asian flavours.
This is so much more of a technique that an actual recipe. I only used leftover vegetables that I already had. What a great way to use them up. I will give you some approximate measurements for the veggies I used but you could add any and as many vegetables as you desire. This particular example doesn't have any meat but you could add leftover cubed or shredded chicken, pork or beef. Fresh, cleaned shrimp make a fantastic addition to this. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want about one egg per cup of leftover rice you are using. The amount of vegetables is your call.
To cook your eggs, use a couple of tablespoons of oil in a wok. I used 1 tbsp of canola oil and 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil has the most amazing flavour but a little goes a long way. Too much will overpower a dish, so I cut it with canola, which is a great frying oil. You could use just canola oil (or any neutral frying oil like vegetable and groundnut oil) or if you can find wok oil that would be great too. Wok oil is a frying oil that is infused with the flavours of ginger and garlic already.
So play around with this recipe as much as you want. I find that scallions are awesome in this but I didn't have any. This is a phenomenal method to use up leftovers in your fridge in a very delicious way. Not to mention it takes very little time to make! Here's what I did...
2 cups of cooked rice, refrigerated (white, long grain is best)
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, finely chopped (florets only)
5 broccolini, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/3 cup of unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup of oyster sauce
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp of canola oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1) Combine the canola and sesame oil in a large wok over medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough to fry, add the eggs and beat immediately into a scramble. After 2-3 minutes the egg should be set into separate pieces.
2) Add the precooked, refrigerated rice and stir to combine. Then add the onion, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about three to four minutes. The onion and garlic will steam and infuse their flavours into the rice and the egg. At this point, taste the rice and adjust the sauces or seasoning if need be.
3) Add all of the remaining vegetables and peanuts and stir until everything is warmed through. I like my vegetables to maintain a good bite, but if you want them cooked more, simply cook to your liking.
4) This is optional, but you could garnish with fresh scallion slices or fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
See how easy and versatile that is? Anybody can make a basic and enjoyable egg fried rice. I hope you try this technique next time you have some leftover rice to use. If you decide to add any cooked meat, add it in step 2 with the onion and garlic. If you are using fresh, cleaned shrimp then add them in step 3 with the vegetables. Shrimp don't take long to cook at all and turn very rubbery when they're overcooked. You just want them to cook until they are just pink.
Get creative with this one and let me know how it turns out.
Be happy and stay fed,