Thursday, May 7, 2009
As a child, one of my favourite takeaway dishes (from a Chinese restaurant) was fried rice. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the healthiest dish, laden as it was with chopped ham, curry powder (for the yellow colour) and most likely lashings of MSG. It sure was tasty, but! And compared to my mother’s homemade version, that had beaten egg stirred through it, there was no comparison – takeaway won every time.
Fast forward to the present, and decent fried rice is harder to find, because I’m now a picky eater. Any fried rice with peas receives the ‘get lost’ treatment. Ham bits, bah, you don’t know what you’re doing! And as for curry powder – what the??
The solution is to do it yourself, so you can put in what you like and leave out the rubbish. I generally include:
- a couple of medium-large prawns (peeled green, or cooked),
- some shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water (save a tablespoon or so of the soaking water to add to the rice),
- Chinese sausage (lap cheong) or, if you’re a thrillseeker, some diced bacon (not authentic, but good), or barbequed pork (char siu)
- Chopped egg omelette that is made in the wok prior to starting the fried rice
The secret, I’ve found, is in the sauce. Combine the ingredients from the recipe below, add it to the rice, give it a quick toss and you’ll end up with perfect fried rice, ideal for the picky eater.
Fried Rice made with delectable sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbls vegetable oil
6 medium green prawns, peeled and quartered
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
150 g meat (Chinese sausage or BBQ pork), chopped
3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 mins, finely chopped
3 cups cooked rice
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts, washed and tailed
1. Make the omelette by adding the eggs to the wok, turning the wok so that the egg coats the bottom and side. Cook until barely set. Remove the omelette onto a plate, roll it up and chop into 1cm slices.
2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over med-high heat, until very hot. Add the prawns and stir around until just cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.
3. Reheat the wok and add heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil until very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and stirfry for 30 seconds.
4. Add the meat and mushrooms (and soaking juice) and cook for 1 minute. Then add rice and prawns to the wok.
5. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and sesame oil together in a cup, then add to the wok. Stir until rice is coated with the sauce.
6. Finally, add the chopped omelette and bean sprouts to the wok and heat through.
7. It’s ready to serve. This rice can be eaten alone (full of good stuff already) or as part of a banquet.