Sunday, March 9, 2008

egg fried rice

mum came for lunch today and i made egg fried rice, which is ironic because my chinese lesson today was on expressing likes and dislikes and one of the people in the dialogue didn't like fried rice because it was too expensive (wo bu xihuan chi danchaofan, yinwei shi hen gui le)

i think it's cheap as chips. mine had egg in it (actually it was just the egg yolks left over from making marshmallow), but on the whole it was dumpling fried rice. when i was at the markets yesterday doing some food shopping i was in one of the chinese stores buying ginger and i had a sudden craving for chaofan - fried rice. i remembered i had some rice in the freezer. then when i got home i realised i had some dumpling filling too. jiaozi, or dumplings, are just one of my favourite things to eat, but i thought i'd put the filling in the rice.

really fried rice is just a good way to get rid of left overs, but here's a recipe anyway.

fried rice
  • a quantity of left over rice, either from the fridge or freezer. freshly cooked rice won't work
  • ginger and garlic finely chopped/grated
  • spring onions finely sliced, with the white and green sections kept separately
  • some sort of meat - left over dumpling filling (pork and cabbage), or bacon or ham or prawns or chicken or pork meat, or these things in any combination
  • a selection of vegetables, beansprouts, carrot and capsicum are my favourite, evenly diced. frozen peas just left to defrost on the bench are really really good
  • dried chinese mushrooms, soaked/cooked according to the instructions
  • egg, beaten
  • sauces/flavourings

cook the egg first. you'll need a hot wok (woks should always be hot), with a little vegetable oil in the bottom. pour in the beaten egg and swirl to cover the sides of the wok. it should then be thin enough that it cooks almost instantly. either remove as pancake and slice, or i just pull it down into the centre of the wok and cut it with my stiry-thing.

wipe the wok clean and re-oil. add the aromatics - ie the garlic, ginger and spring onions (white sections only). if you're using chili, this would be the place to put it in. i like to use a sauce that has beef flavours, blackbean and chili in it. my circle of friends call it stern lady sauce, because - well the lady on the label looks very stern
really i think it is some sort of 'auntie's home style cooking' type of brand. look for one's with stickers on the side in english because there are lots of different types. this one is normally called 'beef and blackbean'.

sorry, i'm getting distracted. you've cooked your egg, and now have your garlic, ginger, onion and stern lady in the wok. it should all sizzle and spit when you put them in, or you don't have the wok hot enough. once these have browned off a bit, add the meat that you're using and get it well cooked, because the rest will happen fairly quickly.

add your vegetables. they should be cut to an appropriate size so that they all cook at the same time (the beansprouts and peas will go in the end because they just need heating through). stir until these are cooked.

add the rice with some liquid. i tend to use a bit of shaoshing rice wine and a little soy. be careful not to make it too salty!!! once the rice has heated through and softened up a bit stir though the peas, sprouts and the cooked egg. use the green section of the spring onion raw, as a garnish. a little coriander would also be nice.

the total cooking time should be under 5 minutes, depending on the meat you've chosen (my was raw, if it's leftover cooked meat you could do this in about 3 minutes). the prep time is longer because you need to slice everything, but if you have it ready it's a good thing to make when you have people coming over because you only need to be away from the table for a few minutes. mmmmmm... danchaofan!

PS. you should never, ever clean a wok by putting in a sink full of water. wipe it down in a wet cloth, try to avoid detergent unless it really needs it (i cooked salt and pepper squid in my yesterday which required a little). use a brush for any stubborn bits. then dry it by placing it back on the heat. a good wok as the oil of all the dishes that have gone before coating it.

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