Friday, January 28, 2011

The Best Ever 'Fried' Rice

I had to come up with something to make on the fly and since my new bent is to try and use up whatever is leftover in the fridge, on this particular January night I was left staring blankly at a pot of cold steamed jasmine rice. Then I heard Ken's tires hit the gravel as he backed into the driveway and the realization that I had forgotten to plan for dinner was clearly evident by the two scrawny boneless, skinless breasts that I had thawed out. My mind flashed back to the spartan lunch I sent with him that morning and the even more austere breakfast that I had served him before he left the house--over NINE HOURS earlier. My panic was underscored by the slam of the front door because I could tell in its very tone that he was hungry and a hungry husband is far more frightening (and real) than the approach of 2012.

Thank God I'm a fast thinker and a clever woman for before he even cleared the kitchen doorway, I had the frying pan piping hot and as he bent to kiss me, I was pouring in the last of the farm fresh eggs, so that as our lips met, the only sound I heard was the sizzle of the pan.

Ken loves fried rice, but the stuff in the typical Chinese restaurant is not only loaded down with oil, but in my opinion, pretty tasteless as well. Tonight, however, I was going to whip up a delectable, healthy, colorful, and satisfying 'fried' rice that would tame the hungry beast deep in Ken's belly all while giving him a nutritious boost. And the best part? He'd never know that I had forgotten about dinner, because really, how does one forget about dinner when that person has so much food? Couldn't blow it; I've a reputation to uphold.

The Best Ever 'Fried' Rice

2-3 cups of leftover, cold rice*
3 whole eggs
2 boneless chicken breast halves, or one large
1 cup frozen peas, left to thaw while preparing rice
10 ounces of Cremini mushrooms (I buy them already sliced and packaged in a resealable bag)
1 handful of shredded carrots, finely chopped
1/2 a red pepper, finely diced
2 small toes of garlic, finely chopped
1 big pinch of dried red pepper, or to taste
5 outer leaves of a nice green, Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
handful of cilantro, finely chopped
handful of green onion tops, finely chopped
2T. raw, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
2T. dry toasted sesame seeds*
1T. peanut or canola oil
fried rice sauce, recipe follows

1. Mix eggs with a dash of cold water and pour into a super hot nonstick frying pan. Fry as you would an omelette, lifting edges and allowing uncooked egg to fill in around edges until completely cooked and set. Gently roll omelette up into a cigar and set aside on a cutting board. Let cool and then cut into thin ribbons.
2. Reheat pan with oil and allow to get very, very hot. Meanwhile, prepare chicken by cutting into small pieces. Sprinkle with a bit of low sodium soy sauce and toss to coat. Immediately put chicken, in a single layer, into the pan and allow to thoroughly cook. Just to note, any meat will stick to the surface if you try to move it around before the proteins in the meat coagulate. You have to be patient in order to get a nice caramel glaze on your chicken, meat, whatever you are cooking. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Once the chicken easily releases from the pan, sprinkle in a good pinch of the red pepper flakes and add the garlic; stir the chicken and allow to cook until no longer pink and then continue cooking until it is nicely caramelized, but not dried out; remove from pan and set aside.
3. Reheat the pan and add the mushrooms. Mushrooms release a lot of moisture, so cooking the mushrooms first means that all of those juices are going to pick up the chicken bits and add lots of flavor to the mix. Then, add the red pepper, cook for a minute or two and then lastly, add the minced carrots.
4. Break up the rice and add to the hot pan mixing in with the vegetables. Pat down and leave alone. WARNING--cold rice has a lot of starches sitting on its surface which is why you want to use cold rice, this will make for a crispy and tasty dish. However, if you try to move it around before the starch 'cooks' you will have a gummy, messy mess on your hands. Be patient; this isn't Chinese takeout pacing. After about 5 minutes, turn the heat down to medium and give the rice a bit of a nudge. If it seems stuck, then that means it's time to move it on. Grab a spatula and scrape and lift it, mixing it and flipping it, then press down again and allow it to cook, brown and get crispy. This will take about five more minutes.
5. Once you turn the rice, add the chicken and the juices back to the pan and stir to distribute the chicken.
6. Add the thawed peas.
7. Add the egg ribbons.
7. Let cook until warmed--about 3-5 minutes.
8. Toss in cilantro, chopped green onions and shredded green Savoy cabbage. Toss to evenly distribute; let cook about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
9. Top with chopped peanuts and toasted sesame seeds.
10. Dish it onto plates and drizzle with fried rice sauce.

Fried Rice Sauce
1 T. Brown Sugar
2 T. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 T. Rooster Paste
2 T. Rice Vinegar
2 T. Warm water
Drizzle of Toasted Sesame Oil (make sure it's toasted)
chopped ginger to taste

Mix together and drizzle onto fried rice.

Dry Toasted Sesame Seeds
Pour raw sesame seeds (buy them in bulk at a health food store to save money) into a nonstick skillet and toast over high heat. Be very careful as any raw seed or nut has a high concentration of oil and will burn VERY quickly. Continually stir until lightly golden and then quickly remove from pan by pouring onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Do NOT let the color go to too dark of a golden brown or they will burn very, very swiftly.
Store extra in a covered plastic container in either the fridge (longer shelf life) or in the panty and use on everything from steamed broccoli or other veggies to salad toppings.

So there's my ancient wifely secret to happy husband and lots of good loving!

1 comment:

  1. can i say yum!!!??? the rooster paste, is that the sriracha sauce? Very hot and spicy! I love it!!