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It’s the rainy season again, which means hot humid afternoons followed by thunderstorms in the evenings and early mornings.  But today, I’m secretly (or not so secretly) pleased that the dark clouds have given me an excuse not to go out for a run. Because I’ve neglected blogging for long enough, and I do miss it.

I mentioned we were getting a new housekeeper/cook.  Now, I miss the luxury of having things in the kitchen done with minimal supervision, but I’m not complaining, since it’s all part and parcel of training someone new.

Today I just wanted a simple one-dish meal, so I took the opportunity to demonstrate how I like Fried Rice to be cooked.

Fried Rice may be considered one of those basic dishes which any Chinese home-cook can make.  When I first started cooking, I was arrogant enough to believe that I’d be able to make fried rice quite easily. But it took me a couple of attempts before I got it the way I wanted – with the rice grains “loose” instead of mushy or clumping together, and the egg adhering to the rice grains and remaining somewhat fluffy.  A lot of it boils down to practice.  The more comfortable you are with cooking with a wok, the easier it becomes.

I’m sure many of you would have your own recipes for fried rice.  But a friend recently asked that I share some simple, basic, recipes which didn’t involve too much work.  So here it is, specially with L in mind:

Ingredients

1.5 cups cooked white rice, cooled
3 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 brown onion, chopped (optional)
4 shallots, sliced
A thumb of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 carrot, diced
4 tbs peas
3 eggs, beaten (add a little soya sauce and pepper if you wish)
10 medium prawns, shelled and de-veined
Lean pork, cut into strips, and seasoned with light soya sauce and pepper, OR  some Chinese sausage, soaked, skinned and diced (Optional)
Cooking oil
Salt, soya sauce and pepper to taste

Method

In a wok, heat about 4 tbs oil, then fry garlic, ginger, shallots and onion till fragrant.  In order not to brown or burn any of it (esp the garlic), adjust the heat down as may be necessary.
Add pork and fry till browned, then add prawns, and vegetables and stir fry everything until cooked.  Remove from wok and set aside (the wok should be dry).
Fry cooked rice in the same wok, tossing and pressing the rice grains against the wok to separate them, until all the rice grains have come loose from one another.
Return the rest of the cooked ingredients into the wok and toss together with the rice until well-combined.  If there is liquid in the cooked ingredients, don’t add it to the rice all at once, as it could become too wet and mushy. Instead, add none at first, then a little at a time until desired “wetness”.  (Sometimes I don’t add any of it, especially if using a lot of brown onion which tends to produce a lot of moisture).  Once the rice and other ingredients are well-combined, add soya sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Now push the fried rice to one half of the wok, so that the other half of the wok is empty.
Add the eggs into the empty half of the wok, and leave for awhile to cook without stirring (as if frying an omelette) until the underside is just beginning to cook (it should no longer be liquid). Adjust the heat down if necessary so the egg does not brown. It should still be soft. Once the underside is cooked (and the upper part is still somewhat liquid), toss the rice over it and leave it for a moment so the liquid part of the egg has time to adhere to the rice as it cooks and solidifies.  Once that happens, toss the rice in the wok and spread it out and turn it over in sections with the spatula if necessary, so that the parts with the egg come into contact with the wok, to enable all the bits of egg to cook.  Avoid stirring too much when the egg is still in liquid form. Once all the egg is cooked, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Your Fried Rice is now ready to be enjoyed.

Serves approximately 5.

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