Monday, November 1, 2010

"Kitchen Sink" Fried Rice

Making fried rice at home is the most efficient, and delicious, way to use leftover meats or vegetables that need to be used up before the rot monster gets them.  Plus, it's always so much better when you make it yourself.  I tend to make what we'll call Kitchen Sink rice because I'll throw in whatever I have that sounds good to me.  Which leads me to this evening...

Our dinner tonight was fried rice with shrimp, scallion-scrambled egg, baby corn, carrots, onions, bamboo shoots and a chiffonade of spinach added at the last minute.  It's kind of like pizza (see "The World's Most Perfect Food").  All the food groups (can) be represented.  In tonight's version, we had grain, dairy protein, lean seafood protein and vegetables.  Sounds pretty perfect to me.  And, when a 4 year old says, "Mommy, it smells like Chinese food" and then later "I love it!  You're the best cooker in the world!" then you know you're on to something.

Make a pot of rice in advance (2 cups of water, 1 cup of rice, 20 minutes, you know).  If you can make it a day ahead, it's even better.  If you need to make it same day, cook it as early as possible. Fluff it up with a fork to get some air moving around and stick it in the fridge.  You want it to dry out and let the grains become separate.  Have all your ingredients cut and ready to go, then...let the games begin!

I first scrambled one egg (and some egg beaters that I needed to use up) with scallions.  Now, y'all know scallions are green onions, which are not the same as shallots!  Remove from the wok & set aside.  Next, I stir fried the onion and carrots.  As the carrots began to soften, I added minced garlic and all the other vegetables, except the spinach.  Remove from wok & set aside.

I took a handful of shrimp (how ever much you want) and cut them in half lengthwise.  I stir fried them next.  Remove and set aside.  I added a little vegetable oil here and when it was  hot, I stir fried the rice.  Again, try to get it cooked and dried out a little.  Keep an eye on it and do it until it looks right.  Then, add all your stuff back in.  Drizzle soy sauce over (as much as you like) and sprinkle with ground ginger...oh, that smells heavenly!  Lastly, I stirred in the sliced spinach and mixed in, just to wilt it.  Then, we ate the heck out of it!

The other extremely cool thing about making your own fried rice is how ridiculously easy it is.  Make a pot of rice tonight, stick it in the fridge, & whip it up tomorrow when you get home from work.  The possibilities are endless and don't forget, if you're really in a pinch, use frozen or canned peas and carrots or asparagus, or see where I'm going with this.  

BTW-As you know, I am a cookbook junkie. If you enjoy rice, you may want to seek this one out.  It covers Asia, India, Middle East, Italy, America...the whole planet as it relates to rice.  Risotto is not to be feared!  It's crazy easy.  Indian Biryani at home?  Absolutely!  If you can read, you can cook. 

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