The best dishes in the world are cooked twice: toast, chips, biscotti – and fried rice.
We have got into fried rice big time recently. At least once or twice a week it’s anything fried rice for dinner. Beef fried rice, pork fried rice, prawn fried rice – and I plan to put bacon and chorizo sausage to test in the near future.
Of course it would be fusion but what’s wrong with that? If other ethnicities invented an absolutely delightful, frugal and nutritious dish template, why can everybody not benefit? We’d be on a diet of ham and eggs if it weren’t for foreign influences in cooking.
Fried rice of course originated as a vessel for leftovers: cold cooked rice with whatever was at hand. Apparently, it used to be served at the end of Chinese banquets or receptions, to demonstrate that the host has been generous to the whole extent of their larder. Scraping out the barrel for the guests, in other words.
Cold fried rice
I love fried rice so much it’s my go-to Chinese takeaway dish. But it’s just as good to make at home, even from scratch, with one huge caveat: the rice must be fridge cold for frying.
How to cook rice?
All the various techniques and appliances for cooking rice are rendered useless when there’s frying at the end of the road: you can simply boil it like pasta.
A large pan of salty water, a rolling boil for 8-10 minutes – 25 for brown rice - that’s all it takes. Drain and cool enough to safely transfer into the fridge; I might be old-school but I never put steaming hot food into the fridge. And then the world is your fried rice.
Egg fried rice?
Egg as an ingredient is a contentious issue. Some super-authentic authorities instruct to fry a little omelette from the egg before you even take the rice out of the fridge, slice it and add to the rice at the very end.
I think of egg in the rice as a kind of dressing rather than an ingredient, so I prefer to scramble it into the rice last thing. Sometimes, like in this recipe, I skip it altogether. I have no problems with egg whatever shape or form but the Weather Man does – he’s not an eggy person.
A little beef goes a long way
It’s a beef fried rice after all, beef is the seasoning and flavouring rather than the bulk of an ingredient. That’s why I like to make it with scraps of fillet beef or rib eye. If I cook steaks and the meat needs a trim, or one steak is unfairly larger than others, I’m happy: there’s my beef fried rice in the near future.
Obviously, it’s great with flank or rump as well, and there’s nothing stopping you from buying the meat with the rice dish in mind, but the above is just a tip.
And last but very important: furikake. It is such a great topping for rice I don’t know how I survived before I knew of it. You can now buy it in leading supermarkets or online suppliers. Or you can make your own by crushing nori flakes with black and white sesame seeds. You’ll be amazed how quickly a jar of it will go!