Fried Rice :: Asia's Leftover Casserole
As a kid I remember eating fried rice from the Chinese restaurant in the food court at the local mall. I loved it, but it always baffled me. How they actually accomplished the "frying" of the rice, I could never figure out. Eventually, I concluded that it must be done in the same way that french fries are fried at McDonald's. But the thing that I never could understand was how they kept the rice in the fry baskets; wouldn't it just fall through the holes?! Even as an adult (having realized that "fried rice" does not actually mean "deep fried rice"), fried rice still held a certain sense of mystery for me. Somehow this simple dish had become an exotic secret of the far east that I would never understand! Let's face it, I'm a product of America and America just doesn't do rice!
Having lived in Asia for over a year, rice is becoming a little less mysterious. A couple weeks ago as I was scraping the cold-leftover-lunch-rice out of the rice cooker so I could make a new batch of rice for dinner, I thought to myself... "What am I going to do with this rice! There's not enough to eat for dinner, but there's too much to just give to the chickens." (Honestly people, I'm not making this up! How weird is my life!?!) Anyway, I had seen street vendors make fried rice before so I thought 'What the heck, it's worth a try!' Well, it was a success and has since become my one of my favorite dishes. The best part is that it's not just good for leftover rice, but leftover anything; I can throw almost anything in and it tastes great! It's one of those meals that works no matter what I happen to have on hand.
So with out further ado... Here's my Super-Easy Recipe for Fried Rice (for those of you out there who still think it's an exotic secret of the far east!)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
- Palm oil
- 1 egg
- A little bit of meat, sliced thinly (optional)
- Salt (Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce also works)
- 2 tsp. pork or chicken bullion (cubes or powder)
- 1/2 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- chopped green onion
- chopped cilantro
- Lime wedge for garnish
- about two cups of left over rice
- Make sure all your ingredients are out, chopped and ready.& Once you start cooking it goes quick.
- Start with about a 1/4 cup of oil in your wok. Turn on your flame, and while you let your wok heat up a little, spoon the oil up the sides of wok.
- Throw in your garlic and stir for just about 10-15 seconds
- Crack your egg directly into the wok and stir to scramble.
- Stir bullion powder into the mixture (and salt if you're using salt)
- Throw in meat (if you're using meat), stir until cooked
- Stir in the onion and tomato. Don't let them cook too long or they'll get mushy.
- Throw in the rice, green onion and cilantro, stir until heated through. If it gets dry and starts sticking to the wok too much, add a little more oil.
- Garnish with some leftover cilantro and a lime wedge
So that's how it's done, folks. I know there are a few things I use that aren't commonly found in a standard American kitchen (like wok, palm oil, lime wedges, etc.) so experiment and see what works for you! Enjoy!