September 20, 2016

Vegetable Fried Rice

Exports of the Riceland include rice, brown rice, and meth
There comes a time in every man's life when he must eschew the brightly colored fried blobs of inauthentic deliciousness sold to him by American Chinese restaurants, and seek out something more legit. Something more culturally relevant. Surprisingly enough, that turns out to be fried rice (the existential journey's over and you didn't even have to leave the restaurant. You're welcome) Apparently, despite the fact that it seems custom-made for US restaurants, fried rice goes back pretty much forever in China. Like any respectable cultural dish, it developed as a way to force a family to eat the leftovers that are just lying around. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That seems about right. When you've got a whiny family breathing down your neck for food, for the third time this week, and all you've got in the fridge (or...root cellar, or whatever they had back in ancient China. Probably not fridge.) are some scraps of random vegetables, and leftover rice, you'll get to inventing pretty quickly. That's how fried rice, and probably also the wheel, justified homicide, and divorce attorneys, were created.


3 cup Water
1.5 cups uncooked Rice (You're gonna want something in a long-grain rice for this. Short grain rices are good for things like risotto, where you need a lot of starches released into the dish to hold everything together. That's not what we're doing, so keep that mess away from fried rice.)
2 Eggs
12 oz. frozen Peas and Carrots 
1 standard-issue Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 bunch Green Onions (The part of "scallions" will be played by "green onions" today. The two terms are completely interchangeable, but when I say "scallions" I get angry hand-written letters from my mom telling me I'm a disappointment.)
1 TBSP Canola Oil
3 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

The first thing you're gonna need to do is make your rice. Unless you like sad and crunchy fried rice that gets stuck between your teeth, which makes you a laughing stock at the winter formal. Again. So take your rice, shove it into a pot along with water your water, ginger, an average-sized human's pinch o' salt, and 1 tsp of your soy sauce. Let those guys swim together and really get to know each other. An awesome icebreaker is fire, so bring that pot to a boil, cover it with a lid so that nobody escapes, and simmer it for 15 minutes. Turn off the fire, uncover the pot, and stir that nonsense around with a fork to help keep it from forming a massive, dense clump of rice and sadness. That's the rice part down. Now we just need to work on the fried part.

Slice your onion, and toss it in a large sauté pan (or a wok, if you've got the disposable income to buy things like woks) over medium-high heat, along with your canola oil and an average pinch of salt. Cook that mess for about 5 minutes before adding in your peas and carrots (pro-tip: defrost the peas and carrots first to have your dish turn out more "delicious," with even fewer "needless expensive dental bills"). Cook those together for another couple minutes, when the peas and carrots are heated through, and the smell coming off of your pan starts getting aggressive with your nose.

Chopsticks added because I'm apparently fancy.
Use this time to thinly slice your red pepper into little strips. Add your dainty red pepper strips into the business end of your pan along with another pinch of salt, and cook them for another minute. Then form an empty well in the middle of the pan, beat your eggs so they won't try to escape, and throw them in to the well (I had a joke about throwing a sack of adorable kittens down a well but I decided it was in bad taste. And now I'm struggling to not make a joke about cats being "in bad taste" in traditional Chinese cooking. You're welcome, political correctness enthusiasts). Stir the bejeezus out of the eggs so that you end up with small, evenly cooked egg bits, instead of a big dumb egg-patty that's burnt on the bottom. Chop and stir in your green onions, and then unceremoniously plop your rice down on top of your vegetables and eggs. Add in your sesame oil and the rest of your soy sauce, and stir that sucker up. Let it cook for a couple minutes, stirring regularly, to let all the flavors really get in each other's business, and that's it! A big steaming pile of vaguely-authentic deliciousness! Get some friends together and gobble it down on it's own, or pair it with some of the other authentic Chinese dishes you prepared, like your famous "Number 87 with extra sauce."

No comments:

Post a Comment