Saturday, January 8, 2011

You Brade Runnah? Yes, it's the Fried Rice episode

Yes, it was the quintessential Asian joke of the 80s. Can't say Rs or Ls correctly. I think Lethal Weapon 4 even made fun of people making fun of it. With all that, Fried Rice is pretty darn tasty. It's the kind of dish that can be as easy or as complex as you want. One thing it isn't is out of reach of the home cook. So, here you go. Easy, hearty fried rice.

2 Cups of cooked rice. (can be left overs, better cold)
One Chicken breast (both halves)
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger root
1/3 cup of soy sauce
1/2 onion
1 cup chicken stock
2 eggs

Optional veggies:
4 celery stalks
1 carrot
1 cup mushrooms
2 red peppers

One of the best things I ever brought back from a work related trip abroad was the rice cooker I got in Tokyo, Japan. It can make WAAAY more rice than we'd ever need, up to 10 cups I think, which, considering we're 10 people and 2 cups is generally enough, is pretty massive. But it's set and forget, can keep it hot and fresh for a couple days and can be set on a timer. It also can make sticky sushi rice, whole grain rice and porridge with aplomb. It can also steam veggies for that matter. Excellent investment if you can find one. So, I cooked up my rice and while it was on I got to the chicken.
First of all, I made a marinate. Finely chop the garlic, ginger and onions and mix with the Soy Sauce.
Then take the chicken breast and cut it into chunks. This part you can play with. If you're more interested in a side dish, cut it into smaller pieces, maybe the size of the last digit of your pinkie. I was aiming for something a bit more hearty, so I used bigger chunks.
Then dump them all into the marinate, cover and set in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile you can prep your veggies. I put them as optional. Some people like more or less in their fried rice, again, depending if it's a side or a main. If it's a side, some julienne of carrots (that's cutting 'em into matchsticks) and maybe some red or green peppers should be sufficient. I used celery, peppers, carrots and mushrooms and another clove of garlic, rough cut. 
Get your handy dandy wok out, add a bit of oil and get it nice and hot. Drop the garlic in first, stir a minute, then add the other vegetables, cook for a couple minutes between adding each one. Celery, peppers, carrots and then mushrooms last. Take a big splash of the marinate from the chicken, and stirring add it into the wok and cook for another couple minutes.

When that's done, dump it all into another bowl and now it's time to do the chicken. Don't wash out the wok, just add another splash of oil and put the chicken in, a bit at a time. I think I put in about 1/6th at a time, cook for about 3 minutes then the next bit until it's all done. This is probably the longest step, since you want the chicken to be well cooked. Add a bit of marinate to make sure it stays moist and try to scoop out as much of the onion, garlic and ginger as possible to get that cooked with the meat. When it's done, take it out of the wok and set aside. Now comes the secret to fried rice. The egg. Take your two eggs and beat them. I know, they don't deserve it, but think of it as if they were the out going Press Secretary. Anyway, get your rice ready and drop the beaten egg into the hot wok and stir, like you're making scrambled eggs. When it's about 2/3 of the way done, dump in the rice and start stirring and mixing the rice and eggs. You'll want the stock handy since the rice might start sticking, a bit of liquid keeps it from clumping on the sides. 

When it's well mixed, maybe two minutes, start adding the chicken and vegetables. Keep stirring until you get a nice brown color on the rice and it's well mixed. You will probably have to add more stock while doing this. 

That's really about it. Put it all into a big bowl. Serve hot. These amounts should probably make enough to serve 8-10 people. I'd say about an hour and fifteen minutes not including the time the rice takes to cook and chicken to marinate.

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