Friday, August 26, 2011
Ina Garten is one of my favorite Food Network Chefs, besides Giada. If you follow Ina’s shows, you’ll know that she always prepare a special chicken dish for her husband when he returns home every Friday, from a week-long of work, away from home. So, I guess her husband really loves chickens and never gets bored of it. The trick is, Ina always put a new twist onto the same old chicken dish. So, each dish looks and tastes like a new and exciting one. My husband had a special dish that I always prepare on Friday too, it’s fried rice. Oh yes, you can put millions of twists on a basic fried rice and I guaranteed you’ll never get bored of it as well.
There are a few basic ingredients that always appear in the traditional fired rice recipe. The rest if the ingredient lists are really up to your imaginations. Plus, you can use up whatever ingredients you have left in your fridge. That’s what make fried rice so much fun to eat and prepare. And what a nice way to clean up the fridge, too! There are a few basic techniques and tricks you need to follow in preparing the fired rice that will yield success on your finished dish every single time.
First thing first, the basic ingredients. They are, of course, the rice (I used brown rice here, you can use white, jasmine, or what ever you have on hand), eggs, onions, mix vegetables, meat or seafood (if you’re not vegetarian), and green onions.
Special equipment needed: a wok. Or, a frying pan that is big enough to hold all the ingredients all at one. Although you cook each ingredient separately, they all join into the "pool" at the end. A big enough wok/pan will ensure easy stirring and no spilling.
Another important tips is to have all the ingredients ready and on stand-by before we start heating the wok. This is a rather fast cooking dish, like most Chinese stir fry. You won't have much time to chop up ingredients after your wok is heated.
First, cook the scrambled eggs and break them up into bit size pieces.
Next, Kielbasa (polish sausage), hahaha...I know that's not a typical Chinese cuisine ingredient. But that's what I have in the fridge, and to the wok it goes. You can definitely use Chinese sausage if you want. Brown them nicely to develop the flavor is the key.
Up next, the onions. I prefer the onions to have a little crunch in my rice. So, I don't cook them until caramelized, just brown enough so the sweet flavor is developed.
Before you put the shrimps in, make sure the wok/pan is hot enough after the onions are removed from it. If you're not sure, just heat the wok for a minute or two before putting the shrimps in. Shrimps cook extremely fast and you definitely don't want to overcook them.
Next, the mixed vegetables. You can use fresh, canned or frozen ones. If using frozen ones, defrost them ahead or they'll take a longer time to heat up.
Last but not least, the rice. The secret is to use a day old rice when you want a perfect fried rice dish that each grain of rice is separated and not stick together (well, not a secret anymore now). Same as the theory of using a day old bread to make french toast. You want less moisture in the fried rice so they won't be soggy or sticky. Now, here comes the debate of using soy sauce in the rice. I never put soy sauce in my fried rice. As the authentic fried rice shouldn't have soy sauce in it. The best way to season the rice is to use oyster sauce (my top choice), chicken bouillon granulate, or kosher salt. Maggi sauce would be a wonderful choice too, but you can serve that on the side and add as much or as little to your own taste.
When the rice is heated through, everybody is back to the pool for a final stir. Then season with white pepper and a dash of sesame oil. Turn off the heat before you stir in the chopped green onions and you're done.
It's really easy to prepare and versatile. If you follow these little tips, you'll have perfect fried rice every time.
Thank You all for all those sweet and lovely "Birthday" wishes from the previous post. I truly appreciate your supports, feedback and suggestions you provided. Since quite many of you requested to see more Asian, healthy and easy to prepare recipes, this Perfect Shrimp Fried Rice fits into all of those categories. Yes, it is considered a healthy dish because you can control the amount of oil used to cook this dish, which is much less than those from the take-out places, and no MSG is used! Who needs take outs when you can make this succulent and healthful fried rice so easily at home? Not me.
If you haven't enter the Silicone Baking Mat (Silpat) and Vanilla Powder Giveaway yet, here's the link. Good Luck.
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