"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fried Rice the Easy Way

I have made fried rice for years, but never bothered to write it down because it is so simple.  My wife last night suggested that I should write it down, because although simple to make, it has a number of steps that the home chef might not think of.  So, here it is.  The trick is to make the rice ahead of time and let it cool and dry out.  Otherwise it will absorb all the liquid ingredients and get soggy and gummy.  I am writing this recipe for chicken, but you can easily substitute pork.  Shrimp is also OK, but I like it much less.

* 1 cup rice (any kind, Basmati, Jasmine, etc.)

* 1 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breast (should be about 1/2 lb.)

* 1 med. handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped

* 1 small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

* 5 lg. cloves garlic, chopped

* 1 med. onion, chopped

* 1/2 lg. red pepper, chopped

* 3 Tbsp. soy sauce

* 2 Tbsp. Amontillado sherry

* 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

* 1 Tbsp. sesame oil

* 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

- Cook the rice well before preparing the other ingredients.  This should be done at least 4 hours before; but you can prepare the night before if you wish.  There is never too much time before cooking, for it is important to have dry, cool, rice.

- Boil the chicken breast until done.  Depending on the thickness, this could take between 10-15 minutes.  I often used frozen chicken and throw it right into the boiling water; and if this is the case, then 20-30 minutes would be about right.  If you know how to judge doneness in chicken, it should be relatively firm to the touch – that is, it gives a bit when you press your finger on it.  I would avoid cutting into the meat as most of the juice will flow out, giving you a drier chicken than you want.  Besides, if it is not quite done, as you will see below, you will cook it a bit more anyway.

- Sautee the garlic, onion, and red pepper in the olive oil until soft

- Add the basil and coriander, stir well over high heat for about 3 minutes

- Add the sherry, soy sauce, and vinegar, and cook over high heat until the liquid has almost evaporated

- Chop the chicken which has been allowed to cool into 2” pieces and add to the mixture.  Add the rice. Turn on to medium heat, and mix well, tossing frequently.  Taste for ingredients.  At this point you can add more soy, vinegar, or sherry.  You can also add more chopped basil and/or coriander.

- Before serving add the sesame oil, mix and stir, grind black pepper, and serve.

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