Saturday, May 23, 2009
Do you know where Saturdays go?
To me, Saturday's the best day of the week. There's still a whole day between now and Monday, PBS is running all those wonderful cooking shows all afternoon, and the comforting hum of the neighbor's lawnmower is keeping me company as I type and watch and wonder what to do with those two overripe bananas sitting in my pantry. As you can see, I am not averse to multitasking when all the tasks involved are fun :)
Saturdays are also special to my dogs. Almost as if they can count the days, they wake up on Saturday almost magically aware it's the day they will get a super-long walk, as opposed to the shorter walks on weekdays when mommy and daddy are too tired and too busy.
But there's one problem I have with Saturday: it goes away too soon. And then I have to wait a whole week for another one.
Before this Saturday slips and slides away, I wanted to write about this fast, basic and easy but delicious dish that's great for Saturdays when I'm having way too much fun to think about spending a long time in the kitchen. Chinese fried rice.
When making Chinese fried rice, it is really important-- and I can't stress this enough-- to make sure that you work with rice that's at least a day old. Rice that's freshly made will stick to the wok and turn into mush, but day-old-- or, as in my home sometimes, days-old-- is tougher and the grains will slide smoothly in the wok, giving your fried rice the perfect texture.
I add plenty of veggies to my fried rice, and sometimes I scramble soft tofu and add it too. It is also important to chop the veggies in roughly the same size and shape so they cook together.
Also, and this is again important, have all your ingredients on hand and ready because you will have the wok on high heat and you don't want to prep your ingredients as the rest of them are burning.
This was fun, but I'm going to get back to Jacques Pepin now. I do love the way he "shops" an onion. Have a great long weekend, everyone. And here's to long, lazy Saturdays-- may we have three each week!
Chinese Fried Rice
2 cups boiled short-grain rice (the rice has to be at least a day old)
1 cup carrots, cut into thin strips, about 1-inch long
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips, about 1-inch long
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4-5 scallions or spring onions, greens cut into 1-inch pieces and whites sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sesame or canola or other vegetable oil
In a bowl, mix together:
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce like Sriracha
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp ginger, grated
Heat the oil in a wok or a large skillet with sides that taper out.
Over high heat, add the onions and stir for a minute. Add the garlic, stir for 10 seconds, then add the remaining vegetables.
Stir-fry the veggies until they begin to get just tender but you want them to remain quite crispy. Do not leave them unattended as they might burn over the high heat.
Add the rice and stir fry for a few seconds. Then add the tamari-vinegar-ginger sauce and stir together well.
Stir-fry for a couple minutes more. Add more tamari or vinegar if needed.
For other delicious rice recipes, check out my Peas and Mushroom Biryani, or my Raisin and Nut Pilaf.