Thursday, 23 October 2008

Fried Rice

Here is a quick recipe that requires little preparation.  It was so good I made it twice last week. This is, no doubt, a very inauthentic fried rice. The inspiration comes from my memories of the fried rice my mum used to make, but would probably even be unrecognisable to her – hers had lots of egg and ham. I was also inspired by my sister, Fran’s fried rice we had at a dinner last year. I suspect there is less frying than there should be because it doesn’t have much in the way of lovely crunchy bits that I like in fried rice but it has colour, texture and flavour.

The only drawback to making fried rice, is the need to plan ahead because it is really best if the rice has time to cool for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge. But once that is done, the recipe comes together quickly. I can do it in about 30 minutes, complete with chopping all the vegetables, which is pretty quick for me. This is a great way to use up leftover rice.

I usually use sweet chilli sauce in fried rice, but having thrown out an unloved bottle recently, I am reluctant to buy more. So I decided to buy some ketjap manis which is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. I was curious to see if they sell gluten free versions but got distracted when surfing the net to see that there are recipes to make it using soy sauce and sugar plus flavourings such as lemon grass, garlic and star anise or ginger, coriander and molasses. Sounds like a possible future project for me. And it sounds like it can be gluten free -for those of us who are curious or need to know!

Ketjap manis gave enough sweetness – and so it ought if my bottle has as much sugar as the recipes I have seen online for the sauce. I also added a bit of pineapple juice because I had it. The second night it didn’t taste quite as good and when I remembered to add the rice vinegar it really did make a difference. Other vinegars or lemon juice could be substituted if you don’t have rice vinegar.

The vegetables I used are seasonal, so any combination of vegetables can be used. I did take delight from the wonderful colours which you can see in the photos. I love tinned pineapple in fried rice but also like some sort of protein – on the first night I served it with chopped fried egg, the next night was cashews, and I would love to try it with some smoked tofu.

I am sending this dish to Srivalli at Cooking for All Seasons for her Rice Mela (deadline 30 November). She is asking bloggers for any dish with rice as the main ingredient.

Fried rice with vegetables, pineapple and cashews
Serves 2-3

½ cup basmati rice, uncooked
1 tbsp canola oil
1 red onion, cut into thin crescents
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (about 250g)
1 handful sugar snap peas, trimmed
Kernels of 1 corn cob
½ capsicum
5 or 6 button mushrooms
1 garlic clove
⅓ cup chopped tinned pineapple, drained
1 tbsp ketjap manis
1-2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp pineapple juice
⅓ cup cashews, roughly chopped

Cook the rice as you normally would and cool at least a few hours prior to making the fried rice (preferable the night before). It should make about 1 – 1½ cups of cooked rice but exact quantities aren’t important if using up leftover rice.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wok or very large frypan (I used my huge heavy bottomed non-stick frypan). Fry the onion and carrot for about 4-6 minutes til soft. Meanwhile prepare remaining vegetables by chopping into small dice and finely slicing garlic.

Add asparagus, peas, corn, capsicum, mushrooms and garlic. Fry about 4 minutes til vegetables starting to soften. Add remaining ingredients and fry another 2 minutes. Serve hot.

On the stereo:
Spook Party – Various Artists

4 comments:

  1. That reminds me I have an untouched bottle of ketjap manis to experiment with. Next time I make fried rice, I'll give it a go.

    I tend to make fried rice if I have any cooked rice leftover, usually just for myself for lunch and find its easy to make in a nonstick frypan (I go for ginger, garlic, spring onions, shitake mushrooms, a little other veg and just flavour with tamari at the very end).

    My mum did teach me one handy trick (like you - I've dumped the ham though). The rice needs to be really dry, so she'd spread it on a baking tray and let it dry out in the oven at low heat.

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  2. What an amazing array of veggies you've managed to get in this meal! I really like pineapple in savoury dishes too, but I never seem to make enough rice to have leftovers for this. I've never heard of ketjap manis - very intriguing. I'm glad it added a good flavour.

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  3. Thats so colourful!..thanks for the lovely entry!

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  4. thanks AOF - I like the idea of drying out the rice like that - this fried rice was definitely not as dry as I think it should be

    thanks Lysy - my ketjap manis is a cheap supermarket bottle but not as thick and flavoured as the recipes suggested so I would like to try other versions of it - definintely worth a try for somethig different

    thanks Srivalli - will look forward to the round up

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