Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Fried Rice Chronicles, Vol. 1: Allium Uber Alles

Fried rice is an easy and often delicious way to use up leftovers or near-spoiling sundries. This time, we had a sad little carrot and various softening members of the allium family (the only reason there weren't any leeks was because I never leave any uncooked - witness the previous entry. This was the first time I'd tried making it in my Le Creuset dutch oven (thanks, Tita Tessie!) instead of in the nonstick one (R.I.P., my friend) I was used to (yes, I bought a wok years ago; no, I haven't gotten around to unpacking and seasoning it yet). It turned out well - both taste testers were very complimentary, though John wondered if I should add the egg even later in the cooking process. Anyway....
  • 4 cups day-old rice, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic (about 1 heaping tbsp.), chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tbsp. soy sauce or more, to taste
  • 5 scallions, chopped
Beat the eggs and set them aside.

Put the oil in the Dutch oven on high heat. When hot, add the onion and carrots. Cook for a few minutes, turning the heat down if necessary, till vegetables are soft but not browned.

Add shallot. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so more.

Add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so (as Bittman advised, I wanted to keep the garlic flavor strong).

Add rice, stirring to coat it thoroughly with oil and distribute the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, till rice is heated through.

Dig a well in the middle of the rice, and pour the egg into it. Belay the stirring and cook for a minute or so, until some of the eggs begin to solidify at the bottom, but the rest is still liquidy (maybe a minute?). Then, rapidly stir the egg into the rice mixture. (Bittman likes to scramble them fairly thoroughly before incorporating them into the rest of the dish, but I like the creamy, faux-risotto-y texture this method produces).

Add soy sauce; mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste; correct seasonings.

Remove from heat; stir in scallions - or leave them on top as a garnish, if you prefer. I like some of them ever so slightly cooked.

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