Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fried Rice

I read those two simple words somewhere on my internet travels recently and they wouldn't leave my brain.  I became obsessed with making some for dinner.  My grandmother used to make it with celery, onions, chicken broth, and whatever else was in the fridge. There are infinite combinations, as this is a meal one typically makes when trying to create something new and inspired out of leftovers.  It just so happened that I had an eggplant to use (they continue to show up in the garden despite my saying they were winding down a half dozen eggplants ago) and a few of our smaller, just-harvested purple carrots.

So, I made fried rice, and I must say, it was FANTASTIC, though there was one little snafu. 

I tried to keep the recipe simple, taking a large part of it from a Mark Bittman adaptation (the video is worth watching) of a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe found via Smitten Kitchen, and little from a more traditional Food & Wine recipe, and a smidge from this Food Network recipe.  But it's simple.  Really.

The most important thing I learned from my internet research is that you must use leftover rice.  If you make it fresh, it'll be too mushy.  You can prepare fresh rice several hours ahead and then refrigerate it until dinner if you are not in possession of true leftover rice.  Also, it should be noted that Jean-Georges' version has a fried egg on top, which is a unique option that may really appeal to most people, but I have a thing about egg yolks, and prefer mine scrambled, so that is how I've done it here.  And, I've added shrimp, because, why not?

Shrimp Fried Rice
serves 4*

1/2 cup peanut oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups leftover rice (I used Basmati)
2 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoon minced ginger
2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (from 2 medium leeks)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 Japanese eggplant, diced small (about 2 cups)
1 carrot, diced small (about 1 cup)
16 shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Saute the garlic and ginger in 1/4 cup peanut oil over medium heat until brown, but don't burn it.  It should be crispy.  Remove the garlic and ginger with a slotted spoon and let cool on a paper towel.  Season with kosher salt.

Cook the shrimp in the remaining oil quickly until pink. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and the leeks to the pan, cooking on medium low for about 10 minutes, until tender but not brown.  Season with kosher salt. 

Add carrots and eggplant, cooking for few more minutes.

Add the eggs and scramble until cooked. 

(This is where the snafu begins to reveal itself.  I panicked as soon as I added the egg, because it seemed to coat the vegetables, rather than breaking up into little bits.  You may wish to scramble the egg separately, but in the end, we had little egg bits, and it was fine.  It was just that... the egg bits were a lavender color.  The purple carrots stained the egg, and went on to stain the riceCan you see the little egg bits here?)

Raise heat to medium and add the rice, cooking until heated through and a little browned.  (I let it sit for a while without stirring to obtain the browning effect.)  Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and reserved shrimp, garlic and ginger.  Serve and enjoy.

*This recipe does technically make enough for four people to have a decent-sized dinner, but we found it so irresistable that we couldn't help ourselves in consuming more than the allotted amount, despite its unusual color.

A very unique dish!  I strongly recommend making the fried rice, even if you just follow the Jean-Georges recipe. Or, add whatever vegetables you have in place of the eggplant and carrots. Or, use chicken or pork instead of shrimp. Or, if you have some purple carrots and want to eat something a little weird, feel free to follow my recipe to the letter!

1 comment:

Tortla Dot said...

Surely your grandmother is proud of you for making her fried rice even more interesting! She encouraged creativity.
I make her fry-the-uncooked-rice version regularly and it almost feels like praying while I'm cooking.
By the way, we used to get lobster fried rice in the Bahamas. It was considered a main dish and a favorite among the Bimini residents.
Food is fun in itself and even better with great memories! Thanks for blogging, Karen!