Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farm Stand Fried Rice

I was whining to a pal o mine that every attempt I've made at fried rice ends in soggy rice, when he looked up at me in surprise and asked, "You don't know the secret?" "Obviously not." says I, looking at him expectantly. He grins, takes a sip of his drinkee, and tells me "it's gotta be cold".

Duh! How did this not occur to me before? Of course steamy, just-outta-the-pot rice is going to turn into sticky, crappy risotto if you dump it in a pan with oil and soy sauce. Those little grains gotta dry out! Get their skins thick! Put their shields up! Ya!

So, Jean-Georges knew this and I didn't. Go figure.

Since I was making this for same-day delivery, I admit, I cheated a little bit - made the rice 2 hours before I planned on frying it, threw it all in a chilled pyrex bowl, and stuck it in the freezer until I was ready (occasional stirring required). Still pretty ace, texture-wise - light, fluffy, every grain distinct. Huzzah. This dish gets an A++ for malleability - you can throw whatever's locally available in and it'll taste great. This almost qualified as a 50 mile meal but for the soy sauce and vegetarian oyster sauce, cos I gotta have me some stinky, salty flavor.

Farm Stand Fried Rice
serves 4-6

You'll need:

3 cups brown rice, rinsed
1 block tofu (did you know they sell it at Saigon Bistro, freshly made?), cubed, fried or pan-fried
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound broccoli, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 carrots, small, cut into thin rounds
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium squash, chopped
1 small knob ginger, grated
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
4 medium eggs 

Remember! Whatever you have on hand is good, just try to mix the crunchy veggies (carrots, green beans) with the soft ones (squash, broccoli) in good proportion. And, you can never have too many fried eggs in Fried Rice. 

Boil 4 quarts of water in a stock pot and throw the rice in. Simmer for 30 minutes, drain in a colander for 10 seconds, and return the rice to the pot, cover, remove from heat, and let steam while you fry your veggies.

Heat the sesame oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add your garlic, ginger and onion, stir fry for 5 minutes or until the onion is somewhat translucent. Add your carrots and green beans. Stir and cover for 4 minutes, letting them steam a bit to soften. Uncover and toss your squash and broccoli in. Stir frequently over 5-6 minutes until they're bright green (broc) and slightly translucent around the edges (squash). 

In a separate skillet, crack your eggs in, scramble quickly, and let them set into an omelette-shaped mass. Transfer them, once cooked, to your cutting board, and slice thinly.

Add your rice to the wok and mix. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, stir vigorously, then add your tofu and egg. Stir gently once, then remove from heat. Fold the rice and veggies together until the sauce is evenly distributed. Add your chopped scallions just before serving and toss a final time.

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