Egg Fried Rice.
Being ‘that guy that cooks’ has always bemused me in social circles. I never thought I would see the day where I would be in the smoking area of a Cardiff night club, minding my sweet business, and a gentleman and his fiancé would come up to me and thank me for a particular recipe of mine that they cooked together for their anniversary. People know my food before they know me, which I happen to enjoy and I have expressed before that nothing makes me happier than someone telling me they have cooked a dish of mine for a special occasion.
What comes with this territory, however, is that people will find any and every opportunity to discuss food with me and while this is something I love and I always try to offer some productive conversation, I always walk away nervous wondering if I have given decent food advice when my mind was elsewhere.
I have been asked to give cake batter advice whilst on my way to the photocopier at work. I have discussed the perfect consistency for soup whilst in the queue in Boots buying a nail file and dental floss. My favourite has been advising someone on how to make fudge whilst on a treadmill. But the advice I have found I have been asked for the most when I’m in the most compromising of circumstances is rice.
Of all of the food topics I discuss with friends, family and readers of my blog – people seem to struggle the most with rice. I belonged to this family for quite some time until an ex-partner of mine showed me how to cook rice and I haven’t stopped since. But time and time again I have the same questions asked of me regarding the cooking of that complicated grain.
I was recently in a house party in Cathays, pre drinking before a night out, where I was several sheets to the wind and food was the last thing on my mind. I was collared by a young gentleman named Jonny. Lovely boy, and he was asking me on why he keeps going wrong with the cooking of his rice. I shared a few conceptual tips with him i.e. rinsing first, stirring with a fork not a spoon, bringing to a boil uncovered etc however I could feel myself slurring and realised that this was neither the time nor place to help the poor young man with his quest for perfect rice.
Therefore I decided to answer it in a blog post.
What I have outlined here is a really simple recipe for an egg fried rice. The really eggy kind you would get from a Chinese takeaway, where the rice is dark and salty but countered with nuggets of sweet pea.
Place a cup of white rice in a colander or sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water to release the starch. Starch on rice releases in water and can make it ‘soupier’. Add the rinsed rice to a pan. NOTE – use any cup to measure your rice but bear in mind the rice almost doubles in size.
Now add a stock cube to a jug, I use lamb for my rice because the taste is so salty and dense, but any stock cube will do. Add tap water to this and use a fork to break up the stock cube. Grab whatever cup you used to measure your rice and fill with the cold stock before pouring into the pan of rice. Do this once more. You want two amounts of water to every one amount of rice. You’ll also find that roughly a measured cup of rice (using an actual measurer) will amount to maybe a pint of water on a Pyrex jug.
Bring this pan to a boil before dropping the temperature to the lowest setting and clamping on a lid and allowing to simmer really gently, and covered, for about 15-17 minutes. If you were using just normal water, this would be a lot quicker, maybe just ten, but due to the salt content of the stock, it’ll take slightly longer to absorb. Once the rice has absorbed the water, using a FORK, fluff everything up to separate the grains so that you don’t have a rice pudding. Put to one side and allow to go cold.
Once the rice is cold, heat a little vegetable oil in a big frying pan (preferably a wok) and pour in the rice, stirring until it begins to heat up. In a jug, beat an egg before adding a pinch of black pepper. Once the rice is hot, push all of the rice to the sides of the pan creating a hole in the middle. Now pour in all of the beaten egg. Grab some chopsticks – or if you don’t have any, the ends of two spoons – and slowly begin dragging bits of the egg into the rice. This ensures that the egg doesn’t cook all in one go and ‘cake’ up.
Once all of the egg has been dispatched into the rice, add a small cupful of frozen peas and stir everything around. Add some sesame oil and some dark soy sauce before snipping in some spring onions for an extra layer of flavour. Keep turning everything with a spoon until the egg is cooked through and the rice is piping hot.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t about rice, it’s also about the concept of food talk. Feel free to talk to me about food wherever I am and whatever I am doing – I live for those conversations and more so, if you have cooked one of my recipes, tell me!
I love knowing that people have adopted my recipes into their everyday life. But with this particular recipe, not only do I dedicate it to Jonny and his soupy rice, but I dedicate the sentiment of it to anybody that has ever spoken to me about food. Whether it be on the way to the photocopier, in the queue at Boots or on a treadmill, I always appreciate the conversation.