Sunday, 9 September 2012

Queen of Comfort Rice (not that I'm competitive. . .)

Husband has always been a wee bit precious about his expertise in Asian cooking, but it is true, he's good. He also loves rice and would happily eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, when he lived in Thailand a long time ago now, Thai people simply couldn't believe that any Westerner could eat as much rice as he can.

He particularly likes jasmine rice (apparently the best of it from Thailand is exported here and to other western countries) and he has more than a working knowledge of Asian condiments, sauces and herbs. So he has taught me a lot about the genre, there's no denying that.

As you might expect, I do most of the cooking but he has his special 'one pot' meals that almost always have as their base rice or noodles, Asian condiments and anything that needs using up in the 'frig. These dishes are always good, sometimes inspired, and believe me, I'm always grateful.

Truly I didn't mean to steal his thunder, but he was late home one night last week and I decided that fried rice was just what I felt like. So, armed with secret ingredient 'X' (he always uses it in fried rice) I set to.

Secret ingredient 'X'

The photo doesn't do it justice - it really was delicious, and even Russ said it was the best he'd tasted - rather grudgingly, of course, but actually I do think he was quite impressed.
The satay paste really is great in something like this; I'd love to hear from anyone else who knows it (or tries it) and find out what they think - see the introduction to the recipe

   Satay Fried Rice

Fried rice is the Asian version of bubble and squeak in terms of being a one-pot dish, using up left overs, and quick to cook. It’s also very much an Asian version of comfort food, with all that conjures up, and delicious.
Satay fried rice has been a staple in our family for thirty years or so, and everyone puts their own personal stamp on the dish. It always, however, contains what we regard as our secret weapon – satay paste (though it will still be delicious if you just add more of the other flavours). This paste is made from sesame seeds, peanuts, a little sugar and chilli, fish gravy, shallots and garlic, but none of these ingredients are identifiable*. It’s not hot, it’s readily available in 200g jars from any Asian food outlet, it’s very affordable, and it breathes magic into dishes such as fried rice.
Edamame beans are young soya beans, look and taste very similar to shelled broad beans and, again, are readily available frozen from any Asian food outlet.
Any cooked fish or meat can be used, or raw, peeled prawn tails, and although fried rice is a one-dish meal, it’s also very good served with shallow fried Chinese dumplings from the freezer. The rice for this dish is better cooked the previous day, or at least some hours before needed so it can be chilled and dry out a little.
*I use the Han River Bridge brand

2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed and drained several times in cold water
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a little salt and pepper
Neutral oil
3 Tbsp satay paste
4 portobello mushrooms
1 ½ cups frozen edamame beans or frozen peas, or a mix
3 Tbsp fish sauce
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
½ - 1 cup leftover vegetables such as steamed broccoli florets
1 cup sliced cooked fish or meat
½ -2/3 cup mung bean sprouts
2 spring onions, sliced on a diagonal

Pre heat the oven to 190 C.
Place the well- rinsed and drained rice in a straight sided dish and add enough water to come 1.5cm above the level of the rice. Microwave, uncovered, for 20 minutes on high then fluff with a fork and cool or place in a saucepan and add water to come 1.5cm above the level of the rice. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook without lifting the lid, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and cool.
When the rice is cold, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a frypan, pour in the eggs and swirl into a flat omelette. Turn out and roll up, then cut on a diagonal into 1cm slices. Set aside.
Brush the mushrooms both sides with oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, then bake in the oven at 190 C for 12 – 15 minutes. Slice and set aside.
Heat 4 Tbsp oil (include any left from cooking the omelette) , and stir in the satay paste. Sauté until fragrant then stir in the rice and the frozen edamame beans and/or the peas, the fish sauce and the soy sauce.
Mix well and fry until hot. Stir in the leftover vegetables, the omelette, mushrooms and the fish or meat.
Heat thoroughly then sprinkle the mung bean sprouts on top and remove from the heat.  
Garnish with the spring onions.
Serve immediately in heated bowls or plates.

1 comment:

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