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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Special fried rice - Frugal Food

We've often got rice, vegetables and the remnants of a roast or some meat kicking about the fridge. It doesn't take much inspiration to quickly turn these into Chinese special fried rice. IN my mind its the bubble and squeak of the rice world, perfect leftover fodder. Frugal and quick, darn tasty too. There are really no rules with this oriental favourite, aside TRY to use cold rice or it all goes a bit sticky.
With this in mind, I tend to either make rice up for a meal and make an extra portion for either later or freezing (1 mug uncooked rice = one family portion, 1/4 cup uncooked rice = one person portion) (cooked rice = 1 cup per person), or if I'm making this for tea I'll cook the rice the day before or in the morning to let it cool.
Ingredients for the rice can be anything from chicken/turkey/prawns/ if you're a carnivore. These get chopped up into slices or cubes. I tend to use leftovers so I don't need to cook anything, but if you fancy this and have no leftovers cook up a bit of chicken/turkey and shred up. Lots of veggies are great in this too, again anything goes from garden peas to broccoli, sweet corn (baby and kernels) to onions, courgettes, carrots. Just what you've got to hand. (It's a 'fakeaway' - there are no rules)
I tend to have everything chopped and most of the ingredients are already cooked and ready before I fire up my pan.
Now, often I'll put an egg into this too, specially if there's limited meat, its good for increasing the protein in a cheap and cheerful way. But, if you've no eggs, no stress leave them out. So here is the 'leftovers' and veggies for this version. (Every version is different depending on the leftovers or what you fancy.)
Once everything is chopped and ready to go I give the family a holler, get the table set and give myself a minute - I make up a sauce to go with the dish. Its basically a rich gravy (thick jus if you're over the pond) which is enriched with a splash to taste of soy/chilli sauce/sesame oil.
It makes a really glossy yummy accompaniment to the dish. If you like a wee bit of this, I use up the dregs from the roast dinner. Or cheat by starting a pan off with a stock cube, add some gravey thickening to this with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce (optional, one table spoon), a splash of soy (about a teaspoon)  and a nice splash of sesame oil(around 1/2 teaspoon), stir and serve either at the side in a jug or lathered over the rice once its done.
Once the sauce is ready to go - I then fire up a large heavy based pan with a dash of oil. Egg gets a quick cook off first til its a the 'scrambled but not set yet' egg stage.
So, if using eggs to I'll start a pan with a teaspoon of oil in it and quickly scramble the egg. You can do this in the mircrowave too.

Next goes in the meat to heat through and the veggies too and give it a good stir through until its hot.

Once this is nicely mixed and hot, I'll add my rice. Now often I'll heat the rice up in the microwave prior to adding it to the pan to give it a head start, but its really up to you. The rice is added to the egg/veg mix in the pan with a sloop of soy sauce, just enough to colour. Minutes later you've got an amazing leftover 'fakeaway'. The chaps here like prawns in theirs too as a treat, but really anything goes.
Yum. I'm proud to say we're getting to the stage that we prefer the home version to the Chinese restaurant one. Honest.
Until next time, why not have a bash at your favourite takeaway by remembering to scoff your leftovers - happy scoffing.

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