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A New Take On Takeout

June 20, 2012

Chinese takeout.  A staple in comfort food for many, an insta-party, and a mob movie staple (just think Godfather…  “He sleeps with the fish tonight…”) – and the best of it all is fried rice.  Yummy, sticky, salty, and drenched in soy sauce, it’s probably just as unhealthy (if not more) as delicious.  I have been working on a slightly revamped version on it for a while, experimenting with spices, additions and whatnots, and this is where I arrived.

First and foremost, prepare the meat you would like in your fried rice.  Use white meat chicken (thighs or breasts) or pork shoulder or picnic roast cut in about 3/4″ cubes – or even fish or shrimp, cut to similar bite-sized chunks.  Spice your meat to taste, but go easy on the salt, as the soy sauce will make the whole dish pretty salty.  I use garlic powder, a bit of nutmeg, and some white pepper for the meat.

Prepare for the assembly of the dish ahead of time, and make sure you have everything near you, because once the meat browns, it happens all very fast!  For each dinner-size serving, calculate about 1/4 cup of white rice (not converted!), and the vegetables to your heart’s delight: cubed carrots, fresh green peas, mushrooms, even snow peas work well.  Then, in a large skillet, heat some oil, and start searing your meat pieces over a very high heat.  You can also add some fresh garlic, chopped or mashed fine, for a delicious smell and flavor.

Once the meat is brown, add the rice, and start stirring.  When the rice turns opaque, add approximately twice as much water as rice – so for example, a single serving is 1/4 cup rice and 1/2 cup water.  Stir the whole dish, scraping the rice and meat from the bottom of the pan, then start spicing.  Add some more garlic powder, if you skipped the fresh cloves, as well as more white pepper, chili powder, a hint of paprika, and ginger.  I would approximate this around 1/2 tsp of the pepper, 1/4 tsp each of the chili powder, the ginger, and the garlic powder, and just a dash of paprika for 2 servings.  Also add about a tablespoon of soy sauce, stir well, and by now, the whole mixture should be boiling.  Cover it, then drop the heat to medium-low, and let the rice simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Once the rice has picked up the liquid, it’s time for the eggs!  Scoot all the rice into one half of the pan, and pour just a drop or two of oil in the other half.  Crack an egg per serving into this empty half, and quickly scramble them.  Mix the firm-cooked eggs into the rice, and crank the heat back up – it’s almost dinnertime!  Add another tablespoon or so of soy sauce, and stir vigorously, letting the rice brown both from the heat and from the soy sauce absorbing into it.  This is your last chance to adjust the flavor, so be sure to taste-test it.

Pile it in a bowl, on a plate, or even into a takeout box, and break out the chopsticks!  Serve additional soy sauce on the side if you wish; and don’t forget the fortune cookies!

Enjoy your meal!

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