Being Asian , I guess Â eating plain white rice together with the daily fare of meat and vegetables can be a little too boring sometimes for the Western palette. Â I wouldnâ€™t blame it on them either because thereâ€™s really nothing so toe curling about eating white rice unless it was topped with some form or meat and vegetable dish and a bit of sauce. Iâ€™ve seen most Westerners mix white rice with whatever saucey dish they have on the table and going to town on them.Â I do that too sometimes for the reason that I get super riced out myself. Yeap, you read that right. I do get riced out.Â But then again, it is the most convenient and filling accompaniment to any dish.Â If you own a rice cooker, then youâ€™re all set. All it takes is the key element in cooking steamed white rice. And this would be the proportion of water to the amount of rice. No fancy science here other than sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error, depending on the type of rice you are cooking.Â But the most important rule of thumb in cooking steamed rice is to stop opening the lid of the pot while the rice is cooking. Steam is what cooks the rice to perfection and once you open the lid, it lets the hot steam out. Thereby, this can lead you to the agony of undercooked rice grainsÂ or some major moosh.
You may want to add some flavour to your rice buy mixing in some herbs or even using broth instead of water.Â Rice is very versatile and can make a pretty tasty one dish meal with just about any left-overs you have in your refrigerator.Â All it takes is the right sauce to mix it up with and youâ€™re good for a great meal.
You donâ€™t have to go through the complicated process of a genuine paella for a rice meal. Two of my fave rice things is Chinese fried rice and Thai fried rice. Â Basically the same principle of cooking but certainly different in flavours.
I often make Thai fried rice as I love the distinct flavour and texture. I would often add fried dried shrimp and green mangoes to this but depending on the season of the year, as mangoes are not always a year round fruit. Dried shrimp and shrimp fry paste may not be for the squeamish , but definitely a must try for the adventurous.Â You may alter the authentic Thai fried recipe and make something of your own and be totally secure that you will never go wrong.
Thai Fried Rice
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 to 8 cloves garlic, very finely chopped, or more if not using optional ingredients
1 to 2 ounces thinly sliced boneless pork (optional)
2 cups cold cooked rice, preferably Thai jasmine
1 cup torn Asian greens, such as cabbage, bok choy, or mustard greens
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup Thai Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
6 thin cucumber slices
1 small scallion, trimmed (optional)
2 lime wedges
1. Heat a large heavy wok over high heat. When it is hot, add oil, and heat until very hot. Add garlic, and stir-fry until just golden, about 20 seconds. Add pork, if using, and cook, stirring constantly, until all the pork has changed color completely, about 1 minute.
2.Add rice, breaking it up with wet fingers as you toss it into wok. With your spatula, keep moving rice around wok. At first it may stick, but keep scooping and tossing it, and soon it will be more manageable. Try to visualize frying each little bit of rice, sometimes pressing the rice against the wok with the back of the spatula. Good fried rice should have a faint seared-in-the-wok taste. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the greens, then the fish sauce, and stir-fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3.Turn out onto a dinner plate, and garnish with coriander, cucumber slices, scallion, and lime wedges. Squeeze lime onto rice as you eat it, along with chile sauce — the hot, salty taste of the sauce brings out the full flavor of the rice
Photo Credit: teachingsagitarrian
Photo Credit: soonshyang