Fried Rice Fragranced with Basil

fluffy, moist but never stodgy nor clumpy fried rice

The secret ingredient that makes this so yummy (to smell and eat)?

Basil!

It might sound weird, but I think basil goes quite well with the prawns, and the herb’s fresh peppery flavour really lends a lovely fragrance to the dish. I love fried rice because it’s easy to make, always yummy, uses up leftovers, great for leftovers, colourful and well-balanced. I think my first blog post here was on fried rice so I shall spare you the recipe but just to say that this time, I scrambled the eggs BEFORE adding the prawns, which helped keep the prawns firm because I think if you cook them first, they tend to get overcooked and lose their texture. Also for the basil – tear leaves into the mix just before you’re done frying.

Yum! And really – the best thing about cooking is that it’s not only fun, but that it also brings immediate gratification. That’s why I love food so much. In most if not all other areas of my life, I tend to take the approach that persevering and delaying gratification gets us to better places. Indeed I grew up hearing my dad say to me and my brother, ‘delay of gratification!’  I know that can make one sound like a repressed individual, hesitant to pursue impulsive desires and whims. For the most part though, I think I’ve bought into my dad’s philosophy. People who are strong are those who are able to delay immediate gratification – and equally, they reward themselves and are kind to themselves. That’s what keeps them from crumbling. So I guess food is, to my relief, one aspect of everyday life where I can just indulge myself! (I have many ‘weaknesses’ when it comes to food… carrot cake, cheeseburgers, potato crisps… but I try to not feel guilty about them because I know that as long as I take them in moderation, and try to maintain a balanced diet and do exercise, then I will be fine :).)

Anyway that was a bit of a ramble – next post – something Western!

Fried Rice – Simple and Oh So Yummy

Image

Sheila’s Simple Fried Rice

i cook this whenever i have small portions of leftover vegetables and meat.

a lot of people think that you can only cook good fried rice with leftover rice. (and by ‘good’ i mean fried rice where the grains are fluffy yet separated, and not clumped together.)

i seldom use leftover rice though as i find that the rice dries out significantly in the fridge. you can still use freshly cooked white rice: just lift the lid of the rice cooker (or pot) and let the steam escape. use a wooden spoon to ‘fluff’ the rice and get rid of some of the excess moisture, then let cool for about 20 minutes before adding to your wok to fry what will become well-textured rice!

Ingredients (for 2 portions)
– cooked white rice, 3-3.5 cups depending on how much of an addict you are to carbs
– eggs, 3x and beaten
– ham or cooked sausage/meat/char siu (Cantonese-style honey roast pork), 1 cup
– garlic, 3 cloves, minced
– spring onion, 3 stalks, chopped finely
– vegetable oil for cooking

for the seasoning: light soy sauce, oyster sauce or sticky/caramel dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, white pepper.

optional ingredients: prawns (6-8x), sliced carrot (1/4 cup), or broccoli if you are desperate to get some green vegetables in there!

Method:
1. heat wok on low heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat thoroughly
2. add garlic to the wok, stir fry until fragrant. if you’re using prawns, add these in at this point and stir fry with a little soy sauce.
3. on medium heat, pour in eggs, scramble. while eggs are still runny, add the cooked rice and stir fry.
4. season with soy sauce and oyster sauce (or dark soy sauce) in a 1:1 ratio. i suggest 1/2 tablespoon of each!
5. stir-fry the rice, ensuring that it is mixed well with egg.
6. add cooked meats and carrot/choi sum/kai lan. continue frying until everything is well mixed. add 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar – this will help to bring out the flavours of the vegetables.
7. sprinkle in sesame oil and spring onions. add salt and white pepper to taste.
8. serve hot!