We’re having simple food this week – nothing that takes too much effort or time to prepare. Something that I probably have all the ingredients for. Even if I don’t, I could probably just as easily throw in whatever I do have on hand and mix things up, and it’ll work beautifully. Something simple and quick, like Chinese style beef fried rice.
Thinly sliced beef, diced shallots, chopped spring onions, julienned ginger- just your everyday meat and veggies that most of us will likely have in our refrigerator. And oh yes, I’d throw in a little bit of diced bacon, just for some smoky flavour and added saltiness. If you don’t have beef, you could always substitute with ham, roast pork (char siew) or chicken. Or completely go with seafood like shrimps and scallops. Exactly why fried rice is such a family favourite in my home – it’s so ridiculously versatile!
I use different sauces to flavour the rice depending on what I’m putting together. The most basic of flavourings is light soy sauce, salt and pepper. Since I’m adding beef to a basic fried rice recipe, I like to use a premium oyster sauce as well as dark soy sauce, which pair so well with beef. Frying shallots and ginger here will also help flavour the oil before adding the meats and cooked rice.
Beef fried rice is also a great accompaniment to other dishes. It pairs really well with a vegetable dish like bittergourd omelette. I don’t know why really – perhaps the slight bitterness and crunch of the gourd amidst the soft, slightly mushy scrambled omelette offsets and compliments the savoury saltiness and tender chewy texture of the beef fried rice. Simply yin yang in action.
Cooking your own fried rice is also a great way to go a little healthy – less oil, less salt, less MSG and loaded with your favourite ingredients. When eating out, I tend to get annoyed when an order of fried rice is served with loads of rice but stingy on everything else. You know what I’m talking about here.
Picture this – you eat your first mouthful of fried rice – and while the flavour’s there, it’s predominantly … rice. Then, you take your second mouthful of …er…more rice with little specks of stuff, and oh, if you’re lucky (unless you’re deliberately picking up the ‘meaty’ stuff onto your spoon), you might actually taste some meat, shrimp, crab meat or salted fish by the third mouthful. Okay, so I might be exaggerating just a little too much, but if that’s a familiar scene for you, point made.
So why not cook and enjoy your fried rice dish exactly the way you and your family love it!