Cooking, Cooking & Eating, Savory

Weeknight Fried Rice

This is not Chinese food.  Just so we’re clear.  This is food that takes a couple of principles and a handful of ingredients from Chinese cooking, and turns them into a convenient, tasty, quick weeknight meal.

Please don’t mistake those two things, because they are not the same.  And please don’t go around saying that Adam over at Twice Cooked is doing Chinese food.  Because I’m really, really not.

What this is, you might say, is mundane food.  It’s the kind of cooking that comes in handy when one has maybe a half hour to make dinner, and an odd assortment of ingredients in the fridge that need to get used before they go stale, or rank, or floppy.  It’s a kind of cooking that I’ve done for you here before, and that I try to do as often as I can manage.  Because this is what cooking is about — finding pleasing combinations of taste that might be useful for more than just a special occasion.

Not — of course — that fruit tarts or stuffed bread aren’t useful.  You might make them on a whim.  You might even make them on a weeknight.  But we all have nights — believe me, I know — when we get off work late, or we haven’t gotten to the grocery for one day too long, or we need to throw something together before we go to a nighttime meeting.  And for those times, something like this is perfect.

The recipe is just below.  But before we get there, one more note:  I use bok choy and bacon here.  But if that’s not what you have — substitute.  Gailan (Chinese broccoli) or tatsoi, or even kale are good here.  And sausage is as good as bacon, as is the vegetarian route.

Start from this recipe and go nuts!  You can’t go wrong.

2 Heads of Bok Choy, chopped
1 cup Long Grain White Rice, cooked
1/4 lb. Bacon, diced
1 Medium Onion, diced small
2 Eggs, beaten
2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
Sichuan Pepper (about 50 grinds)

In a pot with a steamer, set about an inch of water boiling.  To a sauté pan (or wok) over high-medium heat, add the bacon and cumin seeds.  When the bacon has given up its fat, and is just starting to brown, add the onion, cayenne pepper, and Sichuan pepper, and continue to cook until the onion has softened and the bacon is done.

Meanwhile, to your pot of boiling water, add the bok choy, and allow to steam for four minutes.  Then take it off the heat.

When the onion has softened, add the beaten eggs to the sauté pan and scramble.  Then add the rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil, mix thoroughly, and cook, stirring at regular intervals, until the rice dries out and crust starts to form on the bottom of the pan (5-10 minutes).

Add the bok choy to the fried rice.  Mix thoroughly.  Allow to cook for about two more minutes.  And serve hot, right off the stove.