Fried rice is a dish common to many rice-eating cultures, because it's a great way to deal with leftovers. The techniques don't vary much, but the seasonings do greatly.
Nasi goreng with salted fish (pictured)
If you don't have any leftover rice, steam 200 grams of rice in advance, then refrigerate it for several hours, or overnight.
Buy a thick, meaty piece of salted fish for this dish. Sambal belacan, kecap manis, palm sugar, fried shallots and fried garlic can be found at shops selling Southeast Asian ingredients.
About 500 grams cooked long-grain rice, chilled
60 grams salted fish
Cooking oil, as needed
10 grams sambal belacan
25 grams kecap manis
5 grams palm sugar
2 spring onions, cut into 5mm pieces
About 10 grams fried shallots
A heaped tbsp of fried garlic
Fine sea salt
2 or 3 eggs
Cherry tomatoes, halved
½ a Japanese cucumber, sliced
Break up the large clumps of refrigerated rice with damp hands. Remove the salted fish from the bones then cut the meat into tiny cubes. Mince the fresh shallot.
Heat 30ml of cooking oil in a wok, add the fish, then put the wok over a medium-low flame. Cook the fish until crisp and golden, stirring often. Scoop the fish from the wok, leaving behind the oil. Drain the fish on paper towels.
Set the wok over a medium-high flame. Add the minced shallot and stir-fry briefly, then add the rice and a light sprinkling of salt. Cook the rice until it's hot, stirring frequently and drizzling in more oil if it sticks to the wok. In a bowl, stir together the sambal belacan, kecap manis and palm sugar, then add this to the rice and combine thoroughly. Taste the rice and add more salt, if needed. Stir in most of the salted fish, spring onion and fried shallot and garlic, reserving a little of each to sprinkle on top of the finished dish. Mix the ingredients well then turn off the flame.
Pour oil to the depth of about 3mm in a skillet set over a medium-high flame. Fry the eggs, turning them over once.
Scoop the fried rice onto plates and top each portion with an egg. Sprinkle the reserved salted fish, spring onion and fried shallot and garlic over the rice and garnish with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices. Serve immediately.
Japanese fried rice with beef
The fried rice served at the end of a teppanyaki dinner is one of my favourite courses in the meal. I especially love the versions where the chef cooks small cubes of beef fat until the fat renders out, leaving behind a delicious "crackling". Most of us lack a teppan (a large, flat griddle), so use a wok, instead.
You can get beef fat from meat shops - the butcher will usually give it to you for free. For the beef used in the dish, buy the thick slices for yakiniku, sold at shops such as City'super or Fresh Mart in the basement of Sogo.
About 500 grams cooked short-grain rice, chilled
About 50 grams raw beef fat, chilled
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
About 100 grams raw beef, sliced about 3mm thick, diced
Half a small onion, finely minced
About 60 grams carrot, cut into fine dice
15ml soy sauce
10ml rice wine
1 spring onion, minced
30 grams butter, slightly softened
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Break up the large clumps of rice as in the first recipe.
Cut the beef fat into tiny cubes and put it into a wok set over a medium flame. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid fat has rendered out and the solids are crisp and brown. Remove the solids and drain on paper towels. Add the sliced garlic to the wok and cook over a low flame until pale golden. Remove the garlic and drain on paper towels. Add the beef to the wok and stir-fry over a high flame until the meat loses its pink colour. Remove the beef from the wok.
Set the wok (with the remaining liquid fat) over a high flame and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the rice to the wok and stir-fry until it's hot. Add the soy sauce, rice wine and a sprinkling of salt. Scrape the ingredients to the side of the wok to create a well. Whisk the eggs then pour them into the well and stir with the tip of the spatula until they're slightly cooked. Stir all the ingredients together and cook briefly. Taste the rice and add more seasonings if needed. Stir in the beef, crackling, garlic, spring onion, butter and some black pepper, then scoop the mixture into bowls and serve immediately. Serves four as part of a Japanese meal.
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