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Food - Recipes, Kitchen

First Meal – Egg-fried Rice

Today marks the first meal cooked in our new home.

We moved into our new apartment on Jan 2nd. People have different ways of christening a new apartment. I’m not sure how others do it, but for me, I cook.

I am a believer that a home isn’t a home unless at least one meal has been cooked in it. I know a lot of friends that don’t cook because of a variety of reasons. They work long hours and are too tired by the time they get home. It’s too much trouble to clean up. They think they are bad cooks and it’s difficult to learn. They have small kitchens. It’s just easier to eat outside. All understandable and perfectly good reasons. But for me, until there’s that aroma of food wafting in the air, the apartment just feels like a cold and temporary place. It may be temporary, but I’ll be dammed if I let the place we live in feel cold.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a good cook. I don’t follow recipes and don’t do measurements. I basically throw in whatever feels right. However, I’m blessed with a husband that swears that his favorite food is whatever I cook. I highly doubt that is true. But he says it so often I think he brainwashed himself into believing it. It also helps that he’s not a fussy eater and never fail to finish up everything willingly, even those trial and error dishes I made on a whim and didn’t turn out too good.

There is one dish that I do believe he means it when he says it’s really good. It’s egg-fried rice. I have great confidence in my egg-fried rice. In fact, there was once when we ordered fried rice at a Chinese restaurant. The husband took one bite and made a face. He turned to me and said, “They call this fried rice?! They should taste your fried rice.” That was a proud moment for me.

I make fried rice quite often because it’s a great way to get rid of leftovers. The husband and I have really small appetites but I like to try stuff at restaurant, so I tend to over-order and we always end up packing a lot of food home. We usually don’t eat the rice that is often complimentary at restaurants. Frying them all up with rice makes for an easy meal and also less pots and pans to wash.

We had some packed rice from one of the restaurants we ate at when driving up to the Bay area, so I thought fried rice will make a good first home-cooked meal.

It also gave me a chance to try out the Cookplus Vitamin Wok Lock&Lock sent us last month. And it was a dream to cook with. I love the high edges that helped keep the rice inside the pan. I tend to get a little energetic when I fry the rice and low edges usually  meant bits of rice flying everywhere. I also love the non-stick and embossed bottom, you don’t see any rice sticking to it at all. The festive red color is makes it look so cheerful sitting on the stove, and is especially fitting with the Chinese New Year coming.

There are two secrets to cooking a good and delicious plate of rice.

The first secret is to use rice that is at least a day old. Never use freshly-cooked rice. If you have to use fresh rice, at least pop the rice into the fridge to absorb some of the moisture. The rice has to be a little dry to get the right texture. Usually a day is perfect.

The second secret is in the egg. Some people just add the egg into the frying pan before or after adding the rice. That’s wrong. The true method is to beat the egg first, then mix the beaten egg into the rice in a large bowl. You have to really mix it in, try to make sure every morsel of rice is covered with the beaten raw egg. This is the secret to getting the perfect golden fried rice. Using your hands usually get the best results, but sometimes using a spoon does it well enough. When every single morsel of rice is covered in egg, that’s when you are ready to fry the rice.

The rest is easy. Heat the oil (I like to use olive or grapeseed oil, because it feels healthier). Add some minced garlic for fragrance. When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the egg-rice mixture. When frying the rice, make sure that someone is always standing by the pan and moving the rice around, so you don’t get any burnt bits. When the rice is almost done, you can choose to add any extra ingredients you like. I usually add corn, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, mini sausages and any leftover I find in my fridge.

I bought a big-ass bag of spinach and I used the 12-cup size Borosilicate rectangle container Lock&Lock sent to hold it. We always buy these huge bags of spinach or greens and none of our previous containers were large enough to hold them after they were opened, so we were reduced to using a rubber band to just tie them up. I always felt that the fridge dries these leafy greens up this way and they don’t taste as fresh, but there’s nothing I could do. Until I received this huge Lock&Lock container, it actually fits the whole bag of greens perfectly, keeping it fresh and juicy for more than a week in the fridge.

And that marks the first meal in our new home. Here’s hoping that there’s many more yummy and delicious home-cooked meals in our new apartment!

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