Fried Rice Bowl
My husband is Chinese and I am Western. Between the two of us we came up with this recipe for fried rice that is actually a meal in a bowl. Now all my Chinese relatives make it this way and our Western friends have asked us to teach them how it is made. Optional ingredients include meat, salted fermented black beans, cashews, and chili oil. I can do this dish in well under half an hour, and that includes all the chopping. This dish is good for colds, depression, writer's block, stubbed toes, insomnia, heartbreak, religious crises and general crankiness. It can change your life. Yum.
I'd like to talk about some of the ingredients and equipment, why I chose them and why they are worth the effort to obtain.
Basmati Rice: It smells lovely and, unlike Chinese rice, it has way more 'backbone' when it's hot, so it's not necessary to let it get completely cold before you fry it.
Dried Bean Curd: This is worth the effort it might take to find. Fried rice is about texture as well as taste, and dried bean curd adds a chewy, springy, bouncy fried-squid effect to the whole enterprise.
Shredded Black Fungus and Dried Black Mushrooms: Very traditional, and once again, worth the effort to try and obtain. Chinese food is also all about presentation, and the black color of these vegetable sets off the rest of the ingredients beautifully. And they taste nice as well.
Tamari sauce: It is made only with fermented soybeans, while soy sauce is made with a blend of soybeans and wheat. The soy sauce just tastes salty while tamari tastes like a fine wine in comparison. Trust me.
Preserved Salted Black Beans: One of the greatest and best tasting seasonings I know. They also last for absolutely always. 10,000 years from now, archeologists will dig some up and they'll still taste great.
Your Wok: Size matters. Nothing's more depressing than too much food in a too-small wok. Ya got to have plenty of room to sling it around with impunity. So get yourself a roomy wok, a proper cold-rolled steel Chinese wok, a foot and a half wide is good, bigger is better. Put it on your biggest burner, I am lucky to have a wok ring at home, I chose the cooker specifically for it. Did I mention that you need a flame for this? You need a flame. Electric...I wish you all the luck in the world.