Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Got Leftovers? Make Fried Rice!


That's what I did after two days of eating Christmas ham. You can only eat so much leftover ham! After all, fried rice is a dish of leftovers -- throw in whatever meat and vegetables you have in the fridge. The rice, in fact, must be at least a day old or you get gluey fried rice. So save the white rice from your takeout order, or make a pot of rice the night before.  Then throw it all together, and you've got yourself a new meal.  If you don't have or don't eat ham (or shrimp), try chicken, roast pork, or your favorite vegetables.  I was also only too eager to break in the new wok I got for Christmas, and I've been wanting to cook more Chinese food (you know, heritage and all).

Fried Rice
4 cups cooked rice, at least a day old to avoid gluey texture
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz. ham, sliced thin (you can buy a ham steak at this weight)
1 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined, then cut into smaller pieces
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tbs soy sauce (or wheat-free tamari)
⅛ tsp sesame oil (optional)
2 scallions, sliced thin

You don't need a wok, but it's ideal for making this dish.  A frying pan will work just fine; the low sides of the pan just won't contain everything as neatly (so you might consider halving the ingredients).  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok over very high heat.  Season the eggs lightly with salt and pepper, and add them to the wok.  Swirl your wok to get the eggs out further to the sides, resulting in a thinner layer of eggs.  When it is almost set, break it into pieces like scrambled eggs and set aside on a plate.  This is done so the eggs don't get overcooked or disintegrated when cooked with the other ingredients.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok, and then add the onion, sauteing until translucent, which will take a few minutes.  Add the ham and peas, and stir fry (that is, keep moving everything around with your spatula) for 1 minute.

 Add the rice to the wok, using your spatula to break up chunks.  Keep stir-frying until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until orange, about 2 minutes.  Then return the egg to the wok.

Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir fry to combine.  If you know anyone with a gluten allergy, you can use wheat-free tamari like this.  It tastes almost the same.  The sesame oil's flavor is very strong and might overpower the other ingredients if you add more of it.

Finish by topping it with thin slices of scallion.

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