Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fried Rice (Serves 3)

It is amazing how different the foods of different cultures are. Isn’t it? The smell, the taste, the texture, the method of preparation and even the way of eating them. There is a bunch of restaurants and hotels and many other food places just across the street that I live. Just walking in front of those restaurants, you can assume which restaurants they are…Chinese, Indian, Italian, Turkish etc even without reading the board on top. The aromatic smell of the spices that comes from Indian restaurants and take-aways, smell of the dishes prepared by blending different sauces from the Chinese restaurants, smell of dishes using wide range of herbs from Italian restaurants etc are really appetizing. Like the restaurants, it’s the same at my home too. Since there is no window in my kitchen, the aroma of the dish just perfumes the whole house (which I hate actually) which smells like the restaurants. And the smell varies depending on the dish that I prepare. The house will occupy the smell of the Chinese restaurants if I prepare something Chinese, like my favourite Fried rice and chilli chicken, and an Indian smell if I prepare some thing Indian. Apart from the incredible smell, the cuisines from different culture have their own distinct taste and character and styles of preparing them. To Master the cooking techniques of different culture is like mastering an art. Or should I say cooking itself is an art?

Well, in this post I’m sharing with you my family’s favourite recipe for the mixed fried rice. The recipe is quite versatile in a way that it can be turned out to a completely vegetarian and vegan meal by taking off the prawns and egg from the recipe and not altering the taste much. You can even add the vegetables of your choice like bean sprouts, baby corn, corn kernals etc.You can add cooked and shredded chicken for a different flavour if you wish. But prawns with vegetable are my favourite. The prawns gives a very distinct flavour for the rice. I have heard many times on TV that it is always best to use the leftover cold rice for preparing fried rice. DON’T use warm or hot rice for cooking else the rice is going to be mushy. So the rice should be completely cooled before adding to the vegetables.

1½ cup Basmati rice
6 pieces French Beans cut into a cm length
1 Medium Carrot cut into small cubes
½ Medium Capsicum cut into small cubes
¼ cupGreen peas
1 medium Onion (Chopped)
2 cloves Garlic (Chopped)
1 tsp Black Pepper powder (for rice)
1 tbs Soy sauce
4 Spring onion stalks (chopped into thin round slices)
1 Egg
A handful of shrimps
Salt and pepper to season
1 tsp sesame oil+2 tbs vegetable oil (for frying vegetables) plus extra oil for scrambling egg and frying shrimps.

Preparation:1. Bring plenty of water to boil in a large sauce pan. Add salt and rice and cook the rice UNCOVERED until just soft. You can add a teaspoon of oil (if required) while cooking rice to prevent rice from sticking to each other.
2. Drain the rice in a colander and run cold water to prevent rice from further cooking. It is important that the rice should be cooled well.
3. Heat a frying pan, add a dash of oil and scramble the eggs. Keep them aside.
4. In the same pan add some more oil and fry the shrimps by adding salt and a pinch of pepper. Reserve them for later use.
5. Heat a large wok or a sauce pan until smoking hot and add a teaspoon of sesame oil and 3 tbs vegetable oil. Add the Sliced onions and garlic and sauté just until they are soft. Don’t burn. Add carrot and stir fry until it is almost cooked. Add the beans, peas and capsicum and stir fry until all the vegetables are just cooked. Don’t over cook them.
6. Add rice along with 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 teaspoon pepper powder, chopped scallions (spring onions), Scrambled egg and the fried prawns and stir for further 2-3 minutes until the rice is heated up and mixed well with other ingredients. Serve warm with any Chinese curry dish.
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