It was one of those days. Hot. Humid.
Ravenous with hunger I treaded into the kitchen knowing very well I didn't have a lot in my fridge. Every foodie's nightmare I reckon. Honestly I didn't want to spend a long time in the kitchen to make anything fancy. I just wanted to eat. Simple food. I always like doing that, don't I?!
Man life is complicated as it is, making food shouldn't be one of those things. Thats my motto in life!
Talking about making simple food, here's what I made then. Easier than easy Chinese styled Fried Rice. I call them Chinese because of the sauces I used. You can very well choose to add vegetables of your choice. I only had the basics lying around at home. You're the Bo Bice of your rice.
Chopping the vegetables is something that can seem tedious at first but trust me, once you get into it, its sort of therapeutic. Using a knife to slice through may seem like a violent image instead but when you hear the sound of the knife blade on that chopping board every single time, all it resonates in that you're doing something real, something productive, creating something. Its hypnotic.
Now that you have the premise of what I was working around, here's the recipe.
Time taken: 15 mins
2 cups of leftover rice
1/2 cup of carrots, julienned, or diced very finely
1/2 cup french beans, cut diagonally in 1 cm pcs
2/3 cup green cabbage, diced
(Feel free to add broccoli, baby corn, bok choy, red cabbage, eggs whatever floats your boat)
1 medium onion chopped finely
1 thumb size piece of ginger minced
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (not the apple cider stuff please)
1 1/2 tbsp chili sauce
2 star anise (Optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Peanut or sesame oil
Sesame seeds to garnish
greens of spring onions
Pinch of love
First things first, whenever you're cooking anything, especially chinese stir fry, have your elements ready and prepped. Stir fry is a cooking method where the food is sauteed in the pan for the least amount of time to retain maximum nutrition value, colour and texture. Its really quick quick quick. Majority of the time goes into cutting the vegetables, the stir fry itself takes just about 2-3 minutes in all.
Have your veggies all cut like so. You don't have to be fancy. I think different sizes of vegetables just adds interest.
Chop up your flavour bombs. Here's the onion, ginger and garlic. You can also choose to grate the ginger and garlic if you like.
In a hot wok, add in the peanut oil, about 2 tbsp
When the oil starts to shimmer, add in the onion, garlic, ginger triad.
Saute them only for about 30 seconds, we don't want them to get too soft. The aroma that hits you right about now is an olfactory delight. Inhale deeply.
Throw in the veggies all at once. Because of the size that we cut them, we can add them all together.
Stir fry for about 30-40 seconds till the beans go bright green and the cabbage softens just a hair.
In go the sauces. Soy and vinegar
The chili sauce
The star anise. I love the licorice flavour it adds. Also its one of the 5 ingredients of the Chinese 5 spice powder mix so it definitely adds an unique dimension of flavour to the otherwise simplistic dish. Saute for another 30 seconds till everything is well mixed
Make sure your rice grains are separated with a fork so that you don't break the grains and there are no clumps. Dump them in the wok.
Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. You can be fancier and add white pepper instead.
Give it all a good stir. Be very gentle. We don't want to break the grains of rice. At this point I shut down my heat. To garnish add some sesame seeds just to add a different texture and add in a bit of a nutty taste. You can skip this step and add some peanuts if you chose
Lastly I added a few leaves of coriander
And the stirfry is ready to serve! Scatter on some scallions and you're even readier (I know thats not really a word). But we're friends. You know what I mean.
Easy as it can be, won't you say?! I dug in so fast, and in a minutes all those healthy yummy veggies had taken abode in my tummy. Textures, flavours, nutrients, colours, it has it all.