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Hi there chums. What a week Im having here on Ciao this week. Ive been away from my desk so to speak as you all know, what with me being bad and in and out of hospital. Im back and forth all the time and my health is more up and down than a world champions yo-yo. Never mind about that though. Im going to tell you all a little secret recipe of mine now, one that I tend to create at least three or four times each week, much to the delight of my daughter Manal Amani who loves this meal to bits ! Its a recipe for my version of vegetable fried rice. Its quite remeniscent of the sort you would expect to see in your local chinese restaurant though mine is slightly adapted and involves chunky vegetables rather than the tiny cubed morsels of carrot and peas like pellets you get at the local chinese.
- Right then first of all heres a list of ingredients for you to be starting off with. I have listed the vegetables that I personally would happily use in this dish though of course as with any good recipe, this recipe is adaptable to your own personal tastes and preferences. At the end of the day it is much better to use only what you really enjoy in terms of ingredients as it makes for a better and more satisfying meal. Theres nothing worse than being served a meal where you sit picking out things you dont like. Please bear in mind that you wont be cooking the vegetables as much as, lets say, for a Sunday lunch. The vegetables will be slightly crunchy and the taste does differ when they are cooked quickly in this way.
Okay this ingredients list. Here goes..........
- 1 packet of microwave rice or a portion of boil in the bag rice, cooked and cooled down to room temperature
- A chinese wok pan or similar deep sided cooking vessel that can be used in the ful heat of your hob and a large spoon to stir fry with.
- 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks per person and 1 egg white
- 2 or 3 smallish florets of broccoli
- 2 or 3 smallish florets of cauliflour
- 2 medium size mushrooms
- One half of a large carrot
- the green tops of 3 spring onions
- a quarter of spring cabbage
- 2 tablespoonfuls of frozen garden peas
- Dark soy sauce - around 2 tablespoons
- Egg yellow food colouring
- Dash of milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Have you managed to get all of your ingredients together ? You have .... great lets get started then !
- Obviously theres going to be quite a large amount of preperation for this dish as theres lots of vegetables involved. With these vegetables, namely the broccoli, the cauliflour, mushrooms, spring onions and spring cabbage, simply rinse them all very well under cold running water and allow to drain well as otherwise as you introduce them to the 'pan', the excess water they hold will cause a dangerous reaction with the oil and theres a risk of the oil coming up into your face or onto your bare skin. Please take care here.
- Once the vegetables have been drained, cut up the spring onions into thin circular pieces, around 3cm or so in thickness and put them to one side along with the spring cabbage, cut into inch squared pieces. These two ingredients dont need to be added too early as they take a minimal amount of cooking and will easily burn in the fierce heat.
- Slice the carrots into thin slanted slices so as to expose more surface area which in turn will reduce the amount of cooking time the carrots will need. This also makes the carrots much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
- The cauliflour and brocolli need to be seperated into quite small florets of similar size as they will take longer cooking than the other vegetables in this dish.
- The mushrooms need only to be sliced. How thick or thin is up to you as even in their entirety they would cook through in this heat.
- The peas obviously need no preperation and can be used from frozen for this recipe.
- With your eggs, crack one egg into a bowl and seperate the second egg, discarding the white and adding the yolk to your bowl. Whisk the eggs lightly until mixed and add a good splash of milk and pepper , stirring them in well.
- The best thing to do with the remaining ingredients is to have the soy sauce, salt and pepper to hand as once you begin cooking you will not be able to stop to root around for things such as this as you will burn the food due to the heat of course.
- Not forgetting the rice, whichever way you choose to do the rice, either by using a microwave convenience packet or boil in the bag, once cooked, decant the rice into a bowl and sprinkle over around 5 drops of the egg yellow food colouring. Leave the rice to cool right down to room temperature as this prevents the rice from sticking during the cooking process.
- Take your wok or similar cooking vessel and place it on the hob with it turned up to a medium setting and leave the for just a few seconds. Add a couple of drops of the oil of your choice to the pan. Take your egg. milk and pepper mixture and add it to the pan and lift the pan off the heat slightly and tilt rotating at the same time to allow the egg to completely cover the bottom of the pan. This will thin the egg out and make it easy to roll once cooked, ready to cut. The mixture should cook through in a matter of minutes. As soon as it is cooked, remove it from the heat, roll it up and slice it into centimetre thick pieces. seperate the curls of egg and put to one side for a short time.
- Turn the hob heat right up to maximum now and again, wait a minute or so for the heat to fully penetrate the pan. Do not add the oil prior to heating the pan, add it at this point once the pan is hot as this allows you to use much less oil than usual. Add just a tablespoon of oil at this point.
- Take your carrots and add them to the oil, stirring them continuously. By keeping the ingredients moving around the pan, your allowing them to cook evenly whilst preventing them from burning in any way. Please be aware that they will burn quickly if you leave them sitting for more than a few seconds !
- After cooking the carrots for a few minutes, add the broccoli and the cauliflour to the pan and again keep them moving. After a further minute or two add the mushrooms and the garden peas. You may experience some spitting as the frozen peas hit the base of the pan as they will contain some water which as I said before doesnt go too well with hot oil ! Stir fry everything for a further three minutes.
- Now add the rice to your pan. The rice is best handled by pressing it down towards the base of the pan with the bottom of your stirring utensil, Id reccommend a spoon of some description. As you press down, spread the rice out toward the edges as if you were spreading icing onto a cake. It may sound silly but it serves the dual purpose of ensuring the rice doesnt become sticky due to the gluten in it and it also stops any damage occurring to the rice, such as squashing for instance. Once you have spread the rice out and as the heat runs through it, it will naturally begin to seperate and you can at this point revert back to normal stirring.
- Once the rice is heated through properly, add your spring onions and cabbage pieces to it and allow them to heat through. This shouldnt take any more than two minutes, maybe three.
- Add your cooked egg now and stir everything very well so as to make sure all ingredients are merged.
- Add your soy sauce finally. Please remember that soy sauce, light or dark, is very salty. When it comes to adding your seasoning, have a quick taste of things firstly as more often than not theres enough salt and only pepper is needed.
- Give everything one last good mix around and turn off the heat. Your meal is done !
- Its always nice to present food like this in modern chinese influenced styles of crockery. I always serve this in either a squared bowl if its to be shared as part of a main meal or just piled up onto a square plate if its just for me to enjoy as a snack. You maybe the sort of person who thinks of food as just food, a neccessity and so in that case, shove it into the nearest bowl or onto the nearest plate you can find, chipped or otherwise and shove it down your chops !! At the end of the day which ever way you choose to present it it is the best rice I have the ability to cook and its quite simply delicious !
- Just a reminder, be brave and use whatever vegetables that you like. Just be sure to add the vegetables in order of the time they will take to cook beginning with those that take the longest to cook. Sweetcorn is a good alternative to peas for example as it is robust enough to stand up to the high heat and cooks fairly speedily. Its also very colouful. If your not a fan of spring onions then halve and thinly slice an onion too use as a crunchy and flavourful alternative.
- Its always nice to cut the vegetables into pretty shapes as I do, cutting them on a slant for instance allows them to cook more quickly and also adds an interesting flair to the finished dish. People always comment on this and theres nothing like being complimented !
- If you like your herbs, you could add a sprinkle of corriander to the dish right before serving it though dont overdo the corriander as this is a very stong flavoured herb and could easily overpower all other flavours.
- I also would never advise the use of pooled eggs as is common practice in a chinese restaurant. I advise anyone who tries out my recipe to mix up their eggs just prior to using them and to make only what you can eat fresh from cooking. I dont think you can ever be too careful with eggs so please heed my advice ! Pooled eggs carry a great risk of contamination from salmonella.
- This version is vegetarian but you could always add meats to this to make it even more filling. Cook all meats very well and add these to the pan in bite sized chunks first of all as opposed to the carrots.
- This recipe must be cooked on a very high heat so as to get the best flavour from the ingredients. If your slightly worried about the fierce heat or the smokiness then please dont be as this is normal and the smokiness is an indication that you have reached the perfect temperature needed to cook this dish properly. Open a window close by.
~ Five a day government guidlines ~
- The government currently reccommends that we each eat a minimum of five fruit portions and five vegetable portions per day. Ideally these portions should come from a wide range of different fruits and vegetables rather than a repetition of a select few. I know many people find this very difficult, especially children as its hard enough to get them eating even the brightest of vegetables let alone five different types in one day. I should imagine the five portions of fruit and vegetables, if derived from just two or three sources, has got to be better than nothing in this case.
- On a good positive note, this recipe, even for just the one person, actually has six portions of vegetables in it. All are served in adequate portion sizes which meet the recommendations set out or better still exceed them. An example of this being a portion of broccoli that counts toward the five a day equates to two medium florets or one large. By comparison, in this recipe there are at the very least two florets. You can increase the amounts of the ingredients to suit yourself but the more the better naturally.
Well thats it folks ! Thats all it takes to create a lovely tasty vegetarian dish that fills you up for hours. Please try this recipe out rather than just read this and think to yourself ' oh that sounds nice ' Have a bash and tell me exactly what you think ! You might have a really good idea for an adaptation of this and if you do conjure up one then please let me know so that I can give your offering a try too !
All rates and comments are much appreciated as usual.