Hampshirecook’s Special Fried Rice…
This earns pretty much first place in my collection of recipes as it hits all my buttons: super quick (takes about 20 minutes beginning to end, including boiling the rice), super tasty, everyone eats it up, most of the main ingredients can come out the freezer if required and it is easy peasy to make. The special ingredient is Kecap Manis which is a thick soy sauce flavoured with sugar cane, with the consistency of honey. The taste is gently aromatic with lovely a sweet/salty combination. It is an essential ingredient for authentic Malay/Indonesian food. I found this brand in Marks & Spencer’s food hall, but Chinese/Asian supermarkets stock it too, sometimes with flavour additions such as star anise, and sometimes very thick versions with the consistency of treacle that drizzles out at the bottle a snail’s pace. Shake up your bottle of kecap manis thoroughly before using to remix the soy as it sometimes separates out. Unlike oyster sauce, kecap manis keeps for ages.
Ingredients for stir fried rice for 4 (I usually serve this alongside something like beef in oyster sauce, or a second dish of steamed pak choi with sesame and ginger, but it can easily be a main supper dish too):
- 1 egg to use as a final omelette garnish
- 75g-100g boiled, drained and cooled long-grain White Rice per person (I confess I use Uncle Ben’s 10 minute boil in a bag! Oh the shame of it; but, it works every time.)
- Couple of handfuls of fresh or defrosted small Prawns/Shrimps; an alternative is to use thin julienne strips of Bacon
- Couple of handfuls of fresh or defrosted small Peas
- Small tin, drained or a handful of defrosted Sweetcorn
- Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
- Tablespoon of Kecap Manis
- Around 1 ½ Tablespoons of a flavourless Vegetable Oil for frying
Garnish Options: Chopped coriander and about ½ of an Iceburg Lettuce, cut into thin strips with the omelette for garnishing; fried, slightly crispy sweet shallots, or a handful of thinly sliced spring onions, cut on the diagonal; string-like strips of grated carrot. With stir-fried rice, every restaurant/homecook has their own “house” version. I’d love to know what your favourites are?
If you have large amounts of people to feed, it is best to do this in batches, rather than overwhelm your wok. It takes such a little time to cook, that it is feasible to do this and still serve up all at once. I would normally do this for 4 people in two batches, then combine the two in a big serving dish with the garnishes on top. Also, do have all of your implements, serving dishes and ingredients including garnishes out on the counter top ready to go when you start cooking, as there is simply no time to start opening tins or fridges or rooting around looking for stuff.
With your white rice cooked and ready to hand, start by heating a wok until warm (not until it is burning hot!) and then adding in the vegetable oil. Crack the egg into the pan and stir furiously with chopsticks or a fork to mix as it begins to set, the idea is to have yolk and white not quite blended together because the contrast looks nice. Fry as a puffy wok omelette and take it out as soon as it is cooked and drain the omelette on kitchen paper, then slice into thin strips. Next fry the shrimps, peas and sweetcorn for a few seconds until the shrimps are done, add in sesame oil and mix this flavour through. Then add the cooked rice and and drizzle over all the kecap manis. Mix round and cook a little until the brown colour is evenly distributed and the rice is re-heated thoroughly. Turn out onto a large serving dish and garnish with your chosen delights…
Notes: Sesame oil is a concentrated condiment, not a cooking medium. It has a powerful taste and using too much can completely overwhelm Chinese/Malay style dishes, so usually only a few drops are required. Also, do not store pre-cooked rice in the fridge for longer than a day, it can easily develop bacteria that can make people rather ill.