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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Making Shrimp Fried Rice ain't all that hard....

Making fried rice at home isn't as bad as it sounds, and it's a heck of alot cheaper than going out. I have a hankering for this on a regular basis and use a ton of variety each time - deviating from the original recipe (after the first 4 ingredients) isn't really a bad thing. The whole trick to making fried rice is being prepared, having everything lined up and working fast.

Vegetable oil
2-3 cups cooked white rice, completely cooled and preferably refridgerated for a few days
2 eggs
1 Medium onion, or 3-4 white onions with greens
1 lb of:
     Medium or Small uncooked shrimp, peeled
     Stewing beef thinly sliced and tossed with tenderizer
     Chicken, thinly sliced

your imagination, which may include a cup of:
     Bean Sprouts
     Bamboo Shoots
     Water Chestnuts
     Pea Pods or Peas
     Mushrooms, sliced
     Carrots, thinly sliced or julienned

Soy Sauce - completely optional, unless you're using beef.

For today, it's Shrimp Fried Rice that this kid is craving. Let's start by preparing the kitchen. If using canned vegetables, dump them all in a strainer so they can fully drain.

Peel the shrimp, make sure they are deveined, then set aside. Beat the eggs with a little water and set those aside too, then gather up your vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

I prefer to use white onions in my fried rice and cut them up chunky, we'll cook them down so they soft to the bite. Cut up any other vegetables you might need to and if using beef or chicken, make sure you slice them last so you don't contaminate your cutting board! If using beef, slice it thin and add some unseasoned tenderizer to it before setting aside.

Break apart the rice to remove any clumps that may be stuck together. Clumpy rice isn't yummy rice.

Ok, you ready? You need a 'big honkin pan' to make this in, I have a huge frying pan that I use but a wok or your basic stock pot will work too. Sometimes I use two spatulas or even two scrapers, but today I'm using my rice spatula and a regular one. You'll want a medium to large sized bowl to place cooked items in.

Turn the heat up to high, place the pan on the burner and add the oil. When the oil sizzles, turn down to medium heat and add the eggs. Let them cook a little, then start scrambling until coooked. Cut the egg into small pieces, see pictures below.

Move egg to bowl you set aside earlier. Add a little more oil to the pan, turn back up to high heat and when oil sizzles, add the meat. If using shrimp, cook until just pink. If using beef, add some soy sauce to the pan for additional flavor. Turn heat down to medium if needed.

Transfer the meat to the bowl (with juices) with the egg in it and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn heat back to high if you turned it down while cooking meat. Add onion and cook until just translucent. Add other vegetables and cook until crisp - tender. If using canned vegetables, turn down to medium heat and allow any remaining liquids to cook off.

After vegetables are cooked, push to the sides to create a 'well'. Add fried rice to center and continue to fold rice from bottom of pan to top for about 2 minutes to warm through. Start folding the vegetables into the rice.

Once rice and vegetables are well mixed, add a liberal pinch of salt, pepper to taste, the egg and meat that was set aside in the bowl and fold in gently. Be sure to add juices that have collected in the bowl, if any.

Viola! You survived and it wasn't as bad as you think, right? Now dig in, no chopsticks required!


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