Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com
Over the years, I’ve eaten my fair share of fried rice when I’ve gone out to a chinese restaurant for dinner. While my wife was away helping her mother, I decided to revisit my food memories to see if I could learn to make a better version of the dishes with which I grew up. So one of the things I used to make while I was in school was fried rice – if only to use up leftovers and scraps in undergrad/grad student apartment refridgerator. So it was a blessing to realize that Iron Chef Chen provided his fundamental recipe for making fried rice (Iron Chef Chen’s Knockout Chinese, p.61). So Iron Chef Chen’s ingredient list was:
21 oz cooked rice (about 4 cups, that seems like a lot of rice for 1 person)
2 3/4 oz wiener/hot dog(!) minced (1 hot dog!)
1 3/4 oz carrot, peeled, minced
1/2 persian cucumber, peeled, seeded minced
1 3/4 oz onion, minced
3-4 T oil for stir frying
1/4 t salt
dash of pepper
2 t soy sauce
Note: I decided to use 1/4 t 4:1 salt/pepper mix
So for preparation, I suspected that the vegetable ingredients were all the same weight; hence I suspected the half-cucumber of
peeled, seeded and minced should come to about the same weight. Chen-san also noted that the hot dog, vegetables should all be
minced to the same size.
He uses half the oil to stir fry the minced hot dog so that it’s crisp then adds the vegetables and continues to stir fry at high heat
until vegetables are tender.
Iron Chef Chen then adds the remaining oil and then the cooked rice to combine with the other ingredients in the pan which he stir
frys, breaking up clumps during the stir frying process. Once everything is reasonably combined, he continues stir frying by scooping up
from the bottom of the wok, underneath the ingredients to mix well on high heat.
Near the end of the process he adds the salt/pepper, continuing to stir fry to evenly combine the seasoning. Just before completion, he adds the 2 t of soy sauce in a circular motion directly onto the surface of the wok (presumably on the outside borders of the ingredients) and mixes in that seasoning quickly to combine quickly and evenly with the pan’s ingredients.
At that point the fried rice is done and ready to serve. Iron Chef Chen says that this should be enough to serve 2 portions.
While Iron Chef Chen’s fried rice could make a nice quick light lunch, I also decided to pair it with his ‘steak and onions’ with a side of
haricots vert for a hearty dinner. Portion wise, this recipe actually seem to make 4 rice bowls of fried rice. Generally speaking, I don’t like a lot of fried rice when I go out to a chinese restaurant since it seems to add too much soy sauce. In those situations, I tend to order it without the soy sauce. But Iron Chef Chen uses a deft restrained hand in adding soy sauce to his version, enhancing the flavor rather than overwhelming it. I really liked Chen Kenichi’s fried rice and now could see how I could proportionately substitute things like minced ham, American mixed vegetables or whatever I had in my refridgerator. Thank you Iron Chef Chen for educating me by making this recipe available. I could see making this as a final course in a chinese-style tasting menu dinner (a nod to William Mark’s The Chinese Gourmet, p. 45)