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Restorer of Balance: Simple Stir Fried Rice

The ugly mood I brought home from work put up fierce resistance.  It outlasted:

  1. An episode of a very entertaining TV show,
  2. the final crunchy crumbs at the bottom of the emergency bag of potato chips,
  3. and even the bubbly bite of ginger beer, served in a cold glass mug.

Clearly, striving for even a small measure of elusive perfection is such harsh and demanding work that no matter how driven by burning desire we may be, it’s easy to drop into the shadow of hopelessness, nay extreme frustration.[*] Ergo: grumpiness. Fixing what was off kilter called for a powerful remedy able to restore balance to my self. The answer here is not just the food and the eating of it; for me, it necessarily includes the preparation of the meal as well.

To give a bitter day a better end, try the following simple stir fried rice (stir fry and fried rice combine!).

Collect:

  • About 5 oz stir-fry greens mix, i.e. assorted young greens such as baby chard, baby kale, etc.
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 eggs, whisked (like for scrambled eggs)
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of brown rice (cooked and ideally resting in your fridge for a day or two)
  • About 2 Tbs Soy or Tamari sauce, mixed with about 1 Tbs Mirin, and one or two drops fish sauce (this is pure estimate, use your judgment based on how much rice you have; you can also add finely chopped or grated fresh ginger if you have any)

Combine: Wash the greens if they need it, dry, then chop them roughly into strips. You could also tear the leaves into smallish pieces, if you need more aggressive therapy. Heat a little bit of oil or butter in a small pan, over medium to low heat. This is for the eggs. Once the small pan is hot enough, pour the scrambled, whisked eggs into the pan, letting them spread out and form a sort of large thin pancake. Let the eggs set over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat a bit sooner than you would expect is necessary. Residual heat will cook the eggs and you do not want them overcooked. With your spatula, cut the scrambled eggs into slices or whatever odd shapes you want, and reserve.

Heat your wok, or a large frying pan, over high heat. Once the wok is hot, add your cooking oil (sunflower is good), then throw in the stir fry greens, and, well, stir. Keep things going for about 30 to 40 seconds, or until the greens just begin to wilt. Toss in the garlic. Keep stirring. Push the greens up the edges of the wok (or the pan) to make room for the rice. Concentrate on the wok and the process. Add the rice, and extra oil if the wok is getting dry. Coat the rice in oil, and stir. The greens will start to mix with the rice, making pleasing patterns. Give it about a minute or two. Keep stirring though. Pour the Tamari (or soy sauce) mixture over everything, hear it sizzle, and stir some more. You can add the egg pieces soon after this, or right before the sauce, if you like. Turn off the heat, and gently stir everything together a few more times around the wok. Plate a portion, have a taste, and feel your world right itself. At least a little bit, and at least until tomorrow.

Seasoning note: The sauce is pretty salty, so I didn’t add extra salt to the egg or the greens. The rice was cooked with some salt originally, so it didn’t need any extra either. But obviously, if the dish seems bland to you, season with more salt or sauce until it’s right for you.

[*] Footnote: Read this sentence as tongue-in-cheek. Or, to stay with cooking terms, take it with a large pinch of salt.

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