I am not, historically, a fan of fried rice, but when you open the freezer at 5:15 PM and find that the only thing with a prayer of being defrosted by dinnertime is two sausage links, hard questions get asked. Questions like, “How far am I prepared to go in service of dinner tonight? How risky will I be?” And most importantly, “What the fuck can I make with two sausage links?” Luckily for me, the sausage links were not alone. I had leftovers of many kinds that needed to be used up. And so, my friends, I turned to fried rice, the Asian continent’s answer to “What the fuck do I do with all these leftovers?”
How did it turn out? Pretty good, if I do say so myself. I started with a friend’s recipe and riffed. I’m keeping all the proportions he guesstimated, because while I didn’t measure anything out, I roughly followed his proportions and it came nice. You’ll need:
2 – 3 cups leftover white rice (I am told if it’s not left over it’ll suck? I don’t know what sort of magic occurs in the fridge to make this true, but I trust my friend, so I share his advices with you)
2 – 2.5 cups minced meat (I used two sausage links, chopped into medallions and fried until crispy, and a whole bunch of leftover steak)
1 – 1.5 cups frozen peas
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 a shallot, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (you want roughly the same amount ginger as garlic)
Vegetable oil (so says my friend; I used vegetable because I’m out of olive, but in the future would probably use olive)
So, before you start, do a mise. I know it’s a pain in the ass, and I never do it except when I make oatmeal, but like oatmeal, this seems to be a dish wherein time matters. So before you start, make sure any raw meat has been cooked and everything that needs chopped has been chopped and anything that needs to be beaten has been beaten.
Okay? Good. We begin.
Start with your half a shallot. Hell, use a whole shallot if you want. Go crazy. Sautee it on high until slightly translucent – and by all means don’t do what I did, which is overheat the vegetable oil before you start and burn your first half a shallot to a crisp in seconds because you don’t understand how non-olive oil works – and after a minute or two, add the rice. Mix it all around so that everything is coated in oil and the shallot is mixed into the rice and cook it for awhile, stirring occasionally. Once it’s started to brown a bit and smell nice and rice-y, add your garlic and ginger and mix well. Let it cook for about a minute and add your beaten egg. At this point, mix like mad, else you’ll just get random scrambled eggs in the middle of a pan of fried rice. You want as much rice as possible to be coated in egg.
Now you can add your meat and your peas, or any other vegetables you want. I had the two sausage links which I’d fried until very crispy, a whole bunch of sliced steak which I diced well, and half a bag of frozen peas. Add it, mix it all up until the whole thing is well combined, turn the heat down to medium, stick a lid on the pan and walk away for three minutes. When you come back, you’re in the home stretch. I found it advisable to add a healthy squirt of sriracha (make a zig-zag from one side of the pan to the other), some rice vinegar (a smaller zig-zag), and some soy sauce (I don’t like soy sauce, so I only added about 1/3 of a zig-zag (yes, zig-zag is a precise measurement now, get with the times)). Mix it all up really well and taste it. At this point I found I needed a very healthy pinch of kosher salt. I added that and then it was done.
So that’s how you make fried rice if you’re a white girl who doesn’t know how to make fried rice. It didn’t come amazing, but it did come tasty. Me and my boyfriend both enjoyed it. In the future I’d probably add fresh basil, but otherwise I’m happy with this recipe. The thing about fried rice, though, is that it’s a vehicle for using up leftovers. So if I had leftover vegetables, they might go in. If I had different leftover meat, it might go in. You can get creative. I hope you tell me about it when you do!