Saturday, January 21, 2012

Egg fried rice

The dish above does not look much like egg fried rice, and it did not taste much like it, either. It was good in its way, just not the authentic article.

I was inspired - prompted would be a better word - to make it by Felicity Cloake's article this week in the Guardian. I agree with Cloake's reservations about pouring the egg first into the very hot wok, and I was intrigued by her suggestion that you stir the egg and rice vigorously, so that the egg coats and is to a certain extent absorbed by the rice. This dish is not analogous to spaghetti carbonara, which has a sauce of creamy curds.

I did not want to use Cloake's recommended 500g of rice, even for three people. But I did think we should have an egg each. That may have been my first mistake. The second was not owning a wok, and making the dish in a big Le Creuset casserole. Cloake fries her rice until she has separate, slightly caramelised grains. It is not possible to achieve this result in the Le Creuset: as you cook, more and more of the egg and sticky rice adhere to the pan. I stopped at the stage you see above.

My one disagreement with her concerns her instruction about waiting until the oil smokes. Why cook with burned oil?

For the record, I used 250g of jasmine rice, cooked in the afternoon and allowed to cool - it becomes a rice cake. I heated my pan over a medium to high heat, poured in about 3tbsp of sunflower oil, and immediately tipped in the rice, stirring and breaking it up. Then I tipped in my three beaten eggs, stirring vigorously all the time. As I say above, I stopped when I felt there was a risk of getting a stodgy, stuck, burned clump. I stirred in chopped spring onions away from the heat.

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