Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let's talk about rice part 2 - rice as main dish

Well, this is a post that's originally intended as the third post following up on our first discussion about rice, however there were new things that I cooked in between that I felt was worth posting. Now, on with the long overdue post...

In this post we'll discuss more ways to spice up rice. However, unlike the previous post, these recipes work as a stand alone recipe. Not that I don't recommend eating these rice with other side dishes, it really is a matter of preference. I personally never liked eating fried rice with any other things, I think that a plate of fried rice deserve its own limelight. Mix and match as you will, however, there are times when I ate butter rice with various other things.

Butter rice

2 cups rice
1/4 stick butter
1 tsp thyme
1/2 - 1 tsp salt

Optional ingredients: mix and match as you wish
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup sauteed onion
3 tbs diced ham
4 strips of crispy bacon, crumbled
2 tbs smoked salmon, diced
1 boiled egg, chopped
2 wieners, diced

1. Cook rice as normal
2. Just right after rice is cooked, mix in butter, thyme and salt. Stir evenly.
3. Add any of the optional ingredients.

1. I like adding vegetables more because I can use this rice to eat with other dishes. 
2. Add the vegetable while it's still frozen, don't worry, the heat from the rice will melt the vegetables.
3. Salmon is strong smelling, I usually add salmon along with lemon juice (about half a lemon).
4. SPAM is a good addition to this, however stick to SPAM Lite, I found that the regular SPAM is too salty.
5. You will find many more combinations, I'm sure. You can even use leftover rotisserie chicken.

Fried rice

1 carrot, diced small (I achieve this usually by slicing the carrot at an angle, then julienned the carrot slices and finally dicing them)
1 egg scrambled
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 sweet Chinese pork sausages, cut at an angle
1 green pepper diced medium
1/2 cup of frozen vegetable/corn
3-4 cups of day-old rice
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs cooking oil
salt, pepper, sugar to taste

1. Saute the pork sausage and garlic in 1 tbs cooking oil.
2. Add egg, scramble.
3. Add carrot, pepper, and frozen corn. Cook until all the ingredients are fully cooked.
4. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, add rice, then mix thoroughly.
5. Add soy sauce, fish oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix thoroughly and adjust the taste.
6. Stir in sesame oil evenly.
7. Increase the heat to medium heat, and stir the fried rice for another 2-3 minutes (this is to evaporate liquids from the soy sauce and fish oil).

1. There are many different types of Chinese pork sausage, this particular one is called the lapcheong. They're relatively dry, so they will need oil to saute.
2. It's not necessary to use the Chinese pork sausage. Any meat substitution is acceptable (except for fish). This recipe is sort of "clean-your fridge' recipe, meaning that if you have leftover cold meats, or leftovers pork chop from previous dinner, you can use it in this recipe.
3. Don't buy fish sauce just to make this dish. It works just fine without it, except that fish sauce does add a depth to the flavor. Just make sure you have a good sesame oil.
4. It's also not necessary to get sweet soy sauce. I understand that there are places without sweet soy sauce (the Indonesian style sweet soy sauce, I meant) and if there is, beware of the expiry date (this is especially if you live in a small-ish town with little Asian population, kinda like where I used to live). So, forego it, and use salty soy sauce, same measurement, except that if you use salty soy sauce, cut back salt, and add more sugar. The soy sauce, though adds flavor, is mainly used to change the color of the rice.
5. It is important to use old rice. Don't use rice that was just cooked, it'll be quite mushy as newly cooked rice is softer. If you don't have old rice, wait around for a while until the rice is cold (approx. 2-3 hours).
6. You can put scallions in, if you want, or use it as garnish.
7. You can easily turn this into curry fried rice. Eliminate sesame oil and use half of the soy sauce. Add 1 tbs turmeric powder and 1/2 - 1 tbs curry powder (depending on how strong you want the curry to be). If you turn this to curry fried rice, add 2 tbs of raisins, and use leftover lamb chop for a different dish.

How to make boring fried rice "fancy"...
My mother used this trick when I was little. It's a cool trick that makes "fried rice omelet". To do this:
1. Eliminate the egg from the original recipe. 
2. For each person, in a bowl, whisk 2 eggs with a dash of salt and pepper.
3. Use your best non-stick cooking frying pan, spray with cooking spray and fry the egg as if you're making a pancake. (Preferably medium heat, and swirl the egg around so it creates a thin layer of egg-crepe)
4. After the fried egg is cooked evenly, spread gently on a plate, spoon some of the cooked fried rice onto the egg and gently roll the egg "shell", tucking the fried rice in the egg.

Hope you enjoy mixing and trying different combinations!


  1. I just made the rice. It was fantastic! I stir fried veggies on highest heat in my wok to cook out any liquid, and then followed your directions.

    I also took your advice and added some sambal oelek for heat.

    I ate the whole plate and I thought I'd have enough for tomorrow!

  2. WOW! I'm happy that worked out for you!