Fried rice 炒飯

japanese cake

This is another popular Sino-Japanese dish and perfect for ending your Izakaya feast. Like fried noodle “yakisoba”焼きそば, I make this dish with leftovers such as frozen rice and whatever vegetables and/or proteins are available. There is no real recipes per-se and there are as many variations as numbers of people who cook this dish. We are not fried rice aficionados, but, I know that some people are really into this dish and many “secrets” have been discussed. Some people appear to like having the rice grains separated and suggest mixing a beaten egg into cold cooked rice before frying. I tried this method but I do not particularly like the end result. I only make sure that the rice does not get too greasy (through judicial use of oil and cooking on very hot wok or frying pan) and is well seasoned (I add a small amount of soy sauce along the perimeter of the hot pan at the end).

The night I made this dish, as a protein, I used thinly sliced pork spare ribs which were briefly (10 minutes) marinated in 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part sake and 1 part mirin with 1/4 tsp of grated ginger root. The vegetables I used were fresh shiitake mushrooms (4-5 medium, sliced), snow peas (10-15 pods), finely chopped onion (1/2 medium), and thinly sliced garlic (1 fat clove). I put 2 tsp of peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan and fried the garlic slices on low-medium heat until the garlic slices  brown slightly (do not burn, it will get bitter). Take them out leaving garlic infused oil in the pan and set aside the garlic chips (I use them later as a garnish). I increased the heat, added onion, meat (strained of the marinade) and stir fried until the meat was cooked. I added shiitake mushrooms and snow peas, sauted until they were cooked (about 2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan and set aside.

 Clean the pan and add a tsp of peanut oil with a dash of dark sesame oil on high heat. When the oil is almost smoking add about one cup of thawed frozen rice (leftover rice works much better since the grains separate easily) and stir until the rice is coated with oil and the grains are separated (2-3 minutes). Lightly (be aware of an additive effect of seasoning) season with salt and pepper. Add the meat/vegetable mixture back into the pan and keep stirring and flipping until well mixed. At the end, pour a small amount (about 1 tsp) of soy sauce on the inner edge of the hot frying pan so that the soy sauce gets fragrant before reaching the rice, stir or flip to mix well, and plate the fried rice. I prefer to make scrambled eggs separately. Garnish the fried rice with scrambled eggs, thinly sliced vinegared ginger root, “aonori” sea weed, and the garlic chips.

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