I was really in the mood of trying something new.  I needed to do something to de-stress.  Work hasn’t been going on too well.  Hopefully the coming Chinese New Year can bring me better luck.  For now, food is my comfort.  LOL.  I got a bunch of meat and other stuff from the grocery store the other day.  I heard it’s going to snow again next week.  I got a packet of very thin and lean center cut pork chops.  The meat looked really good.  I don’t usually make pork chops because most pork chops that I found in regular American grocery stores were like an inch thick, which were too thick in my opinion.  It wasn’t easy to find the thin cut pork chops.  I decided to make Baked Pork Chops and Rice. This is a very common Hong Kong dish that I grew up with.  I remember I only made this once back in my college days.  I cooked the rice first.  I marinated the meat, and then pan fried them.  I made the sauce. I put the pork chops on top of the fried rice.  I added the sauce.  Sprinkled some cheese, and then baked the whole thing for a little bit.  It was more work to make this dish compare to what I usually made.  But I really needed to occupy myself with something that took my mind off work.  

Make cut marks with the back of the knife
Pan Fry Pork Chops
Stir fry rice with an egg, add salt and pepper
Put Pork Chops on Rice
Cook Sauce. Then add sauce pork chops
Baked Pork Chops and Rice

Ingredients (Serves 2-3):

  • Cooked rice, 3 cups
  • Egg, 1
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Scallion, 1 stalk (optional), cut into dices
  • Pork chops, 1 pound (thin cut, prefer boneless center cut)
  • Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, ½ tsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Parmesan cheese, ½ cup (Optional)

 

Sauce:

  • Canned tomato, 1
  • Onion, ½, chopped into dices
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Ketchup, 1 Tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce, a few drops
  • Cornstarch 1 tsp
  • Water, 3 Tbsp

 

Steps:

  1. Pan fried the cooked rice. Add an egg. Mix it well.  Add a dash of white pepper and salt.  Optionally, you can add chopped scallion to the rice.  Put it in a container that can be used for baking.
  2. To prepare the pork chops, use the back of the knife to make some cut marks on the meat first.  This helps to tenderize the meat and helps the meat to absolute the seasoning.  Flip the meat over and make more cut marks.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine.  Add pork chops. Mix them well with the seasoning.  Add cornstarch and mix them well.
  4. Use a large frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on it.  Use high heat.  Put pork chops in the pan.  Let it cook untouched for 2 minutes on one side.  Flip them over and let it cooked for another couple of minutes or until cooked. They should cook fast since the meat is thin cut.  Turn off the heat.  Put the pork chops on top of the rice in a baking container.  You can cut the pork chops in pieces first if you prefer. I cut them with a pair of scissors.
  5. Now make the sauce.  Cut the onions into small dices.  Use a frying pan.  Add oil to the pan. Put the onion into the pan. Let it cook for 2 or 3 mins.  Then add a can of canned tomato to the pan.  Add a oyster sauce, ketchup and few drops of Worcestershire sauce.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for 5 mins in low heat.
  6. In a small bowl, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Add the cornstarch to the tomato sauce.  Let it cook until the sauce thickens.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the pork chops and rice.  Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Use the broiler on high.  Put the dish into the oven and let it cook under the broiler for 5-10 mins or so until the cheese melts.

One of my new year resolutions is definitely to lose weight and eat healthier.  A few of my friends are trying the clean eating stuff, which means no dairy, no red meat.   I don’t know if I can do that since I’m such a meat lover, but I certainly want to try eating more veggie.  I made vegetable fried rice the other day cos I didn’t have any meat at home.  It has been snowing so much in NY, and I kind of stuck at home for days and didn’t get a chance to go grocery shopping.  But the dish turned out really yummy.  I didn’t feel deprived.  I’m going to make it a few more times.  Plus, it does fit into the clean eating rules. 

Cook veggie first
Add celery, mushrooms, rice and egg
Mix everything well
Vegetable Fried Rice - not too shabby

Ingredients (Serves 2 as side dish or 1 as main dish for a hungry man):

  • Cooked brown rice, 2 cups
  • Soy beans, 1 cup
  • Sweet corn, ½ cup
  • Celery, 2 stalk
  • Carrot, 2 stalk
  • Mushrooms, 5 or 6
  • Onion, ½
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Egg, 1
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp (you can use the vegetarian oyster sauce if you are a vegetarian)
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Sesame oil, a few drops (optional)

 

Steps:

  1. Peel and cut carrots into small cubes, like 1 cm long. Put it aside.
  2. Cut celery into small cubes.  Put it aside.
  3. Cut mushrooms into slices.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into small dices. Put it aside.
  5. Finely chop garlic.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a large frying pan, spray non-stick cooking oil on it.  Use high heat, cook carrots first.  Let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes. 
  7. Add soy beans, onion and garlic.  Mix it well.  Add cooking wine.  Cook it for 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Add celery, sweet corn, mushrooms, and rice.  Mix everything well.  If the rice is too hard, add a tablespoon of water.
  9. Dig a hole in the middle of the rice.  Add the egg.  Buried the egg with some rice.  Let it cook for 30 seconds or so before mixing it.
  10. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper. Mix it all well.
  11. Taste it.  Add a dash of salt if needed.  Add sesame oil if desire.

I hope everyone get a chance to reconnect with your friends and family.  That is all about for the Moon Festival – a reunion.  Enjoy a piece of moon cake too if you have it.  Mine was long gone in my tummy.  I wish I have another box of moon cakes.  Hehhehe.  A friend showed me a link about the new moon cake from Starbucks.  It looks yummy. Too bad they don’t sell it in US, or I would definitely get one.  Usually I would gather with friends and family for a big dinner to celebrate the Moon Festival.  This year, I’ve been working like hell at work, and I didn’t really have much energy left to hang out.  You know, everyone is so overloaded these days in this economy.  I made a big pot of chicken congee for my lunch and dinner.  It does remind me of a lot of childhood memory.  Back then when I was skinny, I used to have a bowl of chicken congee at a congee store near my house about two or three hours after dinner, and followed up with a soft ice-cream cone from 7-11!  I was like eating four or five meals a day.  Of course, having an extra meal right before sleep was not a good thing to do.  I don’t have that habit of having extra meals anymore.  But I do miss the chicken congee from that store.  It was plain simple and comforting.  Most congee stores have their secret recipes of making the congee (rice soup base) smooth and supreme.  For now, my home-made chicken congee was not too shabby. It still gave me a very warm feeling.

Put rice, water, chicken all in a pot
Bring it to a boil. Then turn it down and let it simmer.
Remove chicken from the pot after 1 hour. Break meat into smaller pieces
A bowl of chicken congee reminds me of childhood. It's wonderful.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, 1 pound (bone or boneless, it’s up to you. Even though I used 4 thighs, I would recommend using boneless thigh meat)
  • Rice, uncooked, 1.5 cups (or you can used 2 cups cooked rice)
  • Water, 12 cups (at least)
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash

Steps:

  1. Put uncooked rice in a big pot. Wash and rinse it for a few times.  Then add about 12 cups of water.
  2. Add chicken in the pot.  Use high heat. Bring everything to a boil.  Then turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer (without a lid) for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom or the side of the pot.  Also, you may need to add more water as the rice begins to absorb the moisture.
  3. Cut ginger into very thin slices.  Add it to the pot.  Let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Add a tablespoon of fish sauce to the pot. Mix it well.  Taste it.  Add a pinch of salt and a dash of white pepper if needed.  Turn off the heat.
  5. Cut scallions into dices.  Add it to the pot. Mix it well.  Take chicken meat out of the pot. I used the whole thighs. I took them out and deboned them. Cut the meat into small pieces.  Add the chicken back to the pot.  Mix everything well.  Serve hot.

I’m guilty of eating bad this week.  I was totally buried on my day job, and had 0 time to cook.  I ate all sorts of junk like pizza, and take out.  I had pork fried rice the other night from a take out place. It was greasy and had no taste, pretty gross.  I finally get sometime to cook tonight after golf.  I made a simple Shrimp Fried Rice.  I used brown rice instead of white rice.  I sprayed a little bit of oil when I fried it.  I used soy beans instead of peas.  I never like peas, I don’t know why.  Soy beans gave extra fiber and protein to the dish.  It was a quick fix meal ready in 20 minutes.  And it was yummy and healthy.  I need a lot of catch up this week since I ate bad last week.

Add carrot, onion, soy beans first
Add shrimp
Add rice
Add an egg in the middle, fold the rice in. Mix it well
Add an egg in the middle, fold the rice in. Mix it well
Easy shrimp fried rice

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry portion or 2 side dishes portions)

  • Cooked brown rice, 2 cups
  • Uncooked shrimp, ½ pound, peeled
  • Carrots, 1
  • Onion, 1 small, chopped
  • Soy bean, 1/2 to 1 cup (I used 1 cup)
  • Egg, 1
  • Scallion, 2 stalk
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • White pepper, a dash

Steps:

  1. Preheat leftover cooked brown rice in the microwave oven for a minute or until it is warm enough.  Put it aside
  2. Chop scallion into dices.  Put it aside.
  3. Cut carrots into cubes.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into dices.   Put it aside.
  5. Finely chop garlic.  Put it aside.
  6. In a large non stick frying pan, spray a little bit of cooking oil to cover the pan.  Use high heat.  Add garlic, onion, carrots and frozen soy beans to the pot.  Stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add Chinese cooking wine.  Let it cook for another minute.
  7. Add shrimp to the pot. Stir well. Let it cook for couple of minutes until it is cooked.
  8. Add rice.  Mix it well with all the ingredients.
  9. Add an egg in the middle.  Fold the rice from the side into the egg.  Mix it well eventually.  Let it cooked for a minute.
  10. Add oyster sauce and a dash of white pepper, mix it well.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed.  Turn off the heat.  Add chopped scallion.  Mix it well.  Serve hot.

Taro root is one of those funky things. They look very weird.  They are starchy like potatos.  My mom cooked a lot of taro roots when I was a kid.  She would peel a big taro root, cut it in big chunks and then steam them.  Sometimes we just ate it like that as a meal.  Sometimes, she mixed the taro roots with rice.  I also remember that she usually wore a pair of plastic yellow gloves when she peeled the taro root.  A lot of people have allergic reaction when they touch the taro root skin.  It was like an operation or something.  It was fun to watch.  These days, I could find peeled and cut taro root from the frozen section of a Chinese grocery store.  I don’t have to go through the pain of peeling off the skin.  I just recently found out that Taro root has great nutritious values including high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C, B6, and E.  This means that taro has antioxidant and reduces the risk of heart attack.  I love a lot taro-related food including Wu Gok (Fried Taro Puffs) which one of my favorite dim sum dish, and Taro ice-cream.  Yup, I’m not kidding. Taro ice-cream is purple in color, it’s funky and I loved it 🙂

 

Taro, peeled and cut
Taro, peeled and cut
Season chicken meat
Season chicken meat
Add rice and taro first
Add rice and taro first
Add Chicken and Mushroom
Add Chicken and Mushroom
Taro Rice with Chicken
Taro Rice with Chicken

Ingredients:

  •  Taro root, peeled cut in dices, ½ pound
  • Chicken thigh meat, boneless, ½ pound
  • Fresh Shiitaki mushrooms, about 10 (I used the fresh ones. You can use 5 or 6 dried shiitaki mushrooms instead)
  • Uncooked rice, 1.5 cup
  • Water, 2.5-3 cups
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Fish sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • White pepper (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut shiitaki mushrooms into small pieces. I cut each into quarters. Put them aside.
  2. Chop scallions into dices. Put it aside.
  3. Wash the rice for couple of time in cold water.  Drain it well.  In a frying pan, spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Then add the rice in it.  Add 2.5 cups of water, oyster sauce, fish sauce to the pan.  Mix it well.  Let the rice soaked in the water in the pan for 10-15 mins first.  Don’t turn on the heat yet.
  4. Cut taro roots into small dices.  Put them in a bowl.  Put a wet paper towel to cover the bowl.  Then put the bowl in the microwave for 3 minutes on high heat.  This could help to cook the taro root a bit first.  Add the taro roots to the uncooked rice in the frying pan.
  5. Finely chop garlic, put it in a bowl.
  6. Cut chicken into small cubes.  Put them in the bowl with the garlic.  Add soy sauce, chicken powder, Chinese wine.  Mix it well.  Let it marinates for 15 mins or so.
  7. Turn on the heat and let the rice cook in the frying pan. Use high heat until the water boils.  Turn the heat down to low or the minimum.  Cover the frying pan with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil. Let it cook for 5 minutes. 
  8. Then add shiitake mushrooms, and uncooked chicken to the rice.  Add another half of a cup of water if the rice looks too dry.  Put a lid or aluminum foil on.  Let it cook for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.  Turn off the heat. Let the rice sit for 3 more minutes with the lid on. 
  9. Then add a dash of white pepper, and chopped scallion and mix the rice well.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed.

It has been a tough week for me dealing with a sick cat.  I’m sure it is tougher for him since he is the one suffering physically.  I really wish I could do something to help.  I didn’t really feel like making anything fancy for dinner.  I found some leftover rice, some roast pork and some shrimp. Hm.. I could make Yeung Chow Fried Rice.  That would be yummy.  Yeung Chow is probably the name of some place in China.  Ya, my Chinese geography is pretty bad.   Anyway, the basic ingredients for the dish are roast pork and shrimp.  If you have these two, you are good to go.  I made Yeung Chow Fried Rice for a gathering at work once.  I got some boneless spareribs from a Chinese take-out place and used that instead of the roast pork.  They tasted very similar.  My ex-boss was asking me for recipe, so I knew it tasted good.  hehehhehe… I put some carrots to add a bit of veggie there. Usually, you’ll find small peas in most of the fried rice dishes including this one.  But I really don’t like peas at all.  I usually picked all of them out whenever I had fried rice.  My friends teased me said I acted like a kid.  LOL.  Anyway, within 20 mins, I finished making the dish.  I also made some pan fried dumplings to go along with it. It was a simple and satisfying meal.

Basic ingredients for Yeung Chow Fried Rice
Basic ingredients for Yeung Chow Fried Rice
c
Cook the carrot, garlic, ginger first. Then add roast pork
Add rice, and then shrimp.
Add rice, and then shrimp.
Add an egg, and then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.
Add an egg, and then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.
YeungZhouFriedRice5
Yeung Chow Fried Rice 😀

 Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Leftover cooked rice, about 2 cups
  • Shrimp, ½ pound
  • Roast pork, 1/3 pound
  • Onion, ½
  • Carrot, 2 sticks (Optional. I put it in. You don’t have to)
  • Peas, ½ cup (I didn’t put them in, but they usually appear in any fried rice dish)
  • Egg, 1
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Water, 2 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • White pepper, a dash

 

Steps:

  1. Finely chopped garlic and ginger, put it aside.
  2. Cut onion and carrots into small dices. Put it aside
  3. Cut scallion into small pieces, put it aside
  4. Cut roast pork into small dices. Put it aside.
  5. Cut shrimp into smaller pieces.  I cut each shrimp into 3 pieces.  You can keep it as a whole instead if you prefer.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a large non-stick frying pan, spray a little bit of oil.  Use high heat.  Put garlic, ginger, onion and carrots and peas into the pan.  Let it cook for 2 mins.
  7. Add roast pork.  Stir it well for a minute.
  8. Add rice.  Mix the rice well.  Add 1 teaspoon of cooking wine.  Depends on how dried the rice is, add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan.  Stir well.  Let it cook for 2 minutes or so.
  9. Add shrimp to the rice.  Stir well and let it cook until it is no longer translucent. 
  10. Dig a whole in the middle of the pan.  Put the egg in the middle and don’t touch it and let it cook for 20 seconds. Then slowly fold the rice in with the egg.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for a minute.
  11. Add a dash of salt and white pepper and oyster sauce for taste.  If the rice is still too dry, add another tablespoon of water. Mix it well.  Turn off the heat.
  12. Add scallion.  Mix it well.  Serve hot.

After posting the funky Zongzi yesterday, I’m still in the mood of adding more funky Chinese food here.  LOL.  This one is definitely weird looking – Chinese Thousand Year Egg.  They look like regular eggs except the shell has tons of tiny grey dots.  If you peel the shell, it is black in color and has a very strong sulphur smell.  Then I cut it in halves. The egg white is totally black and translucent. The yolk is dark greenish in color. I couldn’t help thinking what the heck have people done to turn regular eggs to look like this?  I used to love Thousand Year Eggs when I was a kid until one day I asked my mom how they were made.  Mom told me that they were soaked in horse urine for a few months.  From then onwards, I stop eating them for years.  I didnt know whether it was a myth or not, it just grossed me out.  A few years ago I saw the Fear Factor TV show asked the challengers to eat mashed Thousand Year Eggs.  Of course, they make it look so gross that no one could bypass the vision part.  In fact, they are not bad in taste.  My sister’s Japanese buddies tried the Thousand Year Egg for the very first time a few years ago.  After the first bite, they all said “oshi”, which means delicious.  My buddy’s American boyfriend tried it as well, and he loved it.  She even sent him a few Thousand Year Eggs in mail one summer when she was working in a different state for internship.

Thousand Year Egg
Thousand Year Egg
Thousand Year Egg Looks So WEIRD
Thousand Year Egg Looks So WEIRD
Thousand Year Egg Congee
Thousand Year Egg Congee

Note: I did not put any meat in this congee. The traditional dish should be pork and thousand year egg congee.  If your prefer, you can put some pork or chicken in it.

Ingredients:

  • Uncooked rice, or leftover rice, 1.5 cups
  • Water, 8 cups
  • Thousand year eggs, 2
  • Ginger, 5 slices
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash

Steps:

  1. Cut ginger slices into very fine strips.
  2. Cut the scallion into small dices.  Put it aside.
  3. If you are using uncooked rice, rinse it under the water 2 times.
  4. Put 8 cups of water and rice (cooked or uncooked) in a big pot.  Use high heat, bring it to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, add ginger strips and let it cook for 30 mins.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water if needed.  The congee should be very soupy.
  6. Add fish sauce to the congee.  Stir well.
  7. Peel the Thousand Year Eggs. Cut them into eight slices, then cut them into dices.  Add them to the congee.  Mix it well.
  8. Let it cook for another 15 mins.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed. 
  9. Add scallion to the congee.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat.  Serve. 

Happy Friday.  That’s what we were supposed to say. Instead, I have another hectic Friday with tons of meetings.  I got 30 minutes to fix my lunch. De javu again.  I opened my fridge and I saw the Zongzi that I bought last week from a Chinese grocery store.  This is it, my lunch of the day.  If you have never seen one before, they look kind of mysterious.  You may guess it is some mystery food wrapped in some leaves and made in a triangular shape.  Haha, true. But it’s not as bad as hot dog that we have absolute no clue what mystery meat that is made of.  Zongzi is sweet glutinous rice (sticky rice), shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimps, peanuts, salty egg yolk, chestnut, chicken meat/pork all wrapped with some leaves. I forogt if these are banana leaves or Lotus flower leaves. Anyway, the leaves give the rice mixture a very nice aroma.  I have made this from scratch before. It was a lot of fun and super yummy.  They are supposed to be a seasonal food during the Dragon Boat Festival in fall.  These days, you can get Zongzi from the refridgerated section of any Chinese grocery store.  My mom’s version is the best.  One time she was being creative, and she wrapped expensive stuff like shark fins, dried scallops as fillings.  It was super delicious.  Well, that only happened once in my life. She never made that again. 

If I have time to make it from scratch, I’ll show you guys later.  For now, I cheated with the ready-made version.  I usually put them in a big pot of water and just boil it for 10 mins.  But today, I use the microwave instead.  Just 5 mins and my lunch was ready 😀

Funky looking Zongzi
Funky looking Zongzi
Zongzi Unwrapped
Zongzi Unwrapped
Zongzi, yummy :)
Zongzi, yummy 🙂

Microwave version:

  1. Put a Zongzi in a bowl.  Do not unwrap it.  Add about half a cup of water to the bowl.
  2. Wet a piece of paper towel and put it on top of the zongzi so that it covers the bowl. The water and the wet towel will give some steam when we heat the zongzi in the microwave.
  3. Put the whole thing in the microwave.  Use max power and heat it up for 3 minutes.  Take it out and disgard the water.
  4. Unwrap the zongzi.  Disgard the leaves.  Put the zongzi back in the bowl.  Cut it open to check if it is warm/hot enough.  If not, wet the towel and cover zongzi, and put it back in the microwave for another m inute.
  5. Add a few drops of soy sauce for flavor.

Stove Top version:

  1. Do not unwrap the zongzi.  Put the zongzi in a big pot of water.   Make sure the water covers the zongzi.
  2. Use high heat and cook it for 10 minutes in the water.
  3. Unwrap the zongzi. Add a few drops of soy sauce for taste.

Mom used to make plain congee (rice soup) for breakfast.  To make plain congee, all you need is to put the rice in a big pot of water, and cook it for an hour until it turns creamy, and it’s done.  You can imagine how no taste it is.  Mom would fry some peanuts in a wok, and then added some salt on them.  That or some chinese pickled vegetable would be our side dishes that went along with the no-taste congee.  Yup, that was my breakfast when I was a kid.  I never understood back then why we couldn’t put some meat or whatever in the congee to give it some taste. Of course, looking back I would understand that it was because we were poor.  We couldn’t afford fancy breakfast.  Every time I asked her “Plain congee again?”, she would say “it cleanses your stomach.”  Now that I’m not that broke and I could afford meat.  I never make plain congee. 

As mom said, congee is good for the digestive system.  So whenever I don’t feel like eating anything, or may be feeling sick, I would make congee.  I would also have it for a good detox.  Forget about those detox pills or tea, try having congee for 3 whole days (breakfast, lunch and dinner), it really cleanses your digestive system.

This is my very-close-to plain congee that I made this morning. If you can afford meat, feel free to add some. But if you are really trying this out for detox, skip the meat!

 

Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox
Chinese Congee Rice Soup for Detox

Ingredients (make 2 servings):

  • Uncooked rice, 1.5 cup (or cooked rice, 2 cups)
  • Dried whole shiitake mushrooms, 2 (or dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, 8 slices)
  • Oatmeal, 1 Tbsp (optional, it gives more detox function)
  • Scallion, 2 stems
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Water, 9 cup

Steps:

  1. If you are using dried whole shiitake mushrooms, soak it in warm water for 30 mins.  When it gets soft, chop it finely, put it in a big pot.  If you use driced sliced shiitake mushromms, you can easily break them into small pieces by hand, put it in a big pot.
  2. Add rice and water to the pot.  Use high heat, bring it to a boil.
  3. Let it boil for couple of minutes.  Turn the heat to medium.  Add a tablespoon of fish sauce.
  4. Let it simmer for 50 mins until the rice expands and blends well with the water. The rice should look kind of creamy.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  Add more water if it is too thick for you.
  5. This is an optional step. If you have any leftover cooked chicken, or whatever meat.  I like to add leftover steamed Chinese Chicken pieces. Cut them into small pieces.   Add them to the pot.  Cook it for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add chopped scallion to the pot.
  7. Add a pinch of salt according to your liking.

MUST serve while it is hot.

February 13, 2010

Today was my first day transitioning to a new job. I was very overwhelmed as I found out I have to connect to like 150 people for my job!  I felt so exhausted when I got home. I needed to fix a quick dinner.  24 was on tonight. I can”t miss that  So I decided to put a bunch of leftovers into a meal, ie, Chinese fried rice.   You can put any ingredients into fried rice, be creative.  There is a very famous Chinese fried rice dish called “Yeung Chow Fried Rice” which has BBQ pork and shrimps in it. But I did not have those ingredients. So, I made a simple Chinese Chicken Fried Rice instead.  You can substitute the chicken with other kind of meat like beef, pork or even skip it as you like.  I will show you Yeung Chow Fried Rice some other time.  My high school friend told me that his uncle worked in a restaurant, and workers there used to use their feet to press down on the leftover rice to separate it.  It was sooooooooo gross!  I thought she made this whole thing up to gross me out.  Anyway, I have not ordered fried rice at any restaurant for yeaars.  I make my own.

My leftover rice from a take-out place
My leftover rice from a take-out place
Add An Egg to Fried Rice
Add An Egg to Fried Rice
Basic Chinese Chicken Fried Rice
Basic Chinese Chicken Fried Rice

 

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • Leftover cooked rice, 2.5 to 3 cups (prefer leftover rice over fresh cooked rice because leftover rice is drier)
  • Cooked chicken meat, 1- 1.5 cup
  • Ham, 2 slices (Optional, ham would give a nice savoury taste)
  • carrots, 2 stalks
  • Celery, 2 stalks
  • Onion, 1/2
  • Scallion, 1 stalk
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Egg, 1
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • White pepper, a dash (you can use regular black pepper instead)
  • Sesame oil (optional)
  • Water, 2 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Wash your hands first!  If the leftover rice has big lumps, break them with your hand first. Put it aside.
  2. Finely chopped the garlic. Put it aside.
  3. Peel and cut carrots into small cubes, like 1 cm.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut celery into small cubes, like 1 cm.  Put it aside.
  5. Cut onion into small pieces.  Put it aside.
  6. Cut scallion into small pieces. Put it aside.
  7. Cut ham into small pieces. Put it aside.
  8. Spray oil in a frying pan.  Use medium to high heat. Put carrots into the pan.  Stir fry it for 3 minutes or so. 
  9. Add onion and garlic to the frying pan.  Stir fry it for 2 minutes.
  10. Add celery and stir fry for a minute.
  11. Add cooking wine and a dash of salt to the pan. Mix it well.
  12. Spray a little bit more oil to the pan.  Add rice.  Stir fry for a minute or so.  Add 2 Tbsp of water.   Mix it well. 
  13. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce to the rice.  Mix it well.
  14. Dig a hole in the middle of the pan. Break an egg and put it in the middle (like a volcano).  Let it cooked untouch for a minute.  Then start to fold the rice from the side to the middle of the pan to mix it slowly with the egg.   Keep folding the rice in.  Mix it well for couple of minutes.
  15. Add cooked chicken finally.
  16. Taste it. Add a pinch of salt if needed.  Add scallion, pepper and sesame oil.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat.