CUISINE: Tastes Like Home —- Fried Rice: A choice of five

By December 18, 2022

Ginger Fried Rice (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Ginger Fried Rice (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

The year was 2006. My eldest cousin’s wife had cooked quite a spread for her family’s Christmas meal. There were many things in which to take delight and partake, but there was no rice dish on the table. Whaaat? One of her sons came over to my late Mom’s house where the rest of us were gathered. Upon entry, he seemed tense and somewhat put off as he mumbled Christmas greetings.

With his parents and 2 brothers not far behind, he launched into his complaint, directed to my Mom. “Granny! Can you believe this?! Mommy mek a whole set of food, all kinds of fancy things, and she ain’t cook no kind of rice!” There was a brief moment of silence before we all burst out laughing aloud, but Antonio was not amused. You don’t mess with a person and their rice! He headed to the kitchen, and above our laughter, he continued, “I know you would have rice cooked Granny.” He set about making himself a plate.           

Ginger Fried Rice (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Antonio is not alone. For very many people, if there is no rice (regardless of the dish), there is no food. Something is missing. Rice equals food for many of us. It’s like it brings everything else together on the plate (lol). Just as potatoes and pasta are important on the holiday table in various parts of the world, so too is rice. Here in the Caribbean, it will be some type of rice and peas, vegetable rice or fried rice. In Guyana, it would most definitely be some sort of fried rice.

Therefore, this week, I am going to share with you 5 fried rice dishes to choose from. Actually, it works as a reminder because over the years I shared them with you individually. Choose based on what your menu consists of and which one you think will best compliment the other dishes you will be serving for the main meal.

For complete recipes for each fried rice, check out the online version of the column at:

https://www.stabroeknews.com/the-scene/tastes-like-home

SALT FISH FRIED RICE

This version of the dish offers good umami flavour. Salt fish fried rice is a fusion of Chinese and Thai cuisine. In Chinese restaurants, you can find the dish combined with chicken. Absolutely delicious and it is excellent on its own. Give it a try with chicken if you like. This fried rice can have another layer of flavour if you use smoked fish instead of regular salt fish (not red herring or smoked herring, that would be overpowering).

 

GINGER FRIED RICE

If you use ginger regularly and in various ways, you will know how the flavour is different when it is fresh, dried or in this case fried. Adding scrambled eggs to this fried rice makes it a complete meal and works well for vegetarian guests. Given that ginger is the main flavour ingredient, it is important to use the amount of ginger indicated in the recipe.

SOY SAUCE FRIED RICE

This is simplicity at its best. Light (regular) and dark soy sauce are both used for this fried rice along with oyster sauce and fish sauce (for seasoning and umami flavour). A little malt vinegar is added to the mix to balance things out. This is one of my go-to fried rice because all you have to do is make the sauce and have it stored in the refrigerator until whenever you want to make this fried rice. Works well using chow mein noodles too.

 

Salt Fish Fried Rice (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

For this version of fried rice, the okra is sliced into ¼-inch thickness and fried crisp before mixing in with the other ingredients. The frying at the start of the making of the dish, flavours the oil too. The crisp okra provides texture as well as the soft scrambled eggs in the fried rice. As with the others mentioned so far, this fried rice is good on its own.

 

BASIL FRIED RICE

Oh my gosh, this fried rice is so fragrant, especially since you have to add even more basil just as you shut off the heat. Any type of basil works for this fried rice, each will bring its own unique flavour, including cinnamon and lemon. The key here is not to skimp on the basil and be sure to read the recipe carefully as the basil is added in two stages of the dish.

COOK’S NOTES

· Scale up the recipes depending on the number of people you are cooking for. Remember you can make life easy by cooking the rice a couple of days ahead. Fried rice is easy to handle when the rice is completely cool.

· Another thing of note is that scrambled eggs can be added to each of these fried rice for added protein, texture and as a vegetarian option for those who eat eggs.

———————-

cynthia@tasteslikehome.org      www.tasteslikehome.org

RECIPE LINKS

Salt Fish Fried Rice: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2021/07/31/the- scene/tastes-like-home/salt-fish-rice/

Basil Fried Rice: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2022/03/06/sunday/a-must-try-fried-rice/

Ginger Fried Rice: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2017/04/08/the- scene/tastes-like-home/the-resistance-is-over/

Soy Sauce Fried Rice: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2016/11/06/features/soy- sauce-fried-rice/

Okra Fried Rice: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2015/11/22/features/okra-fried-rice/

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: