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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

5-Minute Chicken Fried Rice

So, most happily, I whipped this up from start to finish in under 5 minutes.
Totally serious.
One minute it wasn't there and the next minute it was.
Well not technically, the next minute. That would be a gross exaggeration.
But - in the next 4 minutes - it was. That would be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.

!??

(Officially lost the plot today. Much too much going on. Brain damaged now. What brain you ask. Good question that.)

Anyway.

Honestly, though, this is one of those recipes that elicits funny phrases like "are you kidding me?" or "you're not kidding me!" or “Whaaaaa?” or “No way!” or "Ya way?" and such-like expressions of amazement over how something that can be made so quickly could possibly result in something so, so good.

But it can!
And it does!
I just did!
So there. Hmph.

See, fried rice is fried rice and no two recipes are ever identical, but mostly they amount to this pretty basic cast of characters:

1) Rice (but of course)
2) Chicken (yes, same)
3) Eggs
4) Peas
5) Sesame oil
6) Soy sauce

And you just mix the whole motley crew together in a sizzling pan and there you have it.
See?
Simples.
(I dig Alexander the Meerkat, in case that bell didn't ring)
(It's ok, don't worry, I'm not judging - my bell hasn't rung in quite some years actually)

But anyway.

Here's how much of each you need:

- 2-3 chicken thighs
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 2 Tbs sesame oil
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2-3 Tbs soy sauce (more or less to taste)
- 2 eggs,  beaten
- 2 Tbsp chopped green onions (optional)

I use chicken thighs because the danger in fried rice is that the chicken dries out. Thigh meat is always, always more moist and succulent than breast meat and so, when cooking chicken, it's my cut of choice any day and in almost any recipe. This is particularly the case when cooking something like fried rice where you really don't want to be fighting (and losing) with tough, over cooked chicken. Frankly speaking, winning or losing is rather a moot point because really, one generally doesn't want to be fighting with a chicken. Overcooked or not.

So...

Anyway, here's how you do it:

Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Pour in some of the sesame oil. When smoking hot - and I mean smoking really, (think Giselle) - add in the chicken and quickly stir fry until cooked. Now, remove from heat into another container and wait for it to cool and then when you are positively sure that you won't burn your hands - because I will never, ever, ever forgive myself if you do - shred it neatly and nicely like good little girls and boys always do.

Now, add some more oil to the same wok and pour in the beaten eggs. Using a spatula, scramble the eggs expertly like you know what you're doing. Pretending is key. Trust me, I do it all the time.

Now, once cooked, add in the peas, rice and chicken to the egg mixture. Add in the soy sauce on top for salt and flavour (and msg) (we love msg) (thank you mum, dad and China). Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Add chopped green onions if you like. Or don't, if you don't like.

Now for the BEST bit.
Turn off flame, grab a fork and eat from pan.
Not.
I mean I did, but don't be like me...

Monday, 28 September 2015

Blackmailed!


I've been put on the spot by a very special friend who's just messaged me saying "Write--or cook--cuz now I'm hungry
wink emoticon xxx"

Hmmm...

Now that's what one calls proper emotional blackmail.
Which has properly worked.
Because if I ignored hunger pangs from anyone, let alone those of a friend, what kind of foodie would that make me seriously?
Because any foodie worth their salt NEVER ignores hunger pangs.
And so the fire has been lit.

And I scratch the itch to cook.
And to write.

Which is why I always say it's a good idea to have something up your sleeve that you can cook quickly, and simply, when you've got friends coming over at short notice.
Or you get cyber-emotionally-blackmailed
(What a ridiculous world we live in!)

So, anyway, where was I?
Yes, good idea to have something etc.
This is that thing.

When I asked said friend what they fancied, they replied with - "ok am about to go to the gym so maybe a nice post workout meal. Some kind of thai or asian chicken/fish curry?"

Your wish is my command, I aim to please, etc etc etc.
So Asian Fish Curry it is.
I had most of the ingredients in my store cupboard, but if you don't, it's an easy shop for stuff that will come in handy several times over.

Here's what you need:

- 1 400 ml tin coconut milk
- 1 - 2 tablespoon thai curry paste (I only happen to have yellow on me, but it works as well with red)
- 1 kilogram pumpkin or butternut squash peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
- 500 grams salmon fillets (pref organic) skinned and cut into large bite sized chunks
- pak choi (or any other green veg of your choice)
- 350 ml fish stock
- 3 tablespoons thai fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 kaffir lime leaves (if possible)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric


Here's how you do it:

Pour about a quarter of the coconut milk into a large saucepan with the curry paste on medium heat. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, beat the mixture together until well combined.
Now, add in the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar,  lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then add the pumpkin/squash. Simmer on low heat until the pumpkin is tender, with just a tiny bit of bite to it.
Now, add in the salmon until cooked through, 3-4 minutes, stir in any green veg you're using - sliced, chopped or shredded as your little heart desires - and mix in.
When the vegetables have wilted, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or and eat with some plain basmati or Thai rice.

Flavourful, nutritious, aromatic, filling and delicious - a perfect post work out meal, I hope?

P.S. - Sorry for the delay. I went for my 5K run.
(As you knew I would)
x