First, this is in no way an authentic way to make Chinese Chicken Fried Rice. I have tried many recipes and well, this is just the way I prefer to have it. Second, no fancy photos or anything, just sharing the process since how can I do a month of Asian-inspired food and not do fried rice? I make this one a regular basis so I took haphazard pictures one day while I was cooking.
My husband LOVES rice and so we eat it all of the time and when I was learning how to cook, rice was my absolute nemesis. Years ago I asked a woman I worked with who was from Hong Kong for her recipe for rice. She said, “Recipe? Use a rice cooker!” It was like a message straight from foodie heaven! I have learned how to make rice from scratch of the stovetop since then but seriously, a rice cooker is a blessing in the kitchen.
I start off first by making a huge batch of rice in my rice cooker the night before. You do not want to use freshly made rice for fried rice. I use scented rice and for this batch I put in two cups of rice and four cups of water and turned it on. It is that easy.
So I am totally going off the map here by marinated some diced raw chicken in some black bean sauce. If you have not had black bean sauce before, oh what you are missing! I love those flavours and this way when you bite into a nice chunk of chicken you get hit with just a little of that strong flavour which brightens up the rice which I usually find boring. I also add some cornstarch to the chicken. I learned this step from Martin Yan who said that it helps brown the meat and makes it a little crispier.
On to the coking! I always started each phase with sauteing some garlic and ginger for about 20 seconds and then adding the layer of food I am working with. In this case it is the veggies. I did not have a lot in my fridge, just some carrots and celery. I saute over medium high heat until the carrots darken and deepen in colour, then I set it aside.
On to the chicken! I would have cut them into tinier pieces but my knife is super dull and so chopping is a big challenge right now. Thanks to my friends at The Food Network (especially Cory and Ava) I may have found a way to sharpen my knives at home that go beyond using a steel. Will post more once I get the blade sharpening system!
So we are now getting closer to frying the rice. I saute more garlic and ginger in my frying pan (since I do not have a wok) in what looks like too much oil but it will be used for the rice in a second. I add two whisked up eggs and use a chopstick to move around the egg and just before it is completely set:
With a spatula I try and break down the rice as much as I can and then I season with lots of soy sauce. I do not like that much salt but my husband is always asking for more soy so season away until it is at the salt level you like. Once the rice is heated through I add the vegetables and meat back into the pan.
Stir it up until everything is warmed up and you have my chicken fried rice. Not super fancy but hearty and delicious, we eat this as a meal. It is one of my husband’s favourite dishes in the world. We used to ride to Ho-Lee-Chow on our motorcycle in Ottawa and strap a few large containers of it to the bike and have it when we get home.
Considering Ho-Lee-Chow is now out of business and the Chinese restaurants around here serve bean paste in their egg rolls (what is up with that?) and one place served me chop suey when I asked for chow mein and my husband IS super allergic to MSG… I think it is best that I make even the most mainstream Chinese food in my own kitchen.