|Thai Basil Fried Rice (picture from Shiok - Chef's Notes: How to make great fried rice)|
Somewhere along the line in this eating healthy again endeavor, the side dishes with dinner became more important than the protein. Perhaps it's the fact that we are grilling often or it could be that having cut out the white potatoes, white pasta and the like that the vegetables now play a leading role in our meals.
What brings this to mind is the past Friday, we had spent it at the beach lazing away, sort of frolicking in the water but mostly just relaxing and people watching. I really didn't feel like cooking when we got home but we must eat, salmon was on the menu that night but what to serve with it? There are vegetables galore in the fridge and Michael asked for squash so that was a done deal but what to have with it? Surely that would not be enough to satisfy the two of us.
I had been thinking about fried rice for a while and had a bag of left over brown jasmine rice in the freezer. There is always too much when I cook it so the unused portion goes into a bag and is popped in the freezer for later use, this works out great for me since the dern rice takes almost an hour to cook. I just pull it out open the freezer bag and pop it in the microwave for about 5 minutes, viola rice!
Off to the Internet with the search words fried rice recipe and I was not disappointed! I found the site Shiok - Chef's Notes which was connected to a restaurant that no longer is open. The recipe I found was for Thai Basil Fried Rice and could not be easier! I of course made a few adjustments and came up with my own version. Two important notes about making this dish:
1. You cannot use fresh, just cooked rice as according to the site it will turn into a big mushy mess!
2. When you add the garlic and chili paste stand back! The oil is extremely hot and splatters absolutely everywhere!!!
Thai Basil Fried Rice
2 cups cooked rice (we used brown jasmine)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon garlic chili paste (I got mine at World Market and little bit goes a long way)
3/4 cup green bell pepper cut in 1/2" squares
1 large onion cut in 1/2" squares
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 pinches sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 handful fresh hand torn sweet basil
On medium high, heat wok until almost smoking, add the oil (you may want to remove the wok before doing this depending on how much of a fire chicken you are). Remove wok from heat source (if you haven't already) add the garlic and chili paste stirring for 10 seconds. Add the peppers and onion place back on medium high heat adding a little bit of salt and the black pepper. Toss and stir for 30 seconds, add rice and stir until each little piece of rice is covered in oil, add the sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil than give it a good stir. Add the basil and allow to cook for one more minute stirring all the while.
The recipe called for the addition of shrimp and they go in when you add the peppers and onions, it was wonderful without it! I had always wondered how the vegetables were cooked but still tasted so fresh when we eat Chinese food and this wok method was it. You absolutely must use a hot wok and add the oil after it is heated up. We had this with some grilled salmon and stuffed zucchini, Michael had seconds of the rice (the ultimate sign of something good) and the left overs went with me for lunch yesterday. Probably best of all other than the chopping (which trust me nothing has to be measured) the whole thing takes about 5 minutes to put together!