When I grew up in Australia in the 70s, Chinese restaurants were ‘the’ exotic family treat that usually had mum and dad bickering. Dad, being a tradtitional Pole, hated all things foreign that took him out of the comfort zone of meat and 2 veg. Mum on the other hand, decked out in a bouffant “do” and platforms, found it all very glamorous, surrounded by red laquered panels, black and gold wallpaper, silk lanterns, and names like ‘Golden pagoda’ and ‘Mystic Dragon’. Born and bred in the heart of Melbourne suburbia, I had to agree with mum, and delighted in the bilingual Chinese/English menus, threatening my little brother with spicy chickens feet, while dad ordered a T-Bone from the ‘Australian’ menu. In those days there was nothing better than masses of egg special fried rice, beef in black bean sauce and banana fritters.
And so it came to pass, then when comfort food is required on a Sunday night, all these years later in London, and there’s a portion of white rice in the fridge, out comes the Wok, the eggs and any other leftovers. With a huge dollop of sweet chilli sauce, you cant go wrong!
SPECIAL FRIED RICE
2 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
200g/7oz long-grain rice (uncooked weight), cooked and left to go cold
100g/4oz frozen peas, dont worry about defrosting as they thaw, just waiting and stir fry just fine.
4 spring onions, chopped as finely as you like
a handful of bean sprouts (optional)
1-2 tsp soy sauce
ground white pepper
1. Beat together the egg and sesame oil and put to one side.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan. When it’s shimmering and almost smoking, add the rice and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes until completely heated through.
3. Add the peas, spring onions and beansprouts, if using. Stir-fry, turning the rice constantly around the pan, for about 3 minutes. Season well with soy sauce and pepper, then push to one side of the pan. Pour the beaten egg mixture into the other side and leave for about 10 seconds so it begins to set. Using a chopstick, briskly swirl around the egg to break it up and then toss around with the rice. Stir-fry for a further minute and serve straight away.
Tip: Add anything else you like…
You could include some extras like chopped ham, shredded cooked chicken, cooked prawns, chopped water chestnuts, or baby sweetcorn, when adding the peas. It’s all good!