I’ve not done an “In the Kitchen” for some time — not because I’ve not been cooking. I have. Every day.
Anyway, a couple of nights ago I made fried rice using a recipe from Tom Philpott. The recipe I used dates back to when he was still writing for Grist (he’s now at Mother Jones). (He’s since posted a slightly different version of it at MJ.) (Lest anyone misunderstand: I don’t know Philpott; I read his work because he writes about agriculture and meat. But otherwise: don’t know the guy.)
In any case: We’ve been making fried rice at our our house for almost thirty years, using tips and “recipe” from a friend of ours from China. It was okay; nothing fabulous, but good. (Better than take-out, which we wouldn’t be doing anyway.)
Never again! This version from Philpott borders on the sublime. As in: Wow! We gobbled every bit of it and I wish I’d made more (but didn’t because I just used what cooked rice I had on hand).
“Fried rice” is based on cooked rice, which, presumably, most people in the Asian world have on hand most of the time. That’s also true at our house: on any given day, open the frig and you’ll find a container of cooked rice left over from some meal or other.
I followed Philpott’s recipe and, most important, his technique, with the following exceptions:
I didn’t have “spring” greens. (“Spring” would be any green — spinach, collards, whatever — that has just sprouted and is young and tender.) I had a bunch of decidedly not-young collards. The leaves were enormous and tough. So I boiled a pot of water, dumped in some salt, and boiled the collards for about 15 minutes. I let it cool a bit, and then sliced it in narrowish ribbons. And then cooked according to the recipe.
I used plain old, non-“green” garlic.
I used plain old Asian jasmine rice, which was what was in the frig already cooked. NOTE: You don’t need much rice. I had about a heaping cup of cooked rice. It was plenty for two people. It won’t look like much, but you’d be surprised at how far cooked rice goes.
I used three eggs for two people. Because I’m greedy??
I also followed his lead and used a skillet instead of my usual tool-of-choice, a wok. I was curious about how that would work, non-wokish. Just fine!, as it turns out.
I will say that if you’re making this for more than one person, the odds of you being able to “flip” the eggs are about zilch. Not to worry. I poured the eggs into the pan, gently, let them cook about a minute, and then, using a wooden spatula, gradually, and gently, broke them up so that the entire mass would cook. And, of course, gradually worked the eggs into the rest of the mixture.
Oh, man, was this GOOD. Seriously. Enjoy!