Chicken Fried Rice
The best chicken fried rice I have ever had was from a street food stall in China. Instead of tough, over-cooked chicken, with the fried rice as an afterthought, the dish was cooked fresh from scratch. The cooking time was literally minutes and the result was delicious. I have re-created a version that comes very close to the original. It is quick and easy and makes a meal in itself. The rice to be fried is cooked beforehand.
|Long grain white rice measured to the 400ml (14fl oz) level in a measuring jug and cooked according to the method below|
|600ml (1 pint)||water|
|100g (4oz)||fresh or frozen peas|
|3 tbsp||groundnut or vegetable oil|
|3 tbsp||finely chopped shallots|
|2 tbsp||finely chopped garlic|
|1 tbsp||finely chopped fresh ginger|
|3 tbsp||finely chopped spring onions, white part only|
|225g (8oz)||boneless, skinless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped|
|Salt and black pepper|
|2 tsp||sesame oil|
|1 tbsp||chilli bean sauce or paste|
|2 tsp||shrimp paste or sauce|
|3 tbsp||finely chopped green spring onion tops|
To make the steamed rice:
Put the rice into a large bowl and wash it in several changes of water until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice and put it into a heavy pan with 600ml (1 pint) of water and bring it to the boil. Continue boiling until most of the surface liquid has evaporated – about 15 minutes. The surface of the rice should have small indentations, like a pitted crater. At this point, cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat as low as possible, and let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Let it rest on the turned-off heat for 5 minutes before serving.
To make the chicken fried rice:
Allow the cooked rice to cool thoroughly by spreading it on a baking sheet. When it is cool, refrigerate. When the rice is cold, proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Cook the fresh peas in a pan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain them in a colander. If they are frozen, simply thaw them.
Heat a wok or a large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add 1½ tablespoons of the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the shallots, garlic, ginger and white spring onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the chicken, 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and put the contents of the pan into a bowl. Wipe the pan clean.
Combine the eggs, sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside. Reheat the wok or pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to moderate and add the eggs. Stir-fry the eggs for 2 minutes, then add the cooked rice and stir-fry it for 3 minutes, mixing well. Add the peas, cooked chicken, chilli bean sauce and shrimp paste and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes over a high heat. Add the green spring onion tops and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes, then turn the mixture on to a plate and serve at once.