|Perfectly cooked fried rice doesn’t make me crabby.|
This evening I made a delicious fried rice with fresh Dungeness crab meat and it came out absolutely perfect! My son Bennet had three servings of it, and my lovely and talented wife Regina just couldn’t get enough.
Fried rice is not inherently difficult to make, although there are tricks to making it excellent. The most important tip is to start out with dry rice; if your rice is wet it can result in a soggy, clumpy mess. The best rice to use is leftover steamed long-grain white rice, either one or two days old. Dry rice, when stir-fried, will absorb other flavors and make your final dish super-tasty and complex. If you don’t have leftover rice, you can do a couple of things. Buy an order of steamed rice at your local Chinese take-out restaurant, dump the contents of the paper box on a sheet pan, and leave it out on the counter for a couple of hours. You can even direct a small fan over the rice to dry it out further. Or cook your own rice at home, spread it out on a sheet pan layered with foil or parchment paper and stick the whole pan in the freezer. Your freezer is the driest place in your house, probably, and one hour in the freezer will help sap your freshly cooked rice of some of its moisture.
When making fried rice it’s also very important that your wok (or large, non-stick saute pan) is very, very hot. Good fried rice is a combination of fluffy, flavorful grains alternating with some crunchy bits where the rice has hit the hot oil in the hot pan and gotten crispy. These crisp grains have lots of flavor and great texture; it’s what differentiates “fried” rice from leftover rice that’s just been warmed up in a pan. Also part of the process of making fried rice (and keeping the temperature of your pan from dropping precipitously) is adding the ingredients in stages. This recipe will demonstrate a basic method for staging your ingredients, starting with your eggs and continuing on to your aromatics and then your larger, chunky ingredients. Feel free to adapt this recipe for other primary ingredients other than crab. You can’t go wrong if you follow this general recipe!
A final tip is don’t be afraid to season generously. White rice is bland by its very nature and can take a lot of seasoning. You’d be surprised how much salt and pepper and garlic and ginger the rice can handle. In this recipe I’ve added what I feel to be moderate amounts of spice, but you may find you’ll want a little more (or less) depending on your palate. I say, go for it!
One final note. I’ve designed this recipe with the home cook in mind. Most restaurants have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) output for their equipment, meaning they can achieve much higher heat than conventional residential stoves. If you are lucky enough to have powerful, high-end equipment in your home than this recipe will go much faster; although to be honest this recipe takes very little time to make either way.
|Regina plays with minced woodear mushrooms.|
You will need:
3 cups leftover cooked long-grain white rice
1/3 pound cooked Dungeness crab meat (blue crab, king crab, or snow crab meat is all fine)
juice of half a lime
5 tablespoons peanut oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, or sesame oil (not ‘toasted’ sesame oil)
1 egg, whipped with a fork
1/3 cup scallions (white part) thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup minced (fresh or reconstituted dried) woodear mushrooms (minced shiitakes can substitute)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon shao xing (Chinese cooking wine) or sherry
1/3 cup frozen petite peas (defrosted)
1/3 cup scallions (green part) thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped and loosely packed
Now Do This:
In a large bowl add the juice of half a lime to the crab meat. Stir and marinate for a few minutes.
Heat a wok over high heat until it just begins to smoke. Swirl in one tablespoon of the oil and immediately add the beaten egg. The egg will puff up and cook very quickly. With a wooden spatula scramble the egg until fully cooked and remove it from the wok. You can put it on a cutting board, coarsely chop it, and reserve it in a bowl.
Wipe the wok clean with a big wad of paper towels (be sure you don’t burn your hand on the hot wok!) and return the wok to the heat (still on high). Heat for ten seconds or until the wok is again very hot!
Now add the remaining oil. Add the white part of the scallions and stir-fry for five to ten seconds. Add the garlic and the ginger and stir-fry. When these ingredients become very fragrant and just begin to brown at the edges add the crab meat.
Stir-fry the crab meat for about a minute, or until any moisture steams off (you’ll remember we added a bit of lime juice). When the steam dissipates add the minced mushrooms and stir to combine all the ingredients well. Now push the ingredients off to one side of the wok, creating an open space in half the bottom of the pan. Add your rice to this open area and allow to cook for about thirty seconds without moving it. Sprinkle over the top the salt, the sugar, and the two types of pepper.
Stir the rice into the crab and other ingredients. Spread the rice out evenly in the bottom of the wok and leave it alone. Cook until the rice begins to “pop”. You want some of the rice to brown and crackle. This will take two or three minutes.
Add the cooking wine down the side of the pan. It will steam and become very aromatic. Cook another 30 seconds and then add the peas, scallion greens, and cilantro. Stir to combine well.
Remove rice from wok and put in a serving platter. Serve as part of a larger Asian-style meal. Enjoy!
|Every grain is perfectly cooked.|
I hope you like this recipe. If so, leave a comment and let me know what you think!