Friday, August 21, 2009

Fried Rice in a Dormitory Kitchen

Super-quick post, and I have no photos...sorry. I forgot.

Today, Mi, E, and I went to Koreantown. No, not Chinatown. Koreantown. Yes, I know, I was surprised too. But apparently it exists. Anyway, we went to stock up on essentials--laundry detergent, dish soap, and the like. We also picked up some basic food supplies--eggs, butter, scallions, soy sauce (we're Asian, okay?), sesame oil, and kimchi. It is this that leads me to today's dinner: egg fried rice. It's a very easy dish to cook, and can be put together with just 4 basic ingredients, although of course more would make it better. Here's what went into ours...

Egg Fried Rice

3 cups of cooked white rice
3 eggs
2 tbsp oil (any kind; we used sesame)
2 tbsp butter
1 whole scallion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
soy sauce (season according to taste)

~Crack open and beat your eggs in a small bowl. You can add salt and milk if you like--I didn't use either, because this dish is already salty enough without more salt, and milk is reserved for breakfast scrambled eggs.
~Heat up your pan on the stove. When it is hot, melt 1 tbsp of butter on it. Pour your beaten eggs into the pan. When the eggs begin to form a noticeable skin on the bottom, but is still mostly liquid, break it apart with a wooden spoon and push it around so that it forms smallish clumps (say about the size of a grape). When the eggs are cooked but not browned, dump them back in the bowl they were beaten in and set them aside.
~Don't bother washing that pan. I don't. It's just going to get more egg in it anyway. Now heat up 1 tbsp of oil in the pan, and put the cooked rice (emphasis on COOKED rice, one might think this is obvious but apparently my father's students once attempted this dish with RAW rice) in the pan. Melt your second tbsp of butter in here, and push the lump of butter around so that all the rice gets equal exposure to the fatty goodness. Break apart the rice so that it is not too clumpy, and add the second tbsp of oil and the salt and pepper.
~Add the eggs and the scallions to the rice in the pan, and push it all around. Add soy sauce to taste; the color of the rice should be around a light tan-brown, depending on how strong your soy sauce is (Japanese soy sauce is lighter, milder, and less salty than Chinese soy sauce).

This recipe makes enough for 3 people. It's very simple to adjust this recipe to make more or less to suit the number of guests you have. As this is a pretty versatile recipe, you can also add other things to it--frozen vegetables, chopped meat (hot dogs work well), etc. Use your imagination and have fun! This is another recipe for the cooking-inept. It's pretty hard to screw up--you'd have to leave the pan on the stove and walk away and forget about it for half and hour or something, as even if you leave the rice on the stove unattended for a few minutes all that happens is the rice browns and gets a nice crunchy texture. It's also a CHEAP dish; the 12 dozen eggs cost $1.69, and we only used 3 to make enough food for three people. Scallions were $2 for a big bundle. Soy sauce and oil should be staples, but since I'm writing this for college, the smallish bottles we got ran us about $3 each, and we'll definitely be using it more in the future. The rice we used we made in our rice cooker, but you could just as easily cook up some Minute rice or get a few containers of steamed rice for $1 each from your local Chinese or Japanese restaurant.

This was the first time I really cooked in our new kitchen. Our stove is electric, and I have to admit at first I was trying to figure out how to light it (I'm used to my house's gas stove), before I realized "OH it's electric! It doesn't need to be lit." Smart, huh? But anyway, I got it fired up and it heated up really fast, and is really easy to clean. I was impressed. This stove and I are going to have a beautiful relationship.

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