Sunday 31 March 2019

Fried Rice with Wild Garlic Kimchi

H-hello? Is this thing on?

I'm slightly over-come with nostalgia, logging back in to this. Writing has taken something of a nose-dive since I was seduced by glitzy short-form instant gratification; hours and hours of scrolling, of 'liking', favouriting, instantly forgetting. Over the last week I have spent 8 hours and 14 minutes on Instagram, and I can't tell you a single remarkable thing I found that I can recall to you right now. That's not to say I don't enjoy it - it's a visual tool,  and I must've been enjoying it as I was scrolling, otherwise I would have put it away. But I also really like words. I loved writing, of noting down recipes, of reading recipes back some time later and seeing how they've evolved when I cook them now and I am now actively depriving myself of this. A picture won't tell me what I specifically did differently, and why.

That's how I got onto this, then. As I was frying rice for lunch, I started wondering when it was that I feel so deeply in love with this dish. It wasn't from when I was a child, I have no particular nostalgic memory of it. When was it that I developed a set of rules for frying rice? It wasn't in 2015. It definitely wasn't in 2008 (the state of it! Honestly.) They must have been picked up in between and on the way to present day, because here are my new rules:

- Fried rice is not the 'every single odd and sod you find in the veg drawer' (I have said this before. I am ashamed.). No no no. Stay minimal, stay chopped small. Capsicums are not allowed. Peas and sweetcorn can stay.

- The rice, cold from being cooked the day before and stored in the fridge, needs to be separated and goes into hot oil on a high heat. After a little press down with a spatula  to ensure evenness, it gets left there until you can se individual grains jumping a little. Then you can start stir-frying.

- Forget garlic and ginger. This does not go into my fried rice (though Filipino garlic fried rice is different). The only alliums allowed are spring onion - the whites in short length, just after the rice, the greens slivered finely to garnish. This one slightly deviates, what with the wild garlic but it was used for it's pickled, rather than garlicky quality.

- Egg is now cracked straight into the wok, the rice having moved to one side first. After a brief sizzle, you furiously mix everything together for a minute or two before taking off the heat. This is always done last. Always allow an egg per portion.

Egg Fried Rice

Serves 2

150gr cooked, cold jasmine rice
1 cured Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced diagonally 1/2 cm thick
2 eggs
2 spring onions, white and greens separated, whites cut to the 1/2 inch length and greens slivered
150gr frozen peas, thawed in cold water
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp wild garlic (or any other) kimchi
4 tbsp cooking oil
Chilli oil, to serve

Heat your wok up to a high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and swirl around the sides. Turn the heat down to medium high so the oil isn't smoking, and add the sweetcorn kernels and the sausage slices. Stir fry occasionally, so the kernels are bronzed, then remove to a bowl.

Re-heat on medium high, add another 2 tbsp cooking oil, then using wet hands break the rice up from clumps on its way to the wok. Press down lightly with a metal spatula so it all sits even, then leave it and watch it. When you see individual grains jumping, after 40 or so seconds, give the rice a mix and a toss. Add the spring onion whites, sweetcorn and sausage mixture back in, then the wild garlic kimchi and continuously stir-fry. Add the light soy and mix well, then add the peas. Continue for a one minute. Then push the rice to one side and add another tbsp oil, and crack two eggs into the space. After 10 seconds, vigorously mix the rice back into the eggs, keep going for a minute, then take off the heat. Garnish with the greens of the spring onion and serve, with chilli oil optional.

To make wild garlic kimchi, I salted about 500gr wild garlic for a couple of hours, rinsed, then mixed it with a paste made with whisking together 40gr glutinous rice flour with 200gr water and simmering until thick. I waited for that to cool, added 100ml fish sauce and an inch of ginger grated and 2 tsp sugar. Then I squeezed the water out of the wild garlic, mixed with the rice flour mixture, and placed in a sterilised jar with a loose lid for three days at room temperature, and then placed in the fridge. Mine was good to eat after 3 days. I omitted chilli flakes from this as I fancied a white kimchi.