Easiest Fried Rice with Gunk
Boiled white rice is so easy and goes great with almost everything (except poo). There is no secret but it does take good judgment and patience to get it right. For whatever amount of rice you decide to cook, you always need to put twice the amount of water. However, it is not as simple as one cup rice, two cups water. The way I sometimes do it just to be lazy is to fill the cup of rice with water too, so it’s one cup of water and rice, and then add another cup of water. The way that I was taught to check if I had put the right amount of water in is to stick my finger in the pot (obviously before you switch on the heat) and find the point the rice reaches with another finger and the top of the water with a different finger. The two parts in between should be the same length. To try to make this clearer, if when you stick your finger in the rice comes up one centimetre from the bottom of the pot, then the water should only come up to two centimetres from the bottom of the pot – get it now? Depending on the type of rice you might have to put slightly more or less water but this will come from experience.
When cooking boiled rice, the secret is to leave it alone! One cup of rice usually takes between 15 – 20 minutes. The easiest thing to cook rice with is a rice cooker – this will automatically switch off when the rice is done and it will be perfect every time as long as you get the proportion of rice and water right. If however you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated rice cooker, a pot is fine but requires a little bit more attention. Put everything into the pot and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. After about 10 minutes lift the lid to check if all the water has been absorbed and the rice looks fluffy and soft. Don’t remove the lid too often as this will result in unevenly cooked rice – only check when absolutely necessary. Once the rice appears cooked, take it off the heat and leave it to cool down with the lid still on for a further 10 minutes. Your rice should come out perfect and will not stick to the pot.
For, fried rice you should always think in advance because it is best to use one day old rice. This means that you can make plain boiled rice for one meal and leave the extra rice for the next day. That’s two meals sorted! However, I usually can’t be bothered to wait so I don’t care if you don’t either. The reason it is left overnight is so that it has a chance to soak up any remaining moisture, to cool down and therefore allow the grains to separate more easily rather than stick together.
You really can put anything into fried rice so I leave this up to you and your crazy imagination. Some of my favourite combinations include (1) bacon and sweetcorn, (2) finely sliced celery, carrots, onions, sweetcorn and chicken and (3) also just plain with spring onions and garden peas. In my mind, fried rice is not fried rice unless it contains egg but you can choose not to put it in (if you want to be weird).
The procedure is as follows. First heat up your frying pan or wok and add some oil. Let it get hot enough so that it almost starts to smoke – this helps it not to stick unless of course, you’re using a non-stick pan which is an excellent invention and should be used whenever possible! Then add the egg and scramble it. As soon as it is cooked, add the ingredients that you want in it – always raw meat or seafood first before vegetables. Once you have added all the ingredients, make sure they are all just cooked before you then add the rice. At this point it should be made clear that the ingredients you put in will continue to cook with the rice so if you are using ingredients that are already cooked i.e. canned vegetables, it will be best to cook it at the same time as the rice. You need to be quick and keep stirring otherwise things will start to burn!
This actually leads to one way you can cheat which is to cook the ingredients separately and add it to plain fried rice (egg + boiled rice), cooking it together to finish off.
But before you finish, you must remember to season it and most importantly, you need to add soy sauce. Add some salt first to taste but don’t add too much at this point because you still need to add soy sauce. You have a choice of either dark soy sauce or light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce will give it a very dark brown colour but the flavour is quite subtle. It is what is used in most restaurants and takeaways, but I prefer to use light soy sauce because it has stronger flavour so you don’t need as much salt when seasoning. Sometimes I like to use both so that you get the intense flavour of the light soy and the rich colour of the dark soy. Now it is entirely up to you how much soy sauce you want to put in but it is good practice to add a little at a time until you are satisfied. Remember, with light soy sauce you can either use more salt and less sauce or more sauce and less salt. It takes practice to get the balance right, but keep testing as you are making it. I don’t usually like to put too much soy sauce in because I like to be able to taste the flavour of each individual ingredient that I’ve put in. It’s better to use a bit more salt to enhance the flavours rather than mask the flavours with soy sauce. Keep cooking it for a little while longer until you are certain that everything is steaming hot and then you are ready to serve. Now that wasn’t so hard was it!