Wednesday, December 7, 2011
cumin fried rice
One of the very best things that my wonderful Japanese neighbours taught me was how to make fried rice. It is a super meal for busy nights or the times when you haven't really planned and there isn't much in the fridge or pantry for fixin's. For years I made one variation or another on the Japanese fried rice I was shown by my lovely friends in Osaka (where, by the way, they pride themselves on their cuisine) but I kept it pretty close to an Asian profile.
Last night I had planned quite well but as often happens at this time of year, my day - although wonderful and fun - did not go exactly as I had planned and I was left with far too little time to work my plan. On to Plan B. Which really means standing in the open fridge and wondering what to do, what to do..... There was a bit of left-over roast beef from Sunday dinner, the bare minimum of boring vegetables, hmmmmmm and sigh..... and then (I must honestly say - based on how incredibly yummy this was) inspiration struck. Fried rice with a Mediterranean flair! Fast, easy, and so, so good.
Another of my plans - as I perhaps somewhat foolishly announced last week - was to count down the days to Christmas with a Christmas-themed post per day. Try as I might I can't find a way to spin this as a Christmas thing. The closest I can come is to simply suggest that everyone still needs to eat, preferably something yummy and healthy, and since the days are full and busy perhaps others might want something like this in the idea bank.
I realize that chances are pretty good that everyone doesn't have a little left-over roast beef waiting to be used in fried rice. If you don't I would think that a bit of whatever you like (chicken, beef, or turkey) whether already cooked and waiting, or quickly stir-fried would work just as well. Since our stays in Japan we are committed converts to Japanese short grain rice - it works particularly well in fried rice and is what I prefer.
cumin fried rice
2 cups Japanese short grain rice, cooked
1 cup roast beef, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups baby spinach, washed
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onions and carrots until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, sage, and cumin and cook for another minute or two. Toss in the beef and cook for a minute or until hot. Sprinkle the spinach leaves into the pan and quickly stir-fry until they wilt, then add the hot cooked rice and quickly but gently stir the rice into the mixture. Be careful not to over-stir otherwise the rice can get a bit gummy - not good! Season with salt and pepper and dig in!
As I look over what I have written for this recipe it looks too .... simple? like I must have missed something but I really think that's it. It really is fast and easy and good. I have learned that making fried rice is not a science but a very forgiving art. Just about anything works and often the simpler the better. Like most good food.
So I mark off December 7. One day closer to Christmas!