Monday, September 30, 2013

Shrimp Fried Rice

I've never been a big fan of regular Chinese takeout fried rice.  I have always preferred dishes with lots of sauce, like broccoli beef and sweet and sour pork.  My husband, though, could eat fried rice weekly.  Turns out, it's a very simple dish to make.  I found a generic recipe on the Food Network website and modified it to our tastes.

I started off with some white long grain rice (my favorite is Uncle Ben's), and cooked it with a generous spoonful of the vegetable bouillon paste that I blogged about here.  The bouillon paste really does establish a good base of flavor for the rice.

From there, it's all about mise en place- having all your ingredients at the ready so you can throw them in and cook it all quickly.  Once your prep is out of the way, the dish is ready pretty fast, so get your piehole ready!

After it's done, drizzle on a little sriracha (rooster sauce) if spicy is your thing.  You won't be sorry.

With a little prep work, fantastic shrimp fried rice can be yours for the eating, in a way that is not only homemade, but infinitely more tasty and fresh than anything you'd buy at a takeout place.

Shrimp Fried Rice
serves 4-6

3/4 cup converted long grain white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 generous tablespoon vegetable bouillon paste, or 1 vegetable bouillon cube
3/4 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 cup small-diced white or yellow onion
1/2 cup small-diced carrot (about 3 medium)
1/2 cup thawed and drained frozen peas, or 1 cup fresh snow pea pods, rinsed, ends trimmed, cut in half if long (We prefer the pea pods, but I was out of them when I made this dish last time.)
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce, mixed with...
1 tsp. sesame oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 tbsp. canola oil
1 egg, beaten with a little water

In a small saucepan, combine the 1 1/2 cups water with the rice and vegetable bouillon over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, and cook with the lid on for 15-20 minutes.  When the surface of the rice looks like it's dry with holes poked into it, turn off the heat and set the pan aside with the lid still on.

In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Add the beaten egg and allow to cook until browned on the bottom.  Flip gently and cook until set.  Remove the egg pancake to a cutting board and cool briefly.  Roll up the pancake and slice into thin strips, and then roughly chop the strips.  Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet (the biggest one you can find), heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry the minced garlic briefly- about 30 seconds- making sure to keep it moving constantly with a spatula.  Add the shrimp and continue cooking until the shrimp start to turn opaque.

Add the carrots and onions and stir-fry until the onion begins to turn translucent.  Add more oil to the skillet if needed.  Fold in the cooked rice.  Expect some of it to stick to the pan.  Also, expect to make a mess.  You *will* get rice everywhere when you make this dish.  Don't worry.  You're doing it correctly.

When the rice is combined with the shrimp-veg mixture, add the thawed peas or pea pods.  Continue to stir-fry for a minute or so, and then drizzle on the soy sauce-sesame oil mixture.

Fold in the chopped egg, season to taste with salt and black pepper, and serve with plenty of sriracha sauce.

Now you have no excuse for takeout fried rice, unless you're just completely hard-up for a fortune cookie.

Beautiful Gulf shrimp.  Do yourself a favor and buy shrimp fished from the Gulf of Mexico instead of varieties from China or Thailand.  You will taste the difference!
Mise en place - French for "setting in place," this culinary term means the practice of laying out all necessary items beforehand.  Here, diced onions and carrots, thawed frozen peas, minced garlic, and soy sauce with sesame oil.
After briefly sauteing the chopped garlic, add the shrimp to the skillet.
A squeeze bottle like this is very handy for dispensing oil.
When the shrimp are almost cooked, add the diced onion and carrots.  If needed, dribble in a little more oil.  Keep the food moving around.
Making the egg pancake in a small skillet.
Flipped egg pancake.
Adding the cooked rice to the shrimp/veg mixture.
Roll the egg pancake up and slice thinly, then do a rough chop.
Rooster sauce!  Gotta have it.  Yum.
Beautiful, delicious, and completely homemade!

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