Fried Rice

When I was young, my dad had the idea of selling a recipe through mail order. “Want to get rich? Mail order,” he insisted. That, or start a religion. “Momism,” he suggested. “You should start the Church of Momism.” I think I nodded, imagined the tremendous wealth that would be coming our way, him selling recipes through mail order, me as an evangelist of Momism, and then I went back to playing video games.

He took action, though. Not just action, he took out an ad in a magazine – I don’t remember which magazine it was – offering to sell his fried rice recipe for a dollar. $1. People ask me, “John, where did you get your business sense?” Look no further. I give you: Dave Fried Rice.

Yes, his fried rice recipe was called “Dave Fried Rice.” Not Dave’s Fried Rice. When I asked him about this, he said he was thinking: subject, verb, predicate. As in:

Jimmy: Did you hear what happened today?!
Tom: No.  What happened?
Jimmy: Dave fried rice!
Tom: Holy shit.

Believe it or not, this didn’t catch on like he’d hoped. After placing the ad in whatever publication, he sold exactly one copy of Dave Fried Rice. It went to somebody in Pennsylvania. Minus printing the recipe (although knowing him, it was probably hand-written), postage, and the cost of the ad, I think he lost about $50 on this venture. Gotta spend money to make money, I always say. But sometimes, even that doesn’t work.

Tonight, AEJ and I made fried rice. Sadly, after all that build up, we didn’t make Dave Fried Rice. Why? Because I don’t have the recipe for Dave Fried Rice, and my dad doesn’t remember it. I wish I’d invested in an original copy. Instead, we made AEJ+JCM Fried Rice. (That’s what happened tonight: AEJ and JCM fried rice.)

As with any cooking adventure, it’s best to start with a cocktail. After that, little else matters.

Our recipe is awfully complicated — for fried rice. Isn’t this supposed to be something you do to make good use of leftovers? Like, grab rice, an onion, an egg, fry it up, and done! Not for us. This recipe starts with shallots. If your recipe starts with shallots, not just an onion, you’re trying too hard.

You toss some shallots, garlic, and green Thai chili peppers into a food processor…

… pulse, and you have this. Don’t sniff this, unless you like a burning sensation when you breathe.

Chop up some onions and green and red peppers, and sauté those for a few minutes, then add snow peas. This smells amazing.

Next you take that shallot/garlic/chili pepper paste and sauté that for a few minutes. To this, you eventually add a mixture of brown sugar, molasses, and soy sauce.

It turns out that five Thai chili peppers makes a dish really spicy. We cut that with fresh pineapple. (We bought it pre-chopped.)

One other crucial ingredient: fresh ginger.  It’s not pretty, but it’s yummy.

For our “leftover rice,” we used rice we made last night. (It really does need to be day-old rice so that it’s dry enough to absorb all of the other flavors.) We make the rice in a Zojirushi rice cooker, which makes rice perfect every time, and even I can’t mess it up. Instead of using water as the base, we use homemade vegetable stock, so the rice is pretty flavorful even before we’ve added all of this other stuff. It doesn’t look like much, though.

Another crucial ingredient for fried rice: eggs.

You make a “well” for them in the center of the rice, and scramble the eggs.

Now we mix the vegetables into the rice.

It’s getting there. Now we add mirin (it’s a low-alcohol rice wine), more soy sauce, and some sweet Thai chili sauce.

Don’t forget the pineapple! Oh, and peanuts. We throw in a handful of salted, roasted peanuts.

Lastly: a secret ingredient that makes a huge difference. Seriously. It adds sweetness, more saltiness, and deepens the flavor overall.

Throw a few scallions on top, and: voila! AEJ+JCM Fried Rice!  (That’s what happened tonight.  AEJ+JCM fried rice.)


Nick says

If I send you $1, will you email me the recipe?

Better idea: include a copy on the back of every score you ship.

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