Basic Oriental Cooking (Part II)
Here we grow again!
Cooking Perfect Rice:
Cooking rice was actually "easy" even before the advent of the surge of electric rice cookers which played havoc with Japan's projected growth for its electrical grid a number of years ago!
Here's how to do it the tried and true way that served at least a billion Asians before someone thought up an electric rice cooker. (I add here that we have found other uses for these modern rice cookers, but my daughters and I prefer this "old fashioned" method.)
Select the size of pan suited to the amount of rice you need, and then add the amount of rice you want to cook, place your clean palm flat on top of the rice and add water to the bottom of your wrist bone. (The American Rule of Thumb is two cups of water for every one cup of rice , but wild rice needs 2 1/4 Cups of water to one cup of rice.) Bring the rice and water to a boil while partially covered; boil briefly and reduce the heat to just below Low and hotter than the Warm setting.
Take a clean washcloth you have moistened so it is damp. Place it over the cooking rice. Quickly cover it with the pan's lid while drawing the corners of the washcloth over the lid, clipping the washcloth's corners if necessary to keep them away from the heat source.
Cook the rice for 15-25 minutes. The cooking time is largely dependent on the type of rice being cooked. For example, wild rice tends to be drier and harder, requiring more time to become the fluffy texture you are looking for. Remember that, while birds eat rocks, people do not. This is also a reminder to be sure that the rice was free of rocks to begin with.
For rice that was "fortified" any rinsing defeats the purpose of fortifying the rice in the first place.
After 15 minutes at the reduced heat, stir/mix the rice thoroughly and sample to check the texture. Check again until you have the desired softness, stir the cooked rice which, if properly fluffy will have no clumps. Don't allow the pan to go completely dry (adding a small amount of water if needed.)
Preparing Fried Rice
While this section starts with preparing Vegetable Fried Rice, preparing shrimp, chicken, beef, or pork fried rice follows these initial steps, except for cooking the meat or seafood portions appropriately when sauteing the onion, oil, and garlic powder before adding the small amount of water needed to cook the vegetables prior to adding the eggs and rice for the final combination of all the ingredients.
You will need the following ingredients (plus any added meat or seafood for variations) to feed approximately four people:
2 Cups of Cooked Rice
1 Tbsp. Cooking Oil (I prefer Canola or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/2 Cup Diced fresh Yellow Onion (with a dash of Garlic Powder)
2 Cups of shredded Cabbage
1/4 Cup of Mung Beansprouts
1 or 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce (let your taste be your guide)
A dash of Black Pepper
2 or 3 Eggs Beaten
1/4 Cup of Diced Green (Spring) Onions or Chopped Parsley
Sauté the onion and garlic powder with the oil, add the cabbage and diced carrots plus a little water cooking for about 5 minutes. Mix in the soy sauce and beaten eggs, mixing well until the eggs are just cooked. Add the rice and dash of pepper, then add the diced green onions/parsley. Mix well over the heat to allow the mixture to pick up the flavors of the last item(s). Turn off the heat and serve. The preparation of this dish is easier if you are using a wok, as this allows easy mixing and the steady return of the items to an area closest to the heat source. the cooking temperature is the same as you might use when frying an egg.
You can opt for leeks, or bok choy, or a combination with cabbage to make up a combined 2 Cups, and (as always) experiment around this basic recipe to find the flavors and ingredients most pleasing to the palates you are trying to please.
This is a basically low salt, low sugar dish, with the amount of soy sauce generally controlling the salt content, and the amount of carrots controlling the sugar content. Use slightly more oil in the initial sauteing, if you will be adding meat or seafood as part of the fried rice dish.
Green Garden (And Egg) Salad
On the next trip to your green grocer, or your garden during summer (but why wait until then?) plan to take to the kitchen 1/4 Cup of fresh chives or green (spring) onions, 1 Cup of broken dandelion leaves, 1 Cup of fresh beansprouts, 4 strips of bacon, 4 hard boiled large eggs, and enough Romaine lettuce, shredded carrots (or beets or beans), as well as spinach cut into 2" pieces (stems and all).
Dice the eggs, cook the bacon crisp and crumble it, then mix all the ingredients and serve immediately with your favorite dressing.
This is one of my favorite dressings, and it can't really be called "oriental":: to your blender add 1/4 Cup flax oil or canola oil, 1/4 Cup raw sugar or raw honey (remembering that some people may be allergic to honey), 1/4 Cup ketchup or fresh tomato puree, 1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar, 1 large onion (grated), and salt to taste, or use a vegetable soy sauce, or Bragg's Amino Acids sauce. Blend until thoroughly mixed, though if the onion was really finely diced it is okay to have some small pieces visible.
Asian Food Rolls
[A daring breakfast, a fine lunch item, or a light supper staple.]
Steam fry 10 oz. of lean ground beef or 1 Cup of textured soy protein granules and a large, diced yellow onion in soy sauce or liquid aminos such as Bragg's Aminos, add a little garlic powder to taste, and set this aside.
Dice any (or all) of the following: carrots, green bell peppers, tomatoes, iceberg/green/red leaf lettuce, spinach, beansprouts (or other sprouts you like), spring onions, red onions, and cilentro. All of these should be well-washed. clean, and fresh.
Combine the cooked and prepared items and roll them in softened rice wrappers, or dry wrappers from Thailand. The rice wrappers may have the edges moistened by hand with water so that when they are rolled the wrapper holds the mixed ingredients much the same way as a cooked eggroll would.
These will be even more authentic if dipped in prepared dipping sauce made from a half cup of carrot juice, a diced garlic clove, a dash of lemon juice, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, some soy sauce, and a pinch of sea salt or Redmond Salt.
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
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