A quick glance over at the cooking department on this site will surely leave one wondering where the actual cooking is, what with most of the cooking featuring stove-cooked desserts and side dishes cooked in the oven. For when it comes to true cooking, you could pretty much smell my fear shrouding the air like burnt garlic plastered at the bottom of a new I-thought-it-was-nonstick pan. Of course, my favourite and perhaps overused excuse reason behind this non-culinary trait of mine would be the fact that I live in the same household as an undeniably great cook, who, much to my dismay, never follows any recipes nor uses any strict measurements, and rocks it old-school with her method of ‘a pinch of this, a dollop of that’, which, if I may add, never fails to confuse me to no end, for the pinch almost always leads to more than what I had imagined a pinch to be. At this point, I can almost see a couple of heads nodding in agreement, attesting to the aforementioned style of seasoned cooks, as I would call them; along with some of you catching yourselves laughing silently, perforated with a tad of guilt at my ineptness around the kitchen and my accurate description of your cooking style.
To those of you belonging to the former camp, I feel you; to the latter, know that I have an unabashed envy of you.
And as life were to play itself out, I found myself alone in the kitchen one day, itching to give a try at what I perceived to be a simple foray into the cooking world. The resulting dish was a quick mash up of anything I could find around the kitchen, and while it most certainly lacked a certain je ne sais quoi that my mother’s fried rice always charmed us with, I guess it’s not such a bad start to break out of the cooking fear. And even though my dishes will never match up to my mother’s;– funny how the same dish can look totally different;– and the techniques and seasonings I use may offend the traditionalist in her, I will safely stick to recipes that actually have the words ‘teaspoons’ and ‘cups’ in them, and steer far far away from ‘pinch’ and ‘to taste’, thank you very much.
Beginner’s Fried Rice
2 cups of day-old rice (preferably cold)
about 2 tbsp cooking oil
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 chilli, sliced
1 tbsp kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2-3 tbsp sambal belacan paste
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 egg (optional)
ground black pepper, chopped parsley, chopped spring onions (garnishing)
- On a moderate heat in a pan, stir fry the garlic, shallot and chilli in the oil until the shallot has softened, and the garlic has browned.
- Add in the kicap manis, sambal belacan paste and oyster sauce, and stir for about 2mins.
- Add in the rice, and stir cook for about 3-4 mins, or until the rice is evenly coated with the sauce.
- Serve warm, topped with a fried egg, and sprinkled with your choice of garnishing.