Fried rice. When I was growing up, making fried rice is kind of like a college student making ramen noodles. It’s something you usually have on hand because it’s cheap, takes no time to make and you can add stuff to it to make a more filling meal. I grew up making fried rice as a way to use up leftovers because we always had rice available. Whatever we had leftover from the night before sometimes found it’s destiny as a fried rice dish in a day or two. I rarely saw fried rice dishes as something special… always an after thought if anything. So when I saw this recipe for Indonesian Shrimp Fried Rice in a recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I completely skipped it. I’m glad I read my magazine over again and the second time around, I skimmed the recipe. Granted, I didn’t make it quite as written, but I did enjoy the flavors I got out of the recipe. A lot! Sweet and salty flavors came through while shrimp and vegetables studded this flavorful rice dish….
Rather than following the recipe as written, I simply used the Indonesian sauce that flavors the dish. I prepared the sauce first and then fried the egg which was added later to the recipe. When it came to making the fried rice, I made it the way I’ve always made it for nearly 30 years. I guess it was just my natural instinct to make fried rice the best way I know how. But the sauce… was wonderful. It was perfectly balanced with sweet and salty flavors. I omitted the use of chiles because at the time, we weren’t in the mood for anything spicy but you could certainly add 5 fresh green or red Thai chiles or use 2 serranos or 2 medium jalapenos.
recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
12-14 extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, de-veined
2 cups leftover rice, cold
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 limes, cut into wedges for serving (optional)
For the Sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, molasses, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1¼ teaspoons salt; set aside.
For the Eggs:
In another small bowl, whisk eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt together in medium bowl, set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium high heat. Once hot, pour the whisked eggs into the pan and allow to set. Pull the cooked edges towards the middle and tilt the pan to allow the runny eggs to coat the bottom of the pan. Continue to do this as needed until no runny egg remain.
With a spatula, carefully flip the egg to cook the top side. Once cooked, take off heat and break up the egg into pieces which will be tossed into the fried rice later. Set aside until the egg is called for in the fried rice recipe.
For the Fried Rice:
Place onion and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil. Sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until translucent.
Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until the shrimp turns opaque. Push the shrimp to the sides.
Crumble the cold, leftover rice into the middle of the skillet. Cook the rice along with the shrimp until the rice is warmed through and slightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the sauce mixture and toss with the shrimp and rice to coat. Stir in the peas, carrots and egg and toss, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the scallions, remove from heat, and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges if desired; serve immediately.