Herb Fried Rice


This recipe was originally posted with Miso Marinated Beef Steak, but I like it so much that it deserves its own post.

To make stir-fried rice use leftover rice that’s been in the fridge for at least a day. The grains become firm and dry making them much easier to separate as you stir your fry.

If you add oil to a pan that’s not hot enough, you will lower the temperature of the pan even further. If you wait until the oil is hot, it will have begun to burn. If you don’t wait to add your ingredients, they won’t fry, but will soak in the oil. If the oil isn’t hot enough to seal the outside of the food, it will be absorbed, making for a greasy dish. And counter-intuitively, the food will stick to the pan more.

Remember the Frugal Gourmet: “Hot wok, cold oil: foods won’t stick!”

Adding oil on top of the hot metal creates a thin film of oil that goes into the pores of the metal, creating a “non-stick” effect. The oil then dances easily on the surface. You can use less oil to sauté or stir-fry your food.

How do you know when the pan is hot enough? Sprinkle a few drops of water over the (dry) pan.
If the water doesn’t sizzle audibly or remains as drops on the surface your pan is not close to being hot enough.
If the drops sizzle on contact but don’t evaporate immediately your pan has reached medium temperature. Wait for the water to boil off, add a bit of oil for stir-frying vegetables, or delicate seafood.
If the water sizzles loudly on touching the pan and boils off almost immediately: Ah, this is what you need for stir-frying. Add your oil and swirl it around and you’ll see how easily it glides. You’ve now got a fine surface for cooking food without it sticking too much. Meat added to the wok will be seared rather than “stewed”. That makes all the difference to texture and taste in a stir-fry.

Herb Fried Rice

from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 460
serves 3 to 4
  • Reserved fat from the steaks,
    2 Tablespoons chopped beef suet,
    or 2 TBS butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups day-old rice
  • 10 large shiso leaves, coarsely chopped (or 20 small ones)
  • Salt, tamari, and black pepper to taste.

In a wok, melt the fat or butter. Add the onion and cook over medium low heat, until it is soft but not brown (5 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice, and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Break up any lumps with a wooden spatula. Stir in 1/2 of the shiso and add seasonings to taste. Push the rice away from the middle, and add the tamari. It should sizzle and caramelize very fast. Stir the rice back over the hot spot and mix. Garnish with the other half of the herbs. Serve.


2 thoughts on “Herb Fried Rice

  1. Ooooh the sticky, shiny goodness of it.
    You are rich in shiso.
    I am watching the gingko in our garden – waiting for the first leaf…

  2. When you said “waiting for the first leaf” I thought about me now waiting for the first ripe gingko nuts. And the first yellow leaves. Our weather is still nice: warm enough to enjoy without jackets but autumn is coming… I have windows open during the day but it gets cold at night. This morning the radio forecast was warning about “patchy frost” in low lying areas.

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