Oriental Fried Rice

The most popular solution to leftover dilemmas, the beauty of oriental fried rice is that if you add enough meat and vegetables to the rice, it’s a complete meal.

Take whatever leftover meat you have (ham, chicken, pork, beef, duck, or turkey) and dice. What vegetables you want to add is up to you. Carrots, sweet peas, and corn are popular choices but you may also use chicharo, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. You may also add sliced mushrooms or chopped shrimp. Whatever meat, seafood, and vegetables you’re using, just cut them into small uniform pieces. If you intend to serve the fried rice as a one-dish meal, you will want to keep a 1:1 ratio one part of meat and vegetables for every part of the rice.

Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for one minute. Strain and douse with cold water. Heat some vegetable oil in a wok. Saute some minced garlic and finely chopped onions. Add the meat (and mushrooms and shrimp, if using), and stir fry until heated through. Add the rice. Season with salt and pepper (or you may opt for light soy sauce and oyster sauce). Toss over high heat until heated through. Add the vegetables and chopped scrambled eggs and cook, tossing, for a couple of minutes longer. Alternatively, when the rice is hot, make a well in the center and add some beaten eggs. Stir the eggs until almost cooked then stir into the rice. Add the vegetables. Cook, stirring often, until the eggs are done and the vegetables are heated through.

Udon for Breakfast

I often wish that we were more of breakfast people but we’re not. I suppose our taste buds are barely functional early in the morning and it takes a few hours to get them to work. The kids rarely eat breakfast so their first meal for the day is their school recess which, fortunately, is quite early at around 9.00 a.m. So I make it a point to pack a rather heavy snack for them no store-bought cookies, definitely because, after all, it’s supposed to serve as both breakfast and mid-morning snack. Me, I rarely eat breakfast. I usually take two cups of coffee in the morning and then eat somewhere between 9 and 10 which qualifies my first meal as brunch. One day last week when the kids’ packed school lunch consisted of stir-fried pork and vegetables, I decided that my brunch would be udon. I boiled some udon, tossed them with what was left of the stir-fried dish and the result is what you see in the photo.

Of course, almost any oriental noodles will do udon is not a necessity. But I had this pack of tempura udon and I’d been dying to try cooking yaki-udon so I figured I might as well experiment with the noodles first before plunging into the next project. The result was heartening the noodles didn’t turn soggy and neither did they stick together after they were tossed with the stir-fry. Oriental noodles cook much faster than Italian pasta so they need to be watched closely while boiling. As an additional precaution, I plunged the cooked udon into ice water after draining. Then, I drained them once more before tossing them with the stir-fried pork and vegetables. After the successful experiment, the next time I go to the supermarket, I will buy a pack of bonito flakes and cook my first yaki-udon.