Okay, I don’t know that this fried rice recipe will make you want to marry the fried rice and have its fried rice babies, and honestly, I don’t know what “fried rice babies” would look like, except that they’re probably mushy and really gross. But you will want to marry me for giving you this recipe. But I can’t marry you. I’m married to my work. Also, my wife. Also, I’m having an affair with a cup of fried rice. You shut up. Don’t you judge me.
*whispers to the cup of fried rice, it’s okay, baby, it’s okay, shhh*
And yes, I know that picture up there is of a pea pod and not of fried rice, but whatever. I tried taking a nice photo of fried rice and it doesn’t look nice, because fried rice isn’t a nice-looking dish. It tastes great, but it looks like, you know, food garbage.
I AM TIRED OF YOUR JUDGEY-FACED JUDGEYNESS.
*stares so hard, eyes begin to dry out like grapes gone to raisins*
Yes, we can now begin the recipe.
In Hawaii, many breakfast places serve breakfast options that are not traditional here in the Upper 48. The loco moco, for instance, is a miracle health food, and by “health food,” I mean “food that will lodge itself in your heart and, provided that it does not kill you with a massive myocardial infarction, will provide you with a steady stream of nutrients for at least 60 days.” The loco moco is: a bowl of rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with an egg, topped with brown gravy because hey why the fuck not just dump some gravy on it. It is delicious. I was in Maui in November and I still have a loco moco clogging my aorta right now.
Another thing you might get on Hawaii for breakfast is:
(For triple death points, you can get a loco moco made with fried rice.)
As such, I have brought that tradition home with me, and sometimes I make fried rice for breakfast. It is a surprisingly warm and comforting start to the day — the food equivalent of a cozy Christmas sweater. Except now I’m imagining eating a sweater? Which is not appetizing at all, is it? I am not very good at this writing thing, I apologize.
POINT IS, IT’S FUCKING SCRUMPTIOUS.
My family loves it. And they’re not just saying that because of the trap doors underneath their chairs that trigger whenever they say anything negative about me or my food.
Here now, is how you make my version of breakfast fried rice.
First, you need some rice. And you need some old rice. I don’t mean that you need ancient, antediluvian rice. I don’t mean you need moldy rice stuffed in a dirty gym sock and left to ferment. I mean that you need to have cooked rice on hand, rice that has cooled all the way, where the starch has settled down, where its texture is firmer and ensures that your fried rice won’t be gummy, like you’re eating something that was pre-chewed. I either make the rice the night before, then pop it in the YETI CLOSET to cool down, or I just say fuck it and I used the rice from last night’s Chinese dinner. I like to use a quart (two pints) of rice, or maybe two cups if I’m making it here. And two cups of uncooked rice becomes around six cups of cooked rice, I guess because rice is basically some kind of wizard food.
Next up, you need the SAUCE. Except it’s not really sauce, because — well, I dunno, it doesn’t sauce the rice, it just blends in with it because each grain of rice is cooked. Whatever. Shut up. I’m not a chef. I don’t know the magical chef words like saucier and mirepoix and cocaine. Point is, you need some goddamn liquid to flavor the rice, and here is the liquid blend I make: two TBsp soy sauce, two TBsp fish sauce, one TBsp oyster sauce, two TBsp sherry vinegar. If you want it a little sweet, substitute hoisin for the oyster, or use a sweet balsamic vinegar instead of the sherry. Also add in: three garlic gloves, minced, and about an equal amount of ginger, also minced.
Sometimes I add in a splash of mirin, because I’m wacky like that.
WHISK IT. WHISK IT GOOD. /devo
Now it is time for
Okay, bacon is overused culinarily, I get it, but bacon — a good, smoky bacon — adds a nice layer of flavor, so clap your trap and get out four or five slices of bacon, chopped.
Put it in a pot, medium-high heat.
(Technically, a wok, but I don’t have a wok, I have a pot.)
Cook the bacon until its precious bacon essence begins to fill the room.
Then, as the bacon cooks (you don’t want it hella crispy, you just want it where it has begun to yield its unctuousness to the bottom of the pot), add in either one bigger onion or two smaller onions. Chopped, obviously, don’t just thunk it in there like it’s a fucking softball — do I need to tell you all this? God, you’re the worst. This is why I won’t marry you, I swear.
Now, it is time for the second meat.
And I want you to know, the second meat is Spam.
Yes, the pink quivering can-shaped ham-blob.
Yes, it is a canned meat.
No, it is not some kind of scrapple-based offal.
Yes, it might be a gelatinous cube from D&D.
Yes, it has enough sodium in it to mummify your internal organs.
AND YES, IT IS GODDAMN DELICIOUS.
Okay, listen, my Mom-Mom used to fry Spam in lard. It was stupidly, disgustingly amazing. I stopped eating Spam at one point because I became convinced it was something gross, as if it was just, I dunno, a can full of pulverized pig anuses or whatever, and hey, maybe it is. Though honestly, the can says it’s basically just ham made from pork shoulder, and it tastes mostly like ham, and also, did I mention it’s goddamn delicious? Sure, yes, you have to sometimes scrape off gelatin, and that can seem off-putting until you realize that gelatin is a natural byproduct. The gelatin makes it fancy! Just think of Spam as hillbilly terrine. Sidenote: my grandmother lived till she was 89, and she was tough as a brick wall. I credit the Spam in lard.
So, you need a can of Spam.
Just do it. Just go buy the Spam.
Put it in the mix with the bacon and the onion.
You can drain off some bacon fat at this point if you really want, or you can just leave it in there. I don’t care. I’m not your Mom. I don’t control what you do. I tried to control what you do but the bio-chip I inserted in your brain through your nose while you sleep is presently malfunctioning, and every time I push the reboot button, you pee yourself.
(Oh, uhh, yeah, P.S. I’m the reason you keep peeing yourself? Sorry.)
Lower heat maybe at this point? Medium heat.
Once that cooks down a little bit, I make a little room in the center of the pot, I scramble a couple of eggs, then I put them right in there. I scramble them real quick, then mix them up with the rest of the business.
Dump the rice in.
That’s all you do with it. Nothing more complicated than that. You don’t need to whisper secret entreaties to it, there are no safe words, no gentle caresses are required. Just dump it in there unceremoniously, as if it has offended you and you are discarding it, unloved and disregarded.
I like to let the rice settle for a couple minutes, till it starts to stick a little to the bottom of the pot — not burned, not exactly, but so some of it starts to get crispy.
Then: dump in your liquid.
No, not your pee, GOD, YOU’RE SO GROSS AND WEIRD —
I mean the soy sauce business. With the garlic and the other stuff.
Get it in there, mix it around, use a hard metal device (not a sex toy or a hunting knife) to scrape up the rice bits from the bottom so it’s all starting to incorporate.
Now, you’re saying, CHUCK, WHERE ARE THE VEGETABLES.
I NEED HEALTH, CHUCK. I’M DYING. WE’RE ALL DYING. SCURVY IS RAMPANT.
And I answer: THE VEGETABLES WERE IN YOU ALL ALONG.
Then your heart glows gold and your chest opens up and maaaaagical vegetables fly out, and they sing a hymn to your greatness. Also, I may have dropped acid. Or maybe you dropped acid. Did we both drop acid? What a coinkydink.
Okay, you also need to add some real vegetables into the mix, and here’s where it gets pretty nicely customizable: you can add in whatever goddamn vegetables you want. Frozen is fine. Leftovers are great. Get cuckoo with it. I tend to like to add in a mix of frozen peas and corn. Carrots, too, though if I don’t have frozen, I’ll grate fresh carrot into the mix. If you want some greens, add in spinach. Or some pre-cooked broccoli. I don’t care what you put in there. It’s your fried rice. Mix in some kiwi fruit and marbles. Elk teeth and crickets. Don’t care. It’s your food. I’m not the one who has to eat it afterward.
Again, I let that go a little while until the vegetables are nice and green but have not yet lost that brightness and color. Now, it is time for the finishing touches.
First, take either some unrefined coconut oil (it must be unrefined, like a dockworker) or some sesame oil, and mix it around. The coconut will lend an almost-sweetness. The sesame oil will lend a sesame-ness. Or you could just use motor oil, but I’m pretty sure that’s poisonous.
Second, some chopped scallions are nice. Or cilantro. Or bean sprouts.
Finally, I then fry up an egg or two — sunny side up — and pop it on top of each bowl.
And that’s it.
That’s all she wrote.
I don’t know who “she” is but literally, that’s all she wrote.
What now? Shut up and eat it, I guess.
AND THEN THANK ME IN THE FORM OF CASH AND ADORATION.
*waits for cash*
*waits for adoration*