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Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Melting-pot Fried Rice

It seems a little strange to be thinking about fake-aways on a Sunday morning but here we are… I’m feeling a little fatter after last night’s ham fried rice and the kitchen still smells like a Chinese restaurant but here we are…
 
And then it’s going to be quiche for lunch today and that looks like a bit of a mission when I’d rather be reclined in the garden with a mojito but here we are…
 
OK, enough of that. What’s the craic and all? Everything going swimmingly? Happy days.
 
That ham fried rice you can see a la pictures arrived via a strange twist of convoluted fate, which is to say, entirely by coincidence.
By definition, fried rice is inherently Asian in origin and a great many of us enjoy Chinese  fried rice on a regular basis, although the quality is sometimes debatable. This one though, Michael’s multi-national fried rice is Chinese, Australian, Polish and Scottish – a veritable melting pot of nationalities – and it’s deadly.
 
The genesis of this recipe began when I watched Nat from Nat’s What I Reckon fame doing a similar ham-based dish on his Facebook page / Youtube channel.
 
“Struth,” says I to meself, in me best ‘Stralian accent “That looks like good gear, eh.”
 
Nat though, was using Speck in his recipe which, according to my memory-banks, is a South Tyrolean delicacy. But whatever the case, I couldn’t get any and that’s why I ended up buying Krakus smoked ham instead. 
 
For those of you in the know, Krakus is a Polish company which produces the most amazing kabanos, which is how I came to know about them. If you enjoy things like a Peperami from time to time, try Krakus’s kabanos – they’re another level. Anyway…
 
I had all my ingredients excepting the Speck but the Krakus smoked ham turned out to be a perfect replacement. My thinking was: Fried rice is so heavily flavoured the subtitles of the Speak would have been lost anyway. Anyway…
 
So we had Nat’s Australian recipe for a Chinese dish, a classic Polish ingredient and a Scot pulling it all together. What could go wrong? As it happens, quite a bit if the Scot happens to be a greedy bugger and he ends up eating half of the ham before he starts cooking. 
 
Neither did it help that the Scot in question is a clumsy fool and he managed to knock over the remaining ham into the floor whereupon the dog fell to it like a hairy ninja. Good thing there was more in the fridge, eh.
 
I don’t think the Scot has ever eaten fried rice sober and he wasn’t about to change the habit of a life-time on Saturday. The key when cooking semi-inebriated, he reckons anyway, is to lay out all of the ingredients before you start because when the fried rice starts, it’s over very quickly. If everything’s to hand, it’s easier to grab and fire in.
 
I’ve just re-read what I’ve written and I do apologise if all of this sounds a little ramble-y. I blame the Scot. Maybe he’s still half-cut from last night. Who knows.
 
I should also mention that I use microwave rice when I’m making this dish. If you want to precook your own rice and let it cool, then be my pedantic guest. Nat pre-cooks his but then again, he’s not a fan of anything what comes in packets. Not one little bit of a fan.
 
Anyway, if you’re after some epic ham fried rice of a Saturday night when your sozzled tastebuds are telling you nothing else will do, this 
 
is just the ticket. Even a jarred Scot can pull it together, so it can’t be THAT hard.
 
INGREDIENTS (feeds two)
• 1 tbsp of sesame oil
• 1 tbsp of chilli oil
• as much cubed Krakus ham as you can hold in one hand (about 150gs)
• 1 carrot, chopped small
• 2 shallots, choppity-chopped any which way
• 2 or 3 big cloves of garlic, sliced
• 2 chilli peppers, chopped
• 1 pack of microwave long-grain rice (don’t tell Nat)
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 1 heaped tbsp of oyster sauce
• 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
• half a cup of peas, frozen but cooked
• 1 big spring onion, chopped
torn coriander (optional)
• another drip or 2 or sesame oil
 
THE PLAN
Easy-peasy… Start by adding the sesame and chilli oils to a large frying pan and then fry up the ham for a few minutes until going crispy. It should smell scha-mazing.
Dump in the carrot, shallots, garlic and one of the chopped chillies and fry away for a few minutes until the carrots are starting to soften. About two mins? The Scot doesn’t know for sure.
Dump in the rice and fry for approx 2-3 mins, stirring away as you go. Dump in the whisked eggs and quickly stir through (these will cook in a flash).
Dump in the oyster and the soy sauces and stir through.
Lastly, add the peas and stir for a few seconds to heat through. Check the seasoning and if you think it needs a touch, add another few drops of soy.
Divide into bowls and top with the spring onions and the other chopped chilli and if you’re using, the torn coriander. Personally, I’d also be adding a few drops of sesame oil at the end too, for aromatic purposes.
Hear yer man, “aromatic purposes. His head’s away.”
And there you have it, folks: Australian, Polish, Chinese and Scottish fried rice.
To borrow a phrase from Tony the Tiger, it’s grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! Now about that mojito in the garden…

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