Chicken Fried Rice

Many times I have been questioned about the reason I started my blog. Well, the answer is simple. In the years 2008 and 2009, some of my friends moved to different parts of the country and the world, and they wanted to cook meals which would remind them of home, but should be quick too. I used to send them advice, and then, as the numbers grew, I made a list called the Noncooks and Cantcooks. Naturally, this list grew too, till I realized, I needed to just write stuff down and point people towards it.

Hence, Presented by P was created.

I have some good news about it, which I would like to share here. The blog was a dot com for the last year or so, which meant, if anyone typed, it would be redirected to the blogspot address. But now, it will be moving away from blogger entirely, and would have some changes, which shall be revealed soon, I hope. I never thought that I would take up full-time blogging, but, I have realized over the last year, that I have taken it up, and it does make me feel much better about pursuing what I like doing best – being me. And yes, the new blog will have more categories, and more stories to share.

I am going to share one of my favorite leftover recipes today. It is a quick chicken fried rice recipe – with leftover rice, chicken and vegetables. I used a handful of greens here – mainly some spinach and some kolmi shaak. Feel free to use your favorite green into it. I have seen my mother make a killer fried rice with laal shaak, or red spinach, and yes, it was superb, albeit stained red from the red spinach. The recipe actually has very few components, and is perfect when you have leftovers you want to turn into dinner. As this is intended to clean up the fridge, I would say, sky is the limit, throw in whatever protein you like and whatever vegetable that floats your boat. Just remember, if its too tough to eat, cook it first.

End of advice.

Quick one pot meal

Heat a large wok or pan with a considerable amount of surface area. The key here is the surface area – you will be cooking and tossing things in high heat, so you need space. I used my largest frying pan, and it worked like a charm. Grease it well. I use a paper napkin soaked in oil to smear oil all over the pan, before adding an additional tablespoon of oil in it.

As the oil shimmers, throw in a large clove of garlic and 2 tablespoon of finely chopped onion. At this point, shred your cooked chicken. I used the chicken leftover from the previous night’s Chilli Chicken, but feel free to use your own favorite protein here – prawns, or pieces of cooked pork, or strips of mushrooms, diced carrot, peas, and broccoli florets if you are a vegetarian. The key is to move things about and sear them up slightly. I generally blanch whichever vegetable I am adding for about 30-40 seconds before adding them.

As soon as the chicken sears (toss for 2-3 minutes), add a handful of greens and about a cup of cooked rice. Don’t have to be elegant here, and if you want to be healthy, add more vegetables. I don’t like much vegetables in my fried rice – I always feel it hampers the flavors, so I keep to three at a max.

Stir everything once, and toss vigorously. Add about 2 teaspoons (or less, depending on your taste buds) light soy sauce (the dark stuff makes everything look nasty and dark, and if you really want to use it, just mix 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce with a tablespoon of water and a teaspoon of vinegar before adding it to your rice. At this point, you can also add a pinch of sugar, a large pinch of pepper, and a pinch of MSG.

Yes, I said MSG.

Yes, I eat it.

No, I haven’t died yet, I use MSG sparingly while cooking, and it tastes great, so I see no point in not adding it. If you are an MSG hater, and you want to tell me all about the ill-effects of it, believe me, I know much more than you do about the subject, and I shall still consume it, so there!

Add salt to taste. Remember, your chicken had some salt in it, the soy sauce has some salt in it too. So be cautious while adding salt, and preferably, taste before adding. Add a handful of chopped spring onion greens if you have them handy, stir briskly again, and serve immediately.

I did not have those spring onion greens. And in the end, in the photo, the chicken fried rice looked much more yellow in the plate than it did in reality. The reality looks the way it does in the pan. Just clarifying, you know.

Leftover chicken fried rice 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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