This week I’ve been thumbing through another cookbook, formerly lost on my bookshelves. I received it several years ago as a gift and remember reading through it at the time. I’m not sure why it never clicked with me back then, but this week I’ve been intrigued by quite a few of its recipes. Written by Ken Hom of PBS/BBC series called “Great Food”, Travels with a Hot Wok explores Asian fusion cooking.
Although the book has a few editorial issues (many incorrect page number references), it does deliver many interesting dishes like Broiled Asian Crepinettes, Malaysian-inspired Vegetable Pancakes, and Crackling Rice-Paper-Wrapped Fish. Published in 2000, you can buy slightly used copies for a mere dollar or two via Amazon.
I’ve earmarked several pages and decided to make this one last night for dinner. It’s one of a few recipes in the book which did not have a picture, so my curiousity got the best of me. The recipe is packed with a variety of savory items and is cooked in a fried-rice style.
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 lb. onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
6 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (green onions)
2 green chilies seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
2 1/2 cups water
Using the rice and water, prepare rice either in a steamer or on the stovetop. Ken recommends preparing the rice at least 2 hours before it is needed or even the night before. When making a fried rice like this, it’s best if the rice has had time to cool and firm up a bit, so it doesn’t turn to mush. I prepared mine in a rice cooker and used it within 45 minutes.
This dish comes together quickly once you begin cooking. Begin by prepping all of your ingredients. I used one small bowl for my spices and a larger bowl for all of the chopped items.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until hot. Add oil. Once it begins to smoke add the onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, chilies, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add rice and stir-fry for 5 minutes longer. Toss in cilantro and serve.
The rice can be served hot and works nicely with grilled meat. If allowed to cool, the rice makes for a wonderful cold salad as well.
We enjoyed this dish quite a bit, Joe told me several times how much he liked it. The rice is visually appealing with the contrast of white rice against the vibrant green of onions, peppers, and cilantro. Although it may appear subtle, the flavor is strong and savory. My taste buds tingled as the first bite passed my lips. Garlic, onions, shallots … slightly mellowed by the addition of sugar. The cilantro added a bit of brightness to the overall dish.
Tonight, we will be having the green rice leftovers but I expect it to taste even better now that the flavors have had a chance to further lock themselves into the rice.