Friday, January 18, 2008

CSA week seven - pan-Pacific fried rice

a.k.a. cleaning out the refrigerator.

So I had the leftover negimaki, about half of the hon tsai tai (I used the rest in a dish halfway between the cavatelli with greens recipe and ham, eggs and greens recipe I've written up before. It didn't seem distinct enough to give its own post) the avocado and a good bit of leftover rice I'd accumulated over the course of the week. Looking around on-line, the only avocado fried rice recipe I saw was from the hardly-objective folks at, but there are plenty of Japanese dishes that match avocado with soy sauce and non-fried rice so I figured it was worth a shot. I added some shrimp and egg and hot peppers as all of those turned up in both the recipe and the more legitimate ones. A lot of them used lemon too, so I figured the lemongrass would work OK. I wanted to add some more heat and some vinegar as avocado goes nicely with those flavors both in Mexico and Japan so I made some more teriyaki sauce and dosed it with a whole lot of vinegar-based hot sauce. And I added some sliced water chestnuts and bamboo shoots because I had some to get rid of and it's fried rice and those always end up in fried rice.

I used the standard fried rice methodology.

I heated a tablespoon of oil to smoking in a cast iron pan and stir fried the rice until it rejuvenated, mixed in just enough sauce to plump the rice up again and give it a bit of color and removed it to a bowl. Then I heated a bit more oil, stir fried the spices and tougher vegetables for a minute, added the medium-tough vegetables, stir fried for another minute, added the pre-cooked ingredients and the shrimp, stir fried briefly, added some more sauce and some chicken stock, let it reduce a little, returned the rice, folded it together until the sauce was absorbed/evaporated, and finally stirred in the delicate ingredients--in this case the egg (pre-scrambled) and the avocado.

The end result wasn't nearly the fiasco you'd expect. It was actually not bad at all. Not good at all either, but not bad. The avocado really doesn't add anything, but it's not weirdly out of place. The lemongrass didn't really hold up against the other flavors so I did have to garnish with a squeeze of lemon.

If you were thinking of trying something like this, I'd recommend considering your sauce a bit more carefully than I did. Using cilantro, lime and hot pepper to bridge Mexican and Thai flavors seems a plausible possibility.

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