Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pork fried rice

Pork fried rice is a dish you can make from leftovers (like that too-big container of rice from the Chinese takeout), or you can make from scratch.  Either way, it's delicious and versatile.  I make a batch every other week or so and enjoy it for lunch, breakfast, whenever.

First, about the pork.  There are a few options you have: you can use bacon, pork belly (which is uncured bacon, and readily available in Asian supermarkets), pork shoulder (I buy thick slices of pork shoulder from the nearby Korean supermarket, and roast it with Korean bulgogi BBQ sauce), leftover pork chops or pork tenderloin, or country-style spare ribs that you've seasoned and roasted.  Or you can buy some BBQ pork at the Chinese restaurant next time you're there.  Wegman's always has it on their takeout bar, and I've used that a couple times.  It's very good. 

Second, about the rice.  For a reason I don't fully understand, you cannot use rice that has just been cooked and get a good result in the fried rice.  If you do, the fried rice ends up gummy.  Leftover rice is perfect.  I'll often cook rice the night before, and just let it sit in the covered pot overnight, then use it in the morning.

Use a large non-stick skillet for this, or, a wok. 

6-8 cups cooked long-grain rice, cooled to room temperature (2-2 1/2 cups uncooked rice)
2 cups cubed pork or 8 strips thick-cut bacon
3 eggs
5-6 scallions, chopped
1-2 Tbp soy sauce
1 Tbp toasted sesame oil
Peanut or corn oil, as necessary

If you're using bacon, cut it up into small pieces and fry until the pieces are well browned but not fully crisp.  Remove from the fat and set aside.  Leave the bacon fat in the pan.  If you're using leftover or takeout pork, drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil into a hot pan.

Scramble the eggs and cook quickly.  Remove and set aside.  Break up the curds with a fork.

Add more oil as necessary, and add the white parts of the chopped scallion.  Sauté for a minute.  Add the cooked rice, and stir well, coating it with the oil. 

Drizzle in the soy sauce and the sesame oil.  Note well: you will probably use less soy than you would imagine.  Careful not to add too much – the fried rice becomes a muddy mess in flavor and appearance if you do. 

Add in the pork or cooked bacon.  Continue to stir-fry the rice.  Some browning will occur, which is good. 

Add back the eggs and the green part of the scallion.  Give the mixture a couple good stirs, and it's done. 

Serve immediately, or let cool, and refrigerate for later.