At my mother’s request and despite a lack of photographic evidence of its awesomeness, here is a recipe for one of my favorite meals. You’ll just have to take my word (and Mom’s) that it is scrumdiddlyumptious.
Fried Rice with Shrimp and Snow Peas
You will need the following:
Oil (I use sesame, but you could use canola or vegetable or something else if you prefer.)
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp chopped lemongrass
3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp Thai chile
1 cup snow peas
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
3 Tbsp soy sauce
scallions and limes for garnish
Now before I give you the instructions for compiling this dish, here’s the caveat. (Jen trivia: I can never remember how to pronounce that word. It makes me feel kind of dumb.) I don’t follow this recipe exactly as Martha Stewart originally outlined it. Gasp, right? But honestly, after having made it a few times, I’ve learned a few things which I think Martha should have considered. Here are the tips I’ve added to my recipe card (with some added explanations, since you can’t read my mind like I can):
1) Garnish is totally superfluous. I didn’t even know what a scallion was when I set out to make this the first time, and I have only included them once. Personally, I don’t think they make a huge difference. The limes…they give it a little kick but not a necessary one.
2) Cut the tails off the shrimp before you cook them. You’re not going to eat them anyway, so why bother waiting?
3) Don’t skimp on the ginger. Trust me on this one. And while you also don’t want to skimp on the Thai chile, you probably don’t want to overdo it either. Use that with caution.
4) Fresh ingredients aren’t always necessary. Martha says to use fresh everything. I disagree. While fresh shrimp (or recently defrosted shrimp, anyway), ginger, and peas are a must, I prefer to use bottled garlic, chile paste, and lemongrass. That way I don’t have to hit Whole Foods or the Asian market down in Chandler every time I want to make this. One little bottle of Thai chile paste has lasted us ages.
5) Use the soy sauce sparingly. I’m not a huge fan, but I find it does provide something (maybe salt?) that the dish requires. So I guess add it to your taste.
6) Old rice works best. Freshly cooked rice is very sticky, but after it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day, it’s dryer and fries up a lot nicer. Make extra for another meal and set it aside, or just make some at breakfast and save it till dinner. Whatever works for you.
7) Woks are awesome. If you don’t have one, you should acquire one asap. This one isn’t actually written on the card, but it’s worth mentioning.
With all that out of the way, here’s how it all goes down.
First, coat the wok with sesame oil and scramble the eggs. Set them aside.
Next, coat the wok with oil again, heat it, and sear the shrimp in hot oil. Set them aside as well.
In more oil, cook the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and chile for about a minute. Add the shrimp and cook them all the way through. Add the peas and cook (stirring/tossing constantly) until they are bright green.
Aside: I understand that snow peas are inherently bright green. I thought this was kind of a dumb statement, “cook until bright green.” But really, they do get bright green. Brighter than usual. It’s kind of cool. So watch for that. It happens pretty quick.
Stir in the rice and heat it through. Add the soy sauce and stir until the rice is coated well. Toss in the scrambled eggs you set aside a while ago. Serve immediately, garnished with scallions and lime juice if that’s how you roll. (I don’t, but I’m lazy.)
Along with the fried rice, we also like to have homemade egg rolls, which are super easy.
Grate a couple carrots, shred some cabbage, and chop some ginger. Amounts are up to your discretion. Toss everything together with a small amount of sesame oil and soy sauce. Roll up the mixture in egg roll wrappers (you can find them in a refrigerated aisle of the grocery store; they’re near the produce in Safeway) and fry in hot oil. Drain on paper towels before serving.
Ta da! A super easy meal that is good enough to satisfy my hungry husband and impress my mother. Not that they’re super picky, but we try to celebrate the little victories around here.
(You’re welcome, Mom. Hope the missionaries like it!)