Guys I’m not kidding. You see. Every time I prepare posts to be published when I am away, they all turn out to be some kind of everything-must-go-fire-sale for the fridge. Well, an Asian’s fridge at least… to rid of some leftover rice, some ground meat and aromatics that are going to sprout while I was away. Because pre-departure meal is but a solution, right? But this is MORE than a solution. In fact it’s so unbelievably great it may cause you troubles.
I for one don’t know anyone who hates fried rice. Do you? It’s the perfect combination of yummy and convenience. But I am slightly reluctant to reduce this down to the crudeness the name suggests. This fried rice is a twisted abomination, a perverted conclusion based on bits and pieces of inspirations rooted in my brain over the years. Some footage from a travel show that introduced me to curry fried rice topped with an egg yolk that was oozing into the rice and made it risotto-like. A glistening picture from an advertisement pamphlet that featured a bowl of shiny and pearly, perfectly-fried rice with a big nub of butter ever-so-sexy-ly melting in the heat and ahhh… A sprouting of Jean George’s ginger fried rice across the blog-scape had me thinking that some crispy garlic and ginger on top wouldn’t hurt the awesomeness one bit.
Ladies and gentlemen, as always when things sound too good to be bad – it usually isn’t. This will reverse your typical habit of thinking as you will no longer see it as a solution to leftover rice. Instead, making and ordering more rice than you can eat would be a solution to the craving of this. The already mouth-watering rice as it is fried with impossibly pungent Japanese curry and a little secret (shhh… coco powder…) spice, showered with crispy garlic and ginger then as if that’s not enough, topped with a golden egg yolk to bring it all together. THEN. THEN. A CRAZY nub of butter dumped on top to be melted from top down… YOU GET ME?! NOT a solution! Not even CLOSE! Trouble all the way…
Servings: 2 large servings or 4 small ones
The success of a good fried rice starts with… well good cooked rice. An over-cooked and wet bowl of rice will never, NEVER, EVER! turn into perfect fried rice doesn’t matter how skillful you are in the kitchen. Whether it’s long-grain jasmine rice (more typical in Thailand or Hong Kong) or short-grain variety (typical in China, Taiwan Korea and Japan, which is what’s used here), the way to tell is that the grains need to be able to separate in your mouth when chewing. If they all stick together and eat like a dough, then they are definitely over-cooked or overly wet. The rule of thumb is the ratio of rice : water is 1:1. Long-grain variety may need a tad bit more water but practice makes perfect.
OK, the precise amount of butter you let melt on top will define you as either a leftist – the kind who always buys one-size smaller in the hopes of fitting in someday, or the rightest – the kind who always buys one-size bigger just in case pleasure comes knocking. I think 1 tsp puts me at the kind who always buys the right size.
Ingredients: * the ingredients are listed in the order the dish is prepared
- 250 g of ground beef
- 1 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch
- 2 tbsp of ginger
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of oil
- 1/2 large onion, yellow or red
- 1 tbsp of curry powder
- 725 g (approx 5~6 cups) of cooked rice, preferably overnight
- 112 g (approx 4~6 pieces depending on size) of Japanese curry bricks (I like to combine 2 different types, one spicy and one sweet)
- 3/4 tbsp of coco powder
- 1 tsp of dashi granule
- 1/3 tsp of black pepper
- Raw egg yolks to top (optional)
- Unsalted butter to top (not optional….), 1 tsp or more for each small rice bowl
Evenly mix ground beef with soy sauce and corn starch. Set aside.
In a food processor (you can do this by hand of course), pulse ginger and garlic until finely minced. Divide 1/3 of the amount in a bowl, 2/3 of it in a small sauce pot. Then pulse the onion until finely chopped as well. Set aside. In the sauce pot with 2/3 of the minced garlic and ginger, add 1/2 cup of oil and set on medium heat. Fry the ginger and garlic until golden brown. Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. This has to happen slowly otherwise the edges would get burnt before it turns crispy, approx 7~10 min. The second it turns golden brown (one minute longer they will burn and become bitter), drain them through a fine sieve and leave on a paper towel. Reserve the oil.
In a wok or skillet, heat up 4 tbsp of the ginger/garlic oil on high heat. Saute the chopped onion until the edges are browned. Add the ground beef and saute until nicely browned as well. The browning of the onion and beef is IMPORTANT in developing a deep rich flavor so take your time. Now add the 1/3 of the minced ginger, garlic and curry powder, and saute until fragrant. Add the cooked rice at this point. With 2 spatulas, press and turn the rice so that every grain is separated and coated in oil and curry powder. Microwave the Japanese curry bricks in a bowl until melted, approx 1 minute on high. Add the melted curry to the rice along with the coco powder, dashi granule and black pepper. Turn and flip with 2 spatulas until every rice is evenly coated.
To serve, add the crispy garlic and ginger on top. Add 1 egg yolk in the middle and a nub of unsalted butter to melt.