• Karine Wlasichuk

Fried Rice & French Wine

The very first time I even heard of the concept of fried rice was in Hawaii, at a Japanese restaurant. You know, one of those you saw in The Office when Michael was trying to get over Carole? 98% of you got it, I can guarantee that. So yes, right off the coast of Honolulu, after a few (I have no idea what I drank 5 years ago, but I definitely did not have the same ferocious love I currently have for red wine), I witnessed a chef chop eggs as if they were karate boards and then throw them into rice, drizzle up some oil and a dash of scallions. It was magical and a very smart idea. I then noticed my father doing the same when he got back home (a great way to enjoy a gluten-free, dairy-free creamy starch dish by the way) and I thought I would definitely get on the bandwagon when my fridge had nothing left but spinach and eggs. Which happened this week, with the exception of scallions and mushrooms. So here is what I came up with. A ground chicken, sesame, mushrooms and spinach fried rice (okay it also had green peas but it was getting a little intense title-wise). Repeat and enjoy!

In terms of portions, this was enough for 2 dinner portions, one to-go lunch and many, many leftovers stored away in a giant Tupperware. I had at least 4 lunches out of it afterwards- I topped it with fresh avocados and extra crunchy red onions, it was sublime! Examples at the very bottom!

You will need,

Cremini mushrooms (10-12, thinly sliced)

Sesame oil (5 tbsp)

Spinach (2-3 handfuls)

Eggs (2, whisked)

Scallions (4, thinly sliced)

Garlic (4 cloves, minced)

Chili oil (To your taste, the more the merrier!)

Ginger powder (3 tbsp)

Soy Sauce (5 tbsp)

Rice of your choice (3 cups, cooked)

Ground chicken (1 lbs)

Green peas (3/4 cup)

A few simple steps,

1. According to the Food Network, this is the very step*: Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a well-seasoned wok or large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat the pan. Pour in the eggs, swirl the pan so the egg forms a large thin pancake. (Lift the edge of the egg to allow any uncooked egg to run to the centre.) As soon as the egg has set, turn it out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cool, cut into 1 inch pieces.

*Truth is, I prefer to throw everything together and add the eggs at the end, just like you would in a Carbonara recipe. So here I give you both options, in the latter case I believe the texture ends up being a little creamier which I prefer, and in the first options the eggs will be dryer and chopped, which some people like a lot more- the eggs will be visible, thicker ingredients. Try both and basically consider yourself a chef when you end up loving them equally.

1. Start by throwing the sesame oil, mushrooms, garlic and scallions together in a large pan over medium heat and stirring for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the chicken, soy sauce and ginger and stir until the chicken looks cooked (no longer, as you will keep adding ingredients and stirring for another few minutes and you don't want it to dry). I also sprinkled a dash of smoked paprika salt as I absolutely love that combo with Asian sauces.

3. Lower the heat.

4. Add peas and spinach and keep stirring until the spinach has wilted (I preheated the frozen peas in the microwave for 45 seconds beforehand).

5. Meanwhile, you want to make sure you started the rice which you cook according to the packaging instructions, then cover and keep warm until it is time to mix.

6. Time to mix! Add in the rice and stir.

7. Add the eggs (I would have even added a third to be honest) which you have whisked beforehand and mix well. Remove from heat once they are cooked and serve immediately (I sprinkled mine with sesame seeds- but what's new).

A pairing suggestion, just for the kicks.

I am no expert but I loved this one so much! So dense, dark and rich! I believe you can never go wrong with a Bordeaux. Again, no wine expert lingo over here- just a very, very tasty crop. I like my reds to have this almost iron, smoky taste?! And to think I collaborated with wineries/vineyards for my Instagram. Eek. Next time, drink all the wine after the presentation.

A leftover suggestion,

I must buy about 16 avocados weekly when they are on sale (not a joke, quite accurate actually as I buy them in bags) and when I do, they constitute 90% of my leftovers' garnish. Because guess what? Avocados are good with everything. The red onions add to the crunchiness of the meal, making it fresh and crisp once again! We all know some ingredients can get soggy after a trip to the fridge and then the microwave, so I salvage these ingredients by adding crunchy and newly-harvested ones in the mix, additional black pepper, smoked paprika and olive oil (just a dash)! Mix and enjoy.