Cook the perfect fried rice with these cookbooks—even Uncle Roger cannot complain. Much.
Who doesn't love a good plate of fried rice? Whether it's one that you bought from your favourite zi char or restaurant; or something that's whipped up at home, nothing hits the spot like a good plate of fried rice.
Recently, fried rice has blown up all over the Internet, thanks to comedian—and now fried rice hero—Uncle Roger, who famously called out people who apparently couldn't prepare this simple dish properly—not even Jamie Oliver.
But if you really want to make fried rice that can won't make Uncle Roger go "haiyah"and use up all the leftovers in the fridge (don't waste food—one in seven children doesn't have enough to eat, you know); take your cue from these cookbooks. They not only have your standard fried rice (and variants) but there are other interesting dishes you can try at home, too.
We're almost sure Uncle Roger won't complain. Much.
Chinese Fried Rice (from The New Mrs Lee's Cookbook). This dish is taken from the very popular cookbook by Mrs Lee Chin Koon, the grandma of chef Shermay Lee, which was originally published in 1974. That the book has stood the test of time and picked up accolades like Best Cookbook Award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, is surely testament to the recipes featured.
What's interesting about this one is the suggested condiments: garlic chilli and/or ketchup. But don't go calling Uncle Roger just yet, ketchup figures in Hong Kong fried rice and Japanese omurice as well, so there is precedent for that. Otherwise, it's a simple recipe that beginners can try at home.
Fried Rice/Chow Farn (from Madam Choy's Cantonese Recipes) and
Ah Ma's Fried Rice (from Uncle Anthony's Hokkien Recipes). Two slightly different recipes from the heritage cookbook You can tell Madam Choy's recipe is proper a hand-me-down recipe, if only because the instructions rely on approximations (in the introduction, the author actually says, "the measurements in these recipes are just a guide" adding that you should 'adjust the seasoning to your liking" as you go along).
Meanwhile, Uncle Anthony's recipe is, like Madam Choy's, as simple as they come. One key difference is that while Madam Choy's features prawns and lup cheong (dried Chinese sausage) as the meat ingredients and the ubiquitous soya sauce (dark and light), Uncle Anthony only includes the lup cheong (or guan chang in Hokkien) and opts for oyster sauce instead. Also, for timekeepers, his recipe can be cooked in about 11 minutes.
Chilli Crab Fried Rice (from Mum's Not Cooking). For this recipe, author Denise Fletcher doesn't mince her words (or the crab, as it turns out): "You could get canned or frozen crab meat for this but I must honestly tell you that both are usually terribly disappointing, while fresh crab is shockingly expensive (and) too much of a bother." Her solution? Get crab flavoured surimi (aka crab sticks). Denise says better quality surimi crab sticks are quite a decent substitute—plus you don't get the "expense, bother and crabicide associated anguish". What's not to like?
(PS: even more fried rice variants pop up in Denise's new book, How to Cook Everything Singaporean, which is currently available on pre-order.)
Bee Hoon Goreng (from Never Leave Home Without Your Chilli Sauce). We know what you're going to say: "bee hoon is not rice!" True. However, one could argue that bee hoon, aka rice vermicelli, is made from rice flour, which is made from ... (drumroll please) rice!
Another confession: this book isn't really a cookbook per se. It's a memoir of sorts by Singapore Woman Hall of Famer and "mother of civil society" Constance Singam. However, she punctuates her chapters with recipes that would make your stomach growl. Her bee hoon goreng recipe is meant to serve 10 to 15 people, so if you're in a generous mood you could make this for your neighbours. Think of it as your good deed for these Covid times.