Fried Rice with Peppers +

I know a did a previous blog post a while ago on egg fried rice with some broccoli and sweetcorn, but I really couldn’t resist doing another post with some colourful veg! This time I used peppers and also added a few other things to make it a wonderfully warming winter meal that you can make in no time at all.

First I prepared the colour array of peppers by slicing them into quite thin strips (similar to julienne prep) and then turning then and cutting again almost into small cubes. This way they hardly need any cooking and will still retain a crunch providing some contrast to the rice.

Rainbow peppers

Now onto the actual cooking. I added a few finely chopped shallots into a hot oiled pan just to give a bit more flavour. After a while, add in the cold rice to warm through and allow it to become a bit crisp. Make sure you break up any large chunks and turn it in the pan. I also added in some fresh root ginger (chopped as small as you can, and also slightly crushed) to the pan. Recently I have really been loving the smell and taste of ginger and find it really gives a warming sensation to the rice (I think it’s also good for colds as clears your sinuses etc.).

Then to the eggs. I like to make a ‘hole’ in the middle of the pan and crack the egg into here. Then gradually half scramble/mix the rice gradually so that it is distributed throughout.

Fried rice with a funny looking egg

When the rice is nearly ready, I added in the colourful peppers for a few minutes to warm up. Switch off the cooker and drizzle a little soy sauce at this point if you have any to spare – it gives a wonderful seasoning. And there you have it!

Egg fried rice with multi-coloured peppers

Simple noodles and veg for dinner.

My mother is a superb cook, I only wish that some of her instinctive skill had rubbed off on me. I remember sitting on the kitchen work-top when I was much younger and watching her cook as well as helping her make delicious dumplings, oh if only I had the freedom of time now! She is Oriental and cooks fabulous meals from the most basic ingredients – her simple and lightly-flavoured Chinese cooking is characteristic of the region she grew up in as opposed to some of the very strong flavours favoured (that’s a tongue-twister!) by other regions. My palate is used to this style of cooking as I have been brought up in it, and I think it works best for everyday home cooking – it’s healthy, simple, and quick. However despite this I am not really used to cooking Chinese food, I find the eating part suits me better. I think the ultimate comfort food for me is just a steaming bowl of rice really. That’s how easy I am to please. Anyway, my skills do exist beyond opening a pack of ‘gong-zai mian’ (Cantonese for ‘doll/toy noodles – aptly named after the famous ‘Nissin’ brand noodles which have a little cartoon person on them), even if only just.

Although I do love these instant noodles very occasionally…

Tonight I used shrimp-flavoured noodles instead. You can get these easily in any Chinese/Oriental supermarket (we go to Wing-Yip which has EVERYTHING, I didn’t even realise they also have a new online store too in case you don’t live by one). They are quick and easy to cook (about 10-15 minutes in boiling water) and have a gentle shrimpy/prawny taste which is less bland than plain noodles.

Anyway, before cooking the actual noodles, I first chopped up some broccoli and put it into the pan of water first. If you chop them relatively small, it cooks much faster and so after about 10 minutes you can put the noodles into the same pan. I also sliced some baby sweetcorn and cut up some leftover roast pork. You can basically add any vegetables or meat that you have in your fridge really and it makes a decent meal.

After about 20 minutes of total cooking time, remove the broccoli and noodles from the pan. Meanwhile heat another pan and pour a few teaspoons of oil into it when hot. Stir in your meat and vegetables and fry for about 5-8 minutes. You can also add a little bit of chicken/beef stock (about 10ml) before seasoning to taste. Serve on top of the noodles and stir in with a light drizzle of soy sauce.

Ta da! (Sometimes I also add a fried egg on top). A really quick easy meal ready in less than half an hour.