To post this is easy! I just love the name. Louis decided he’d show me how to cook one of his favourite dishes. It’s a tradition in his family, and really, just a southern Chinese version of the ubiquitous fried rice. And how did it get its name? It’s so tasty, even a “slap in the face” won’t stop you eating it!
In the north of China, they’d have it as a noodle dish, but the south is all about rice. When I took my mum to Beijing in 1985, the variety of regional dishes was staggering, and I still remember eating Szechuan Chicken with silver chopsticks at the top of the Sheraton Great Wall Hotel. It was incredible, fresh peppercorns flavoured and perfumed the chicken. I still remember the taste.
We rode the lift with Deng Xiao Ping, whose body guard tried to push us out, but Deng kindly let us in, smiled at my mother, and we sailed to the top. The full story is in my book, Theatre of War, just one of the many incredible encounters that seem to have peppered my peripatetic life.
Cooked rice. The best method I’ve found to cook rice is to put a heap of rice in a saucepan (but no more than 1/3 full), then cold water over it to cover – up to the first knuckle of your pointer finger above the rice. Add salt if you wish. Then bring to the boil, when it’s boiling, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn off the heat, and let the pot sit and steam for about 10-15 minutes.
Voilà! You have perfect rice, which when it’s cold, I clump the rice in palm sized portions, wrap in cling wrap and freeze, so you always have individual portions of rice on hand. If you wish, you can rinse the rice first to get rid of the starch. I rarely bother, but the Japanese rinse five times as routine. I learnt this technique in Japan, and it just makes so much sense!
For 2 cups of cooked rice, you need about:
200 grams green prawns, peeled and chopped, reserving the heads
1 egg yolk, whisked (if you can find the traditional fermented egg yolk, go for it!)
1 egg, whisked
1 Chinese pork sausage, sliced
Soy or Oyster Sauce if you like sauce, like Manu!
Japanese rice seasoning (optional)
Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick, heavy bottomed frying pan or wok. Put the prawn heads in the oil and cook, pressing down on them heavily to squeeze as much flavour out as you can. Remove the shells. Add the egg yolk, vegies, sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the sausage and prawn meat. Stir well, add the rice, and stir for about 3 minutes to heat through.
Pour the raw whole whisked egg into the pan, and stir through until cooked all together. Add the rice seasoning if you wish, and the sauces if you like.
Some chopped spring onions and sliced red chilli on top is great when you serve. Bean sprouts also add crunch and freshness. This is one of those dishes that every family makes their own, and you can too. So quick and easy. Enjoy!
Do you look for quick easy recipes, dear readers? I hope this recipe becomes a favourite with you like it has with me!