To kick off this year’s column, I’ll start by sharing my own beloved recipe.
Now, I’ll be very honest with you all: I can’t actually cook. Well, that isn’t completely true: I can prepare a variety of salads. I can make a tasty set of garlic bread (yum), a rustic pizza (read: a bread with melted cheese and veggies on top), and a few other simple recipes.
You can go ahead and have a laugh, but I’m the type of person who’ll head to lectures with snacks, order pizza if there’s a study group, live off my mom’s hot meals, or just stare wistfully at food (beyond my budget) at Deerfield Hall. I still haven’t worked out why I love watching the Food Network (I’m looking at you, Cutthroat Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay—stop reeling me in with the intense competitions and those desserts!).
There is one meal that I am proud of, though: my chicken fried rice.
I remember preparing that meal specifically for a cooking competition in high school. My biology teacher had decided that the winning duo with the healthiest meal would get ice cream. I suppose it was a little counter-productive to reward the healthiest meal with junk food, but given that this was a high school in the middle of a desert—I lived in Saudi Arabia—it was definitely the best way to motivate a class of lazy high school students. My partner and I decided to prepare chicken fried rice, mainly because I adore fried rice and my partner could handle the chicken.
Now I wish I could say that we won the competition. But sadly, our meal was a tad salty (I’m looking at you, soya sauce.). We were beaten by the tabouleh—a Lebanese vegetarian dish. (My wonderful chicken fried rice lost to soggy veggies?! Unbelievable.)
But anyway, enough reminiscing about the past—here’s my recipe for chicken fried rice. If a hopeless cook like me can manage to make it, anyone can.
Chicken Fried Rice
(Inspired by traditional chinese fried rice and adapted from my mom’s delicious cooking)
- 3 eggs
- 200 g chicken filet
- 500 g long-grain rice (uncooked weight), cooked and left to go cold
- 1 large capsicum, chopped
- 5 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into squares
- 200 g peas
- 2 tbsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp soya sauce
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- Spices: red chilli powder, black pepper
- salt and pepper
- Boil the chicken filet, adding appropriate pinches of salt, black pepper, and red chili powder for about 10–15 minutes. Once the chicken is cool, shred the chicken into smaller pieces.
- Beat the egg, add the black pepper, and place it to one side for later use.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped carrots and stir fry for about 2–3 minutes.
- As the carrot is cooking in the frying pan, add in the cold rice and stir fry for another five minutes until completely heated through.
- Add the chicken pieces, followed by the chopped capsicum and green onions. At this point, add the soya sauce, white pepper, and the lemon juice.
- Stir fry for about 3 minutes, making sure to constantly turn the rice around the frying pan.
- Push the entire mixture to one side of the pan. Pour the beaten egg mixture into the newly vacated area, and allow the egg to fry. Once the egg is set, break it up into smaller pieces and mix it with the rice and vegetables in the frying pan.
- While at low heat, cover the frying pan with a lid for 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.