Pork & Shiitake Fried Rice

August 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let me preface this recipe, which I made up today and makes possibly the best fried rice I’ve had, with a story. A brief story of my day today, which is also the story of a cat defecating and a thundergale. On my way to work today I noticed, trotting before me on a rather deserted uphill stretch of road, a very reasonable black-brown cat. He was moving as some speed. Having waited for such an opportunity for several months in which I might take advantage of some quality cat-socialization, I was afraid he might run off before I could catch up with him. Imagine my luck when he pranced aside into the long grass running along the roadside. How opportune! I was in view of no house or person and my fears of arousing some secret cultural custom forbidding foreigners from making free with cats was silenced. As I drew up alongside this very nice cat, I realized he had stopped to enjoy a bowel movement.

What I anticipated

I stopped and looked at him. He looked at me. We looked at each other awkwardly. I realized that I couldn’t exactly pat him while he was taking a shit. Standing there watching and waiting for him to finish seemed equally out of the question. Yet in those few seconds I had for contemplation, this is exactly what I did. I proceeded to exchanged awkward eye-contact with a cat shoving feces from its bottom. When he was finished I didn’t even have the opportunity to contemplate the appropriateness of a post-dump pat. The cat sprang away from me, horrified. I’m fairly certain I made such an impression on this cat that soon all the cats in the village will know me, wise to my cat-dump-watching-ways, allowing me nowhere near them and their furry, pat-inviting little heads. The damage has been done. I only hope others can learn from my mistake. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, I strongly recommend doing the cat the courtesy of pretending to be ignorant of its bowel activities by continuing on your way. This will save yourself and the cat some embarrassment.

When I got home there was a violent thundergale. This was, perhaps, God’s Judgement.

Afterwards the hawks were drying their feathers in the sun above my front yard.

Here follows a recipe for pork & shiitake fried rice. I really love using Japanese rice in this because it sticks together in clusters, allowing the outsides to crisp while the inside remain pleasantly chewy. The crackly fried garlic and ginger (inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s fried rice) balance the flavor and texture of the crisp, chewy rice, sweet naganegi, and plush, meaty mushrooms.

5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 naganegi, cut in 1/2 inch long lengths
3 cloves (or more) garlic, minced
equal amount ginger, minced
thinly sliced pork (belly meat preferable)
2 eggs
1 1/2 c (approximately) leftover, cooked short-grain rice (if clumped together, break up)
soy sauce
sesame oil
salt
pepper
cooking oil

Heat oil in frying pan or wok till hot. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towel. Salt.
With oil left in pan (add more if necessary), stir fry the naganegi and shiitake mushrooms until soft and starting to change color. Add salt. Remove from pan and reserve in bowl.
Fry the meat until cooked. Place in bowl with naganegi and mushrooms, salt lightly.
Fry the two eggs, scrambling them in the pan until almost done, then remove to bowl.
Add oil to the pan. When hot (very hot!), add the rice and stir fry for approximately 5 minutes. Don’t worry if it starts to stick together, break it up as much as possible with a spatula and make sure to flip it so it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. When it starts to crisp, turn the heat down and add the vegetables, meat, and eggs back into the pan. Mix together and add approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste), salt, pepper, and finally a drizzle of sesame seed oil. Once combined, serve immediately, sprinkling with the reserved garlic and ginger.

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