Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Snow Pea-and-Pork Fried Rice...

Do you have a favorite method of cooking rice - especially brown rice? For the longest time, I've always just done the absorption method, usually using a ratio of a scant 2 cups water to 1 cup of rice. However, lately I've been using the pasta-style method that I read recently while browsing through a book by Alice Waters.

Basically, you bring a large pot of water to a boil, salted if desired, toss in rinsed brown rice and let it boil, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. The water is drained away and the rice is placed back into the hot pot, tightly covered and left to steam, off heat, for about 10 minutes. I've found that 25 minutes yields rice that is firm and chewy while after 30 the rice is still chewy, just a bit more soft and tender.

The grains are consistently light, still intact and fluffy without being mushy at all - I used this method this morning so the rice had enough time to chill out in the refrigerator to make this Snow Pea-and-Pork Fried Rice for tonight's dinner.

There is one thing you want to keep in mind for stir-frys - have all your ingredients chopped and prepped before you start heating the pan because the action moves quite fast! Scrambling a couple eggs was up first. Once they were done and removed, strips of boneless pork chops that we briefly marinated in soy sauce and dry sherry were next to hit the shimmering toasted sesame oil in our skillet. Since the pork was thinly sliced, they take literally a minute or two to cook through.

Sliced onions, snow peas and a handful of chopped broccoli florets were on tap to be tossed in - after a couple minutes of rockin' and rollin', pungent fresh ginger and a couple cloves worth of minced garlic were added. The ample veggie mixture was then transferred to the plate with the pork to keep warm while we heated up another drizzle of dark sesame oil in the pan. That chilled nutty brown rice was then added to the skillet and left to sit for a minute to heat up - all the cooked ingredients were then thrown back in and tossed together to warm through. Finished with a shower of mild green onions, Jeff and I both thought this would good, but we think it could have used a little more "oomph". Maybe a little tamari or regular soy sauce at the end? I also think we should have just poured the eggs in at the end and let it scramble during the tossing process to remove a step.


  1. I've done that with the eggs, just thrown them in to scramble, it changes the texture of the dish, doesn't seem like fried rice. So, you and Jeff thought that this was bland?

  2. Quinn - No, not bland so much, but just needed something to lift up the flavor.

  3. I like to cook rice by the "pasta style", but then I put it back into the pot, cover with a towel and put the lid on. The towel absorbs any extra water while I finish preparing the rest of the meal.

  4. OK - I'm off to the kitchen to try this new brown rice method you posted! I bought a different brand of basmati brown rice the other day and cooked it to their instructions - 4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice - UGH!!! What a soggy, unrecognizable mess of rice that was! Should have gone with my tried and true method! Love the idea of a final "steaming" that leaves the grains intact...Thanks!

  5. I really like the Cooks Illustrated oven method (rice, boiling water, bake 1 hour). But that method isn't so great when it's 80* outside and I don't want to heat up the house.

    This "pasta style" sounds like a great alternative for summer months. Plus, I can still add some wild rice for variety.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. I agree with Quinn - don't add egg at the end unless you want "fried rice omelette" or "fried rice scrambled eggs". I agree with you that you could have added some low sodium soy, or hoisin, or some stir fry sauce, a dash of white pepper, etc. This dish looks good ...

  7. Wow--thanks for the brown rice cooking tip! I have never tried it like that before...


  8. Amy - Glad we are not the only one using this method!

    Gigi - Let us know how it works out for you!

    Kristin - I've yet to try that method, but we have been meaning to for quite some time! Maybe in the fall.

    Razz - We've made other recipes that called for it and it turned out well for us, but I'll take that into account!

    Courtney - Give it a try!