I’ve been on a semi-cooking kick throughout Swiss National Day long weekend. Mostly because I made one dish and had leftovers… so then I had to doctor it up to finish up the leftover food… which resulted in another dish. And then I even took the leftovers from that dish and stretched it out for another meal the following day. Absolutely awesome.
This also means that I haven’t been eating my usual diet of cold cereal and peanut butter, so I think I’m been packing on the pounds the last few days. And all the munching on ice cream bars to cool down in the heat probably hasn’t helped either. :O
Anyway, I made a pot of steamed white rice and had leftovers, so what better to do with day-old rice than to make Chinese fried rice? Well, more precisely, my rice cooker made a pot of steamed white rice, because I cannot for the life of me manage to make rice in a pot without either burning it or turning it into liquid mush.
So, I’m calling this dish home-style, because 1) I made it at home, and 2) I didn’t really follow any particular recipe, so I just made it up as I went along. I’m sure everyone has their own method for fried rice in various incarnations, but I discovered a quick and easy shortcut in Switzerland to bring out a lot of flavor with the least amount of effort, so I’m going to share my fabulous secrets for all the world to know here.
This is the lazy-man’s (or I guess in this case, lazy-woman’s ;)) method to home-style Chinese fried rice. And as I can’t really cook and try to be quite cost-conscious in this expensive country, here are my secrets to keeping it cheap, easy, and edible:
Secret #1: Use packaged bacon bits for flavor.
Use packaged bacon bits from the supermarket. Trust me. Yep, it’s probably loaded in fat, but it adds a whole bunch of flavor that you just can’t get with salt and pepper.
I also can’t chop anything with a knife, so the pre-cut stuff saves a whole bunch of prep time. Plus, I don’t need to get my fingers grody by touching raw meat. Just pop off the top and dump the whole container directly into the wok. Bonus bonus bonus all around. 🙂
In Switzerland, I got the M-Budget Speckwürfeli from Migros, which is an awesome deal at CHF 2.55 for 2x 100 g packages. I only needed to use one of the packages for this dish, so now I have another one saved for a rainy day.
Secret #2: Use frozen veggies to cut down on prep time.
As my knife skills are nil (see above), any attempt to chop veggies usually ends up in me chopping off bits of my fingernail by accident. Thank goodness I haven’t chopped my finger off yet.
I actually bought a mandoline when I first arrived in Switzerland to help me with prepping veggies, but it proved to be too unwieldy to use, so it’s just been sitting in the drawer the last 3 years. 😦
So to keep things simple, I just used a bag of frozen veggies from Lidl. It comes in awesome pre-seasoned mixes with lots of varieties: Mexican, Italian, Californian, etc. I only used about a quarter of a 750 g bag of the Mexican mix, and at about CHF 3.- per bag, I probably used less than CHF 1.- worth. Yeah, I know Mexican veggies and red kidney beans aren’t really Chinese, but the textures and flavors went really well with my Swiss bacon, and that’s what I happened to already have on hand in my pantry.
Here is my best estimate at how I put the dish together. I didn’t measure anything, so you can adjust to your preferences (or depending on what ingredients you have on hand at home).
Home-Style Chinese Fried Rice
- Day-old steamed white rice
- 1 package raw bacon bits
- About 2 cups mixed frozen veggies (mine were pre-seasoned)
- About 1 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
- 2-3 eggs
- Spring onion
- Assorted seasonings to taste
- Fry up the raw bacon bits in a wok. You don’t need oil because the bacon will produce oil.
- Add the frozen veggies and the kidney beans, if you are using them. If it’s taking a long time to thaw out, then put a lid on it and let the veggies steam a bit to soften up.
- Add the rice and stir fry everything together, breaking up the chunks of rice with the spatula.
- Crack the eggs directly into the pan and stir everything up. The egg bits should coat the rice and everything else.
- Sprinkle in whatever seasonings you like to taste. I used salt, pepper, MSG, ground cayenne pepper, and dill.
- Chop up spring onion, sprinkle over the dish and give everything a good stir. And wah-la! Done. 😀