Victoria Street Fried Rice

One day I wandered down little Saigon – Victoria Street Richmond – picked up a piece of barbecued pork and decided to make this fried rice. You’ll be able to find all of these ingredients at your Victoria St equivalent.  Get the pork from a Chinese barbecue restaurant that has the pork, duck etc hanging in the window. Make sure it’s the barbecued, not roast, pork.

This fried rice is not exactly authentic – its neither strictly Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese.  But I have had more than one person tell me it’s the best fried rice they’ve ever had.

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients.  Once you have everything together, it only takes minutes to actually cook.  It’s really essential that you do all the prep first – have all the ingredients measured out in little bowls (you can group them together according to when they are being added).   Once the wok is turned on, you should not be doing any more chopping.

For this reason, this dish is perfect for an informal dinner gathering: you can do all the prep ahead of time and simply stand at the wok for mere minutes.  As you chat to your guests and brandish a glass of wine you will – apparently effortlessly – produce the most delicious little bowls of food and your guests will think you’re a marvel.

You can omit the pork and substitute for more seafood, fresh shiitake mushrooms, or, less appealingly, tofu.

1.5 cups uncooked jasmine rice (about 3 cups of cooked rice)

1 onion, sliced

1 piece of ginger about 20cm, grated

1 piece of fresh galangal, about 10cm, finely grated (galangal is ginger’s woodier but more fragrant cousin and you’ll find it in the same place as fresh ginger in Asian grocery stores)

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped (use the middle whiter part only)

1 tablespoon of chopped asian basil

1/2 cup of chopped coriander, plus extra for serving

2 spring onions (shallots), sliced into thin 10cm pieces

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use tamari, its lower in salt)

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

About 250 grams green prawns – peeled & tails left on

A piece of barbecued pork (about 350 grams), fatty parts removed and diced

2 cups of shredded wombok (chinese cabbage)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Fried shallots (you get these in packets from Asian groceries)

Bean sprouts

2 limes (or lemon)

Cook the rice so its light and fluffy – you can’t have gluggy rice for this. A rice cooker will do the job fine, but my method is to soak rice for about an hour in cold water, then rinse.  Bring a big pot of water to the boil and shower the rice in.  Boil for a few minutes only – the rice should be only slightly cooked and still hard in the middle. Drain almost all of the water out so its just a little bit slurry (err on the side of taking more water out than less, you can always add more but you can’t take it out). Place back on the stove on the lowest heat you can, cover with a tea towel and place a lid on the towel, folding the sides of the tea towel onto the top of the lid. Steam for 10-12 minutes, fluffing with a fork occasionally and checking to see if you need to add more water – sprinkle small amounts with a spoon if you need more moisture.  Turn off heat and leave the rice to cool with the lid on.

Alternatively – buy the cooked rice from an Asian takeaway – the one you get the pork from should oblige.

Quickly saute the prawns in a little oil over high heat until cooked and set aside.

Heat the oil in a hot wok or large frypan and sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal and lime leaf for just a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic. Reduce the heat a little, add the fluffed rice.  Make a well in the centre and add the egg, turning once, and when cooked, mix through the rice. Don’t worry if the egg seeps into the rice before its cooked, it will still cook.   Add the sausces, mix through then add the wombok, pork, prawns, basil & coriander, spring onions.  Mix through thoroughly, until the wombok wilts a little, and serve, topped with extra coriander, fried shallots, bean sprouts and lime wedges (or lemon if you prefer).

Serves: 6-8

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