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Vegetable fried rice
Vegetable Fried Rice
I've always thought of fried rice as the quintessential comfort food. Think of it - a bowl of steaming white rice cooked to just the right consistency, filled with bits of egg and vegetable. No wonder fried rice is one of the world's most popular rice dishes!

For the home cook, the beauty of fried rice is that it is very adaptable. Like chow mein, it's perfect for those nights when you're cleaning out the refrigerator and want to get rid of any leftover vegetables.


A Bit of Fried Rice History:

While the exact origins of fried rice are lost to history, it’s believed that it was invented sometime during the Sui dynasty (589 – 618 AD), in the city of Yangzhou in eastern Jiangsu province. Yangchow (Yangzhou) Fried Rice is still the standard by which all other Chinese fried rice dishes are judged: morsels of fluffy rice tossed with roast pork, prawns, scallions and peas. In American-Chinese restaurants you’ll sometimes find it called "special fried rice."

Today, fried rice dishes are found throughout China, particularly in the south, where rice is the staple grain.


The Star of the Show – Rice:

The main key to making fried rice is using rice that has been previously cooked. Older rice is dryer, reducing your chances of ending up with a dish that is wet and gloppy. Day old rice is fine, but rice that is 2 or 3 days old is best. Rub the rice between your fingers to get rid of any clumps before cooking.

Long grain rice, which comes out fluffier and is less sticky than other types of rice, is perfect for fried rice dishes.

Instead of plain white rice, scented rice can also be used. Basmati is preferable to Jasmine rice.


Don’t Have Cooked Rice on Hand?

While nothing beats previously cooked rice for making fried rice, if you don't have any on hand, here's a tip: prepare a batch of fresh cooked rice, spread it on a baking sheet and freeze for 25 – 30 minutes. The texture of the fried rice isn't quite the same as days-old cooked rice, but it makes a handy substitute.

Cooking the Egg For Fried Rice:

There are several schools of thought on how to do this. Some prefer to fry the beaten egg and cut it into strips to use as a garnish. Others prefer to scramble the egg and mix it in with the rice – the egg is scrambled separately and added to the rice in the final stages of cooking. Either method is fine.

Cooking the Ingredients - Separately or Together?

One of the secrets of fried rice is that the ingredients are cooked separately - helping them maintain their distinct flavors - and then combined in the final stages of cooking. There’s no question that it’s easier to do this if you remove each ingredient from the pan after cooking and then add it back at the end, as in this recipe for fried rice. But the choice is up to you. If you leave all the ingredients in the pan, make sure each is cooked before adding the next – the vegetables lightly stir-fried, the egg fully set (if you’re scrambling the egg instead of adding it as a garnish), etc.

What about Seasonings?

Purists will often argue against adding any seasonings (except perhaps a pinch of salt) believing all the flavor should come from the stir-fried ingredients. However, whether or not to season fried rice is really a matter of personal preference. If you do decide to season the dish with soy sauce or oyster sauce, go lightly at first and then add more if needed.

When to Serve Fried Rice?

Fried rice can be served either as a main dish or side dish. Simple fried rice, without any meat or seafood, makes a nice substitute for plain cooked rice at an evening meal. At Chinese banquets, fried rice is frequently served at the conclusion of the main meal, before the dessert course.

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Biscotti originates from the Latin word “biscoctus”meaning twice baked/cooked and can be stored for very long periods of time.Such nonperishable food was particularly useful during journeys and wars, and twice baked breads were a staple food of the Roman army.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti are crisp and crunchy and are lower in fat as they do not contain butter which makes them a nice alternative to all the other rich baked cookies. These have a long shelf life so they can be made well ahead of time and they are so good you may even want to give them as gifts (perfect for the tea and coffee lovers).

Enjoy dunking it in a cup of tea or coffee!

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Honey Sesame Chilli Potatoes
Honey Sesame Chilli Potatoes
I love to eat Chinese and need to satiate my cravings every other day. My husband and daughter have a similar thing for Chinese food. So to give our taste buds a change from the regular fried rice and noodles, I decided to venture into a new territory and came across this heavenly recipe. It doesn’t take much expertise just follow the recipe and everything turns out just fine. Enjoy as an appetizer or even a side dish with your favorite dal.

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Simply Chocolaty cake
Simply Chocolaty cake
Sometimes you crave for something and you want it right away. I was craving for a really dark chocolate cake and within a matter of minutes I was baking one. It’s easy and quick to make, the kids might want to eat it with a glass of milk and adults with coffee or tea. My four year old daughter who’s at home these days enjoyed adding the ingredients and we both had a great time baking it!

The recipe is from smitten kitchen.com 

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Punjabi Kadhi
Punjabi Kadhi
Punjabi Kadhi is spicy yogurt-based curry containing vegetable pakoras and is eaten with rice and rotis. One can never go wrong while making it as it is extremly simple to make. The main ingredients are yogurt, gram flour/besan, freshly grated ginger, mustard seeds, asafetida, dried red chilies, fenugreek seeds (methi), and salt. It is prepared by whisking the yogurt, water, flour, turmeric, chili, ginger, and salt, and then cooking the liquid over medium heat until it starts to boil, stirring the whole time so that the water and yogurt do not separate. All the other ingredients are lightly fried in the oil or ghee. This mixture is added to the kadhi, which is then heated to boiling once more.

Years ago, during my school days Dad and I visited Manikaran, the place famous for its hot water springs, a gurudwara, temple and a mosque, all of which lie in close proximity. Also called Parvati Valley, the bridge crosses the span of one mountain to another with a gushing river that lies in between. It’s boxed in at the bottom of a vast sheer-sided chasm. The hot sulphur springs rise in bubbles close to the shore of the river, with people bathing, drinking, collecting or trying to cook rice in the hot water.The Langar at Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib is a combination of dahi kadi , meethe chawal (sweet rice), palak (spinach) and rotis. You may find this combination an odd one, but it was very well cooked and I can still taste it whenever I think of it. The atmosphere was damp and smoky and but the bath in the springs after the arduous bus journey makes you hungry and you relish the langar. Though the kadhi prepared contained simple ingredients, it had the most amazing taste.

Try this dish and I bet you will keep making it over and over again…..

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Poha

08/10/2010

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Poha
Poha
Poha is rice which is dehusked and then flattened into rice flakes. It is used in a variety of snacks like chivda namkeen or the famous Maharashtrian kanda pohe. It is very quick to prepare and is light on stomach. Increase its nutritional value by adding boiled vegetables like peas, boiled potatoes, carrots and bell peppers. This recipe is so simple and is ready in a matter of minutes. Enjoy it hot with a cup of tea.

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