“The kitchen is the heart of the home” – Anonymous
It’s the holidays and it’s so great to spend time with friends, relax and unwind. I was looking forward to doing all of these and I have been doing them.
I was, however, not looking forward to being bored.
So, this morning, after the usual (retrieving half of the duvet from sleeping Bud – it is a daily struggle I tell you, prayer, bible reading, toilet business and checking to make sure everything is in its rightful place – as I left them and not an inch away), I pondered;
“What will I do today?”
I couldn’t impulsively go visit a friend (The UK isn’t Nigeria). I was also not in the mood to read a book, learn the guitar, workout or write an essay on ‘combating world hunger with the aid of genetically modified snow’ (nothing serious please!).
While I was pondering, I suddenly had a light bulb moment –
I would cook!
A quick look in the fridge and kitchen (as well as a growing craving) and I settled for vegetable fried rice with some crispy fried chicken (Today, just for today, let’s not keep count of those evil and vile calories. Let us be the bigger person, raise our white flag and call a truce. Let us raise a toast to the peace between humans and calories. Let’s heal the world and make it a better place!)
Time to go a-cooking!
Fried Rice – Method 1
- Onion – 1 whole
- Spring onions – 1 bunch
- Carrots (sliced)– 2 ½
- Reb bell pepper – 1
- Yellow – 1
- Fresh parsley
- Dwarf beans
(Note: most Nigerians would use sweet corn as well. I find it too sweet so I do not use it but feel free to toss in a tin if you want to)
- Ground coriander – 1 tsp
- Mixed herbs – ½ tbsp.
- Curry powder – ½ tbsp.
- Knorr cubes – 4
- Garam masala ½ tbsp. (this spice does wonders for your cooking)
- Garlic – 4 cloves
- Scotch bonnet – 5 (optional or per your preference. I just like ‘em spicy!)
- Sunflower oil – ½ cup
I also used 3 ½ cups of Peacock finest pure Basmati rice which I got from the local Costco store (see pic above). This is now my favourite brand of basmati rice as it has a nice fragrance, taste and is fluffy in texture.
Cooking the fried rice
Parboil the rice for 3mins in boiling water. With this brand of rice, you do not need to parboil as it is gluten free hence the cooking time is quite short (remember I mentioned I was bored. So, I was only trying to entertain myself somehow. Mmhmm!). For other brands of rice, here’s a quick tutorial on parboiling.
The quantity of water used when cooking the rice should be little, i.e. on the same level as the quantity of rice. Consider cooking this rice as a trip to your backyard as opposed to a trip to the moon (for my Nigerian friends).
Total time to cook rice (including parboiling) = 15 minutes
Set this aside (I left the lid partly to let some steam off and prevent the rice grains from getting softer)
To cook the veggies;
Add ½ cup into a frying pan and cook for 20seconds over medium heat. Add the following ingredients in order – ginger/garlic/pepper, carrots, onion/spring onions, bell peppers, parsley/dwarf beans, a sprinkle of tomato paste and spices. I have found that using some tomato paste (just a little), goes well with the spices and gives a different pleasant taste.
Cook for about 2minutes (or less as you do not want the veggies to overcook) and set aside.
Then toss the cooked veggies in with the rice and mix together over low heat.
Serve with some crispy fried chicken (recipe coming soon)
By the time I was through with the cooking, I was well entertained and exhausted enough to require a rest. To crown it all, I got these lovely flowers as a gift (I guess as a reward for all my effort)
Cooking time – 25 mins
Overall preparation time – Mmhmm…
Just enjoy the process!
After all, what’s a holiday without some fun?