Talk about whacking the brain to cook a quick dinner that could make good use of 1) ham that’s been in the freezer for weeks and 2) vegetables that were in danger of losing their freshness soon. Put another way, this Chinese style fried rice was an attempt to stretch a quarter of a kilo of ham to feed six people without making the cooked dish look like it’s a salvage operation.
You say fried rice and most people think of rice with bits of meat, carrot, green peas and eggs. I’ve said it so many times before but it won’t hurt to say it again — you can use a whole lot of other vegetable to make Chinese style fried rice. The trick is to choose varieties that don’t wilt fast and NOT overcook them so that they don’t get a chance to expel too much water that will make the rice soggy.
Chinese style fried rice with ham, broccoli and cauliflower
- 250 grams cooked ham (or more, if you have more
- 4 to 6 cups cold cooked rice
- 1 small (or half of a large) head of broccoli
- 1 small (or half of a large) head of cauliflower
- 1 carrot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 4 to 6 tablespoons oyster sauce
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- Cut the ham into half-inch cubes.
- Trim the broccoli and cauliflower and cut into small florets.
- Peel the carrot and roughly chop.
- Peel and finely mince the garlic.
- Peel and roughly chop the onion.
- Beat the eggs.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork or with your hand to separate the grains.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook just until set. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a chopping board. Slice or roughly chop.
- In the remaining oil, add the ham and cook until the edges start to brown. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Throw in the garlic, onion, broccoli and cauliflower. Stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the rice. Season with a little salt and some pepper. Pour in the oyster sauce. Cook, stirring, just until the rice is heated through. This should only take a minute or two which should be just long enough to cook the broccoli and cauliflower. Add the chopped eggs and drizzle with sesame seed oil. Give the fried rice a couple of stirs and serve.