Dishes like bouillabaisse, a traditional Provencal fish stew, were poor man's food, conjured up by fishermen who threw local Mediterranean fish too bony to sell into a huge pot. Today, any Marseillais will tell to prepare your wallet for the shock, at 70 to 150 Euros for 2 persons.
In a way, the ordinary fried rice has a similary story. It used to be leftover rice stir fried with whatever ingredients you had on hand to avoid throwing food out!
This recipe for fried rice is my dad's. It's the first dish I have ever learnt to cook when I was, 13 I think? Time flies. There are sure to be lots of different variations out there, but this one is my dad's which I have adapted for French living. Enjoy!
450 g Thai rice (weight in uncooked rice), cooked the day before
8 dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
150 g frozen green peas
3 carrots, diced
100g corn kernels
250g ham, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
light soya sauce
Lap cheong (Chinese sausage), Dried shrimp, Mixed vegetables (instead of peas, carrots, corn separately), Char siew (the ham is an angmoh substitute)
The rice should be cooked the day before and left to dry out at room temperature or in the fridge. The dryness makes the rice less clumpy and thus frying easier. The mushrooms have to be soaked in hot water at least 30 minutes before cooking.
1/ Heat oil in a wok and stir fry the diced ham for 2 minutes. Remove and save in a bowl.
2/ Heat oil. Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp oyster sauce and stir fry for another 5 minutes. Remove and save in bowl.
3/ Heat oil and fry 1 clove of garlic. Stir fry diced carrots for 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and 2 tbsp oyster sauce then stir fry another 5 minutes. Add the corn kernels. Remove and save in bowl.
4/ Heat oil and fry 1 clove of garlic. Add rice a third at a time, mixing well to separate the grains. If necessary, trickle some more oil over the rice.
5/ Trickle 1 tbsp soy sauce onto the rice and mix well.
6/ Add the ham, mushrooms, carrots, peas and corn to the rice and mix well. Add more soy sauce to taste. Stir fry the rice for 5 minutes, taking care not to burn it entirely, but if a crust of burnt rice forms at the bottom of the wok, it's quite normal.