great if you’re hungry and want two thousand of something

No matter where I am in the world, be it Japan, the US, or wherever Khoa and I happen to roam, I always want to eat rice.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my bread, but there’s something about rice that is so wonderful.  In the words of the late-comedian Mitch Hedberg, “Rice is great if you’re hungry and want two thousand of something.”  But there’s something more to eating rice than the fact that you’re managing to cram fifty things in your mouth at one time.  I remember when I was a kid, no matter what meal we were having, we always ate rice with it, or at least had it on the table as an option.  Meatloaf, rice.  Spaghetti, rice.  Chicken pot pie, rice.  We never even had asian or asian-style dishes when I was growing up, but nonetheless, rice, the asian staple, was ever-present.  It might have been my picky uncle’s incessant whining about wanting rice at every meal, but those memories of the fluffy white stuff have shaped my palate.  What’s more, as a child, white rice was always accompanied by either butter or ketchup.  I know what you’re thinking, ewww…but don’t knock it until you try it.  I’ve also recently discovered the joy of rice and shredded cheese.  Give it a try!

Now that we’re in Japan, Khoa and I eat rice pretty much every day.  Khoa has been enjoying the traditional Japanese breakfast, rice and miso soup, for a few months now.  Dinner is usually rice and stir-fried vegetables or some other variation.  Our go-to dinner (and by our, I mean Khoa’s since he does the cooking :P) is Cha-han, or fried rice.
Here’s Khoa’s recipe for a really delicious and easy fried rice:
First, prepare the sauce and set aside:
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. ponzu sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • Sriracha (hot chili sauce) to taste
Saute the following in a big saute pan with a few tablespoons of oil:
  • Onions (medium diced)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (medium-sized chunks)
  • Mushrooms (Shiitake if you have them)
  • Asparagus (thinly sliced)
  • One small tomato (diced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 cm block of ginger (finely diced)
  • Half of the sauce
Put the sauteed vegetables into a separate bowl and put 2 cups of cooked rice into the pan you used for the veggies (Khoa likes to use a mixture of half brown and half white rice.  You really can’t taste the difference once the cha-han is completed and it’s healthier). Add the other half of the sauce to the rice and mix (make sure to be gentle while mixing the rice.  If you stir it too vigorously, you’ll have a mushy mess on your hands).  Crack two eggs over the rice and gently stir them together in the pan.  After the eggs are cooked, return the sauteed vegetables to the pan.  Mix together and serve.  
You might be thinking that tomato and fried rice doesn’t go together, but since you’re only adding one, it’s just enough to add a bit of freshness and brighten up the dish.
Khoa sometimes adds in some chicken or tofu, depending on his mood.  This cha-han is a spicy, tangy bowl of awesome.  Instead of finely chopping and dicing the vegetables, Khoa likes to leave them in medium-size chunks and add more veggies than you normally would.  It’s a heartier, healthier version of the Japanese food staple.
Do any of you make fried rice?  What do you add to yours?  Let us know in the comment section below.   
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6 thoughts on “great if you’re hungry and want two thousand of something

  1. madeinmatsue May 9, 2012 / 10:48 am

    michelle n khoa, lovin the recipes…cos der actually stuff I can find ingredients for here! great pics too ^∀^
    keep’em comin!

    • youmeandatanuki May 9, 2012 / 4:00 pm

      Thanks, Bernice! We’re glad you like them 🙂 We’re trying to do one post a day…

  2. Fried Rice May 9, 2012 / 11:28 am

    Try this simple ez fried rice that tastes fuckin bomb.

    1. Add oil to pan and turn on heat.
    2. Add veggies (and meat) and cook about half way.
    3. Push the veggies to one side of the pan and then crack a couple eggs and sprinkle some salt (not too much).
    4. When eggs are half way cooked (white + transparent/ about 30 sec.), dump the rice on top.
    5. Aggressively apart the rice (especially if using short grain rice)

    At this point, the rice and other contents should have absorbed most of the oil. So…

    6. Add SESAME OIL (~2 Tbs).
    7. Add Soy Sauce (~2 Tbs).
    8. Add Fish Sauce (1 Tbs), the viet kind that smells nasty and used for dipping shit. <– Most important item!
    9. Keep cooking for a little longer. Heating the Fish Sauce + Sesame oil + Soy Sauce together gives it a rich nutty flavor.
    10. Optional: Add Natto.
    11. Serve and eat!

    • youmeandatanuki May 9, 2012 / 4:03 pm

      Adding fish sauce sounds great! We’re going to try using it the next time we make fried rice. Thanks for your recipe!

  3. Carol Avina May 11, 2012 / 10:58 am

    Michelle, you have to make this for Connie and me next time you’re home!!! (Or, get Khoa to make it for us!)

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