Nishiki rice (Recipe: chicken or turkey fried rice)
Not Quite Turkey Week, Day Three: An updated post from the archives, with new photos, links, and printer-friendly recipe.
My local Asian supermarket is the second-most-dangerous place on Earth.
Whole aisles are devoted to dried noodles, dishes and chopsticks, spicy condiments, fresh greens like choi sum and long beans and chive blossoms, tofu, soy sauce, curry pastes, frozen potstickers -- and cookware.
I cannot resist the piles of woks, spatulas, skimmers and spiders (not the creepy-crawly kind, but the ones you use to remove food from a fryer), spice toasters, clay pots, dumpling rollers, bamboo steamers, cleavers, chopping blocks, sushi mats and ladles. I have had all of these in my pantry at one time or another, along with three -- yes, three -- rice cookers, each slightly different, that begged to come home with me.
And because I love my rice cookers, I always have Nishiki rice on hand to feed them.
Nishiki, a California-grown brand of medium-grain rice (technically, it's a longer-than-average short-grain rice), is processed using a milling technology called musenmai. The musenmai process blends heated tapioca with the rice kernels; when moisturized, the tapioca and bran stick to each other, rise to the surface, and both are removed, leaving behind a bright, fresh-tasting, cleaned rice which does not need to be rinsed again before cooking. Water-saving rice... what's not to love?
Nishiki rice comes in white or brown varieties; the white rice is available in the Asian foods aisle in my local grocery store, but the brown rice is a bit harder to find.
Compared to long-grain rice, which takes two cups of water for every one cup of rice, Nishiki rice takes two cups of water for 1.5 cups of rice.
In a rice cooker or on the stovetop, if left to steam (with the lid on) for 15 minutes after the cooking is complete, the rice becomes slightly sticky, which makes it easy to pick up with chopsticks, and perfect for fried shrimp sushi rolls, arroz forno, rice pudding or a sushi rice bowl.
Oh, you're probably wondering... what's the most dangerous place on Earth? A bookstore, of course.
Chicken (or turkey) fried rice
Cold rice is one of the last-minute cook's secret weapons, and whenever I fire up the rice cooker, I make extra rice to chill and save for a meal later in the week. Use leftover cooked turkey from your Thanksgiving dinner in place of the chicken, and if you have cabbage on hand, shred a cup and toss that in, too. Serves 3-4.
2 tsp peanut or canola oil
1 egg, lightly scrambled
1-1/2 cups diced boneless, skinless chicken breast, or diced leftover turkey
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 6-oz can sliced mushrooms (don't ask me why, but fresh mushrooms just don't say "fried rice" to me)
4 cups cold cooked Nishiki rice
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp oyster sauce
3 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Heat a wok or deep frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and pour in the egg. Let it sit for 10 seconds, then stir-fry to break up the egg into large chunks. Add the chicken, and stir until the the meat is white on all sides. Add the scallions and mushrooms (and cooked leftover turkey, if you're using it), and stir for 2 minutes more.
Break up the cold rice, and stir into the wok. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sesame oil, oyster sauce and soy sauce, and stir until well combined. Serve hot.