Thursday, 21 August 2014

Forbidden Pleasure

Riso Nero Fritto con Kimchi, Uovo & Edamame
Kimchi Fried Black Rice & Egg with Edamame

I raided my freezer and fridge and cupboards this evening, after a brief moment of panic, thinking I had "nothing in the house" to cook! It's amazing that we sometimes think that way, isn't it? Because there is always SOMETHING you can make- and if you have an open mind, it can usually be something totally wonderful too!

And that is especially the case if you have a stash of weird and wonderful things you have picked-up at an Asian supermarket at some point or other, thinking that you might make something with them one day. Because I do that. And guess what? Today, that very day had come!


If, like me, you do not eat fried eggs regularly, you can almost forget how wonderful eggs actually are, that lovely, velvety, mild and unctuous yolk is one of the most delicious things there is!

Combined with HOT and spicy, tangy kimchi, chewy black rice which is SO delicious and some edamame (a treasure from the freezer!)- well, all I can say is... I have no idea what I was so worried about? That sounds- and looks, like dinner to me!

So here it is, all laid out- not much to look at, but plenty for one nice, healthy and delicious meal... out of thin air! What you are looking at is 1 egg, 2 handfuls of black rice, 1/2 of an onion- red in this case, but that was just coincidence as I happened to have it left over from the other day , about 1 cupful of kimchi, 1 cupful of frozen edamame, a little fresh ginger and a little fresh parsley.


Black rice, also known as "forbidden rice", is another of those things that I actually really love to eat... but somehow never think of preparing- even though I have it right there in my cupboard! Apparently, it was historically something that only nobility would indulge in, in China- hence the name that it was "forbidden" for the poor. Huh! Well this poor fella had some for supper this evening! And yes- his supper was fit for a king!


Whilst the rice boiled away- it will take 20-25 minutes, I did my prep-work and got busy with the other ingredients. Which means that I finely chopped the ginger, thinly sliced the onion and also cut the kimchi down in size a little, so that all of the ingredients would be equally and thoroughly mixed-into the rice later.


I started off by frying the onion slices and ginger in a little peanut oil and then, after 2-3 minutes, I added the kimchi and edamame and stir-fried everything together for a further 3-4 minutes. The reason I used peanut oil is that it has a neutral taste, but can take being heated up really hot and still not begin to smoke- and a high temperature is good, to quickly fry and sear the ingredients without over-cooking them. You can use any other neutral oil though- just don't use something like olive oil, because apart from it having the wrong flavor, it will get smokey and taste burnt and ruin your dish.


After 3-4 minutes, add a splash of water and keep stirring until it has cooked/evaporated away... this is just to be sure that the edamame are cooked enough- but they are already par-boiled before freezing, so they don't take long at all to soon be tender.

Once the water has evaporated away, add the rice and a little sesame oil and stir together well. Season with a little Thai fish sauce if you have it, soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and some black pepper. If you don't have fish sauce- no problem, you will do fine with soy- just add a little at a time until the seasoning is just right.


My kimchi was actually very, very hot! But there are many different versions and varieties out there- ranging from mild... to wild! So I am holding back on advising you to add chili sauce or more spice at this point- I will leave that up to your own discretion... and I don't want to read about any fatalities because I told people to add even MORE chili!


After 3-4 minutes of frying at a hot, hot, hot, temperature, your rice, kimchi, edamame and onion should be looking something a little like this" Amazing how much color that black rice gives off, isn't it? Yowza!


A simple fried egg, a little coarsely ground pepper and a drizzle of Hoisin sauce rather than salt- and I was almost ready to go!


I found the sprinkle of parsley to be an important final addition, as it added an element of freshness that lifted the otherwise more intense flavors... and made it into a very rich but pleasantly light affair! Considering that I was fretting over supper before I got started on it- I think the result is really rather good!


How do you like your yolk? Firm, or runny? Mine was half-waxy/firm and still oozy and smooth, which was perfect for me! Either way, the combination of mild egg yolk and spice rice is a really good one! if you are not familiar with it... get familiar with it! You'll like it!


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