|Funke Koleosho's Nigerian Style Fried Rice|
My daughter loves fried rice...the Nigerian style one that is. She will choose fried rice over Jollof rice any day. So I tend to cook this dish quite often just for her sake. Over the years I have perfected my recipe for making fried rice and I believe this recipe has a sensational explosion of tastes and flavours, not to talk of the depths and textures contributed by the individual ingredients...!
For me, making perfect fried rice starts with the ingredients. You have to choose the right and freshest ingredients to achieve a delicious rice dish...! It is also important to choose and use the right type and amount of seasoning in order to strike a balance in tastes and flavours. You do not want rice riddled with salty seasoning cubes, instead, you should aim to create a dish where all ingredients come together nicely, each contributing its own unique flavour, but also complimenting others.
The Nigerian style fried rice, I believe, is fashioned after the popular Chinese fried rice. I remember my first encounter with fried rice many many years ago, my mum had taken me to a friend's party and fried rice was one of the food options. At the time it was new and different to all the other rice dishes we were used to like Jollof rice. The excitement I felt from biting into the peas and the little bits of meat added (these are what were used at the time) can't really be compared to any thing I felt about food before. Peas were new to me at the time so I was looking forward to tasting them, though they were canned peas...(those were all we could get at the time). By the time I finished eating my first plate of fried rice, I was ready to brag about it to my friends in (primary) school.....
|Nigerian Style Fried Rice|
Nigerian style fried rice has evolved from what it once was. A wide variety of vegetables, meats or seafood is added nowadays. Everyone seem to have their own version using the ingredients they prefer. Some I must say are really delicious but am afraid, a majority of the fried rice dishes I have tasted are overloaded with seasoning cubes... :-(
For me fried rice must be a combination of well proportioned range of ingredients with the rice, which of course is the main ingredient, being about 60% of the total content. The remaining 40% should consist of the vegetables, herbs, seafood etc. I do have a set of rules that I follow when making my fried rice! See below some of my tips for making my fried rice dish perfect.
- Choose very good easy cook rice. I tend to choose basmati rice. You can use other varieties of rice but choose the one with less starch that will not become sticky or mushy when cooked.
- Ensure the rice makes up about 60% of the total content of the resulting dish.
- The remaining 40% of the dish should comprise of the different vegetables used and any other meat or seafood pieces used
- When prepping your vegetables chop them all to fairly equal size. This creates a more visually appealing dish
- If you can, create your own home made fried rice spice. It may take a while to achieve the perfect combination, but once you get your preferred blend, it will guaranty that you achieve a perfect outcome every time
- The secret of achieving a tasty dish is in the use of good quality stock. I always choose chicken stock. I make my own. Check out how to make stock here
- A wok is the best tool for stir frying your rice because it helps with effective heat distribution
- Ensure that you use a well measured amount of seasoning which when added will not overpower the natural aromas and tastes of your ingredients. The seasoning must serve to compliment the other ingredients.
|Nigerian Style Fried Rice|
So fully armed with my tips, I present to you my very own best ever fried rice recipe. Try it out and let me know how you get on... check it out..!
What you need
- 500g of easy cook rice (soak in some water for about 10 minutes to reduce starch content. This will also ensure the rice grains do not stick together when cooked)
- 2 cups of good quality chicken or beef stock
- Raw tiger prawns (always use raw prawns. They taste better and you can manage how they are cooked. Cooking them too long will make them tough and chewy). Remove shells and de-vein prawns. )
- 10g of ginger (go for the tender roots of ginger. Peel off the skin and dice into small pieces)
- 2 cloves of garlic. Chop finely
- A handful of diced red onions (choose deep red on to add contrasting colour to the dish)
- A handful of frozen peas (choose petite pois if you can get them)
- Fresh carrot. Clean well then chop into small pieces, about same size as other ingredients
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
- A handful of diced green pepper
- 1 teaspoon Madras style curry powder.
- Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly milled of black pepper
- Coconut oil to stir fry. Alternatively use any oil of your choice
What to do
- Soak the rice for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly to remove excess starch and avoid sticking when cooked.
- Transfer washed rice into a large pot and add the chicken stock. Cook rice in the stock until its just soft. al-dente. Take care not to over cook rice at this stage. Remember that the rice will still be stir fried later. Once cooked, set aside.
- In a large wok (or any other non stick large frying pan), heat some oil under moderate to high heat (depending on your stove setting).
- Then add the fresh thyme, curry powder and cumin powder, chopped garlic and chopped ginger. Stir well and allow the ginger and garlic to brown a little.
- Then add the chopped onions. Continue to stir all ingredients to avoid burning. Once the onions have softened, add the green peppers, frozen peas and carrots.
- Now add some black pepper and salt to taste. Stir all together to distribute seasoning evenly. Then add the cleaned raw prawns.
- Immediate begin to add the boiled rice, a little at a time, stirring well to ensure even distribution.
- Continue to add the rice until you reach the point when you achieve a ration of 60% rice and 40% other ingredients. You may choose to adjust this ratio as to suit your preference. Taste the rice and check for salt. Add some more seasoning of your choice if you wish.
- Then cover the wok and allow the rice to steam through for about 3 minutes. Check again for taste.
- Serve hot.
|Nigerian Style Fried Rice|