jean georges vongerichten

Getting Fried Rice Right

In the past I’ve struggled a bit with fried rice – so I turned to that great cook Mark Bittman for the answer, and found this method for simple fried rice that he adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

It uses simply: cooked rice (and remember you should never use rice that is more than a day old), leeks, ginger, garlic, groundnut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and if you’re not as averse to eggs as I am, you can top each portion with a fried egg. For enough rice for two people, you’ll want two medium leeks, 2-3 cloves of garlic and about an inch of root ginger.

You start with ginger and garlic. I sliced these finely, rather then mincing them – and I’m not sure it was an improvement. It was a challenge to get both of them to the right level of crispiness at the same time without a few of the slices burning. So I would stick with the original recipe and mince the garlic and ginger and fry them in groundnut oil until golden, then set aside. Then fry the finely sliced leeks on a low heat until they are really soft, but not browned. The trick in doing this is to keep the heat low and to keep them moving.

You then add in the rice and stir to heat through, before diving the rice into bowls, drizzling on a little soy sauce and sesame oil, and topping with the ginger and garlic.

The first attempt at this was not perfect – there’s an art to getting the garlic and ginger crispy without it turning bitter, and using enough oil to allow the leeks to soften but not too much to make the end dish oily. I would start with less oil than the original recipe and add more if you need it.

By ensuring that the rice was cold and a little dried out, and not adding it until everything else is pretty much cooked, this worked better than all my previous attempts and is a dish I’ll be returning to and trying to perfect.

©  Lucy Schaeffer

Wine Wednesday: Star chef Jean-George Vongerichten takes advantage of summer strawberries to make this perfect alfresco dessert. As the red wine–infused sorbet melts, it forms a tart sauce for the sweet, tender berries, which also get topped with crunchy bits of meringue, a splash of aged balsamic and fresh whipped cream.

Recipe: Strawberry-Red Wine Sorbet with Crushed Meringue