Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 5. Far East Influences. Fried Rice Recipe

When we just arrived to Taiwan, about a thousand years ago (at least that's how it feels), we found out we can't speak Chinese. Sounds weird, I know, but considering the fact that we spent the 2 years prior to our arrival studying Chinese at the university, we were quite surprised (today I already know that you can't really learn Chinese when you're not in a Chinese speaking environment), and we also found out that the Taiwanese can't speak English (or Hebrew for that matter). Those 2 facts caused us embarrassing, funny and wearying situations, especially those involving food. Really, imagine trying to explain to this guy standing in front of you that you don't want any little unidentified creatures on your plate, when all you can say is "hello", "don't want" and "don't understand". Luckily, the Chinese we learned did help with basic communication and as time went by we actually managed to communicate with those around us. But during the first two months, the only place that managed to understand what we wanted was the fried rice street stall next to the hostel where we stayed. We found ourselves eating there lunch and dinner every day. As long as we knew what was on our plate, we were happy.
Generally speaking, I didn't like the Taiwanese food, but the taste of this street stall is still with me up to this day, almost 12 years later.
True, I'll never be able to imitate the taste of that stall, but the fried rice I make is easy to make, delicious and always reminds me of those first days in the Far East.

Fried Rice Recipe @ The Crafeteria

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup rice
1 1/4 cups water
150 g (0.3 lb.) tofu cut into small cubes / chicken breast cut into strips
1 egg
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 potato, diced
1/4 cup peas (can use canned or frozen)
1/4 cup green beans (frozen is fine)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
handful of Chinese sprouts
4 stems scallions, just the green part, cut into 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 inch) strips
3-4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp. date syrup concentrate / sugar
salt & pepper
oil for frying

First, we cook the rice. use any recipe to cook it, as long as you end up with white rice. I fry the dry rice in a little oil for 2-3 minutes, then add water, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover and cook exactly 18 minutes. Then remove from heat, leave it covered for 5 minutes, then open and stir with a fork.
At the same time, cook the carrot and potato cubes in water for 5-10 minutes. They don't have to be completely soft, just a little bit.
In a wok, pour some oil then make a scrambled egg. When ready, put it aside in a bowl.
Add some more oil and stir fry tofu / chicken 5 minutes. Move it to the bowl with the scrambled egg.
Add more oil and start stir fry the veggies, wait 2 minutes before you add the next one - onion, carrot, potato, green beans and peas.
Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir fry 1-2 min.
Add tofu / chicken.
Add soy sauce, sesame oil, date syrup or sugar, salt and pepper and stir fry another 3-5 minutes.
If the food begins to stick to the wok, add a little water.
Add Chinese sprouts and scallions and stir fry another minute.
Remove from heat, serve (with chopsticks, of course...) and fantasize about the Far East :)
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  1. Looks yummy! Can't wait to try it!

    1. Thanks Penny :) If you make it, please let me know how it came out!

  2. I spent 20 years in Asia some of that as a student at Tiawan Agriculture Institute. Fried rice is made with preferably day old cold rice. It usually is made from the left overs in the rice pot from the evening meal for

    1. I did make it with leftovers a couple of times,just because I had some. Didn't know that's how you're supposed to make it. Thanks! :)

  3. This looks fabulous, delicious, and healthier then the fried rice at my favorite Chinese restaurant!


    Peggy Nolan

    1. Thanks!
      I'm not using MSG, so it's definietly healthier :)

  4. Yum! That looks delicious! I really want Fried Rice for dinner now!