Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garlic Fried Rice with Ganbei (scallops)

I'm back from a fantastic week-long trip to Taiwan, visiting family, eating, site-seeing, and more eating. For better or worse, it's reinvigorated my disappointment with the DC food and grocery scene...alas.

But on to the garlic fried rice with ganbei (Chinese dried scallops): genius! This was the first dinner I cooked for myself after returning to the States, and the flavors were just excellent. My summer roommate had some leftover rice he was going to throw out unless I was going to use it, so of course my first thought was of fried rice. I really liked the garlic fried rice I had at Aloha Ramen in Seattle when I was visiting over the winter and had been meaning to try making some myself.

Now, sinangag, which is Filipino garlic fried rice, uses crushed/minced garlic and is just garlic and rice, at its basic conception. I like the crisp texture of fried garlic slices, though, and definitely wanted to include them (I think Aloha did this, too, but can't quite remember). Basically, I included an extra step at the beginning, of frying the garlic and then setting it aside while continuing on with fried rice before adding the garlic chips back on top at the end.

Tip: For frying garlic slices, be sure to cut them pretty thin, so that they crisp up without developing a chewy interior, and of uniform thickness, so that they fry at the same rate. Pull out slices as they finish so that none overcook and turn bitter. I made this mistake and waited too long on some--the darker brown ones.

To go with the dried scallop flavor of the ganbei (aka conpoy in Cantonese), I used fish sauce instead of my usual soy sauce for fried rice, though I'm sure either would be fine. See below for my recipe:

Garlic Fried Rice with Ganbei

2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups leftover white rice, refrigerated or otherwise relatively dry, clumps broken down
1/4 cup dried scallops (ganbei/conpoy), soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, torn into small pieces if larger than the pea-sized ones
2 green onions, chopped, whites/greens separated

2 eggs, beaten
pinch of salt
dash of pepper

1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar

peanut oil or other cooking oil (not olive oil; flavor is too strong)
salt to taste

  1. Beat eggs with S&P, mixing in scallion whites afterward.
  2. Mix fish sauce, rice wine, and brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat wok over medium heat. Swirl in oil, and add garlic slices. Spread garlic out to fry, removing from the wok as they turn a light brown. Set aside fried garlic.
  4. Pour egg mixture into wok. Allow egg mixture to cook halfway before adding rice on top. Egg should only be partially set. Turn heat up to medium high. Break up rice and toss with the egg.
  5. Add salt to taste and toss.
  6. Add scallops and toss.
  7. Add fish sauce mixture and toss.
  8. Add scallion greens and toss.
  9. Taste and adjust flavor. Remove from heat and serve.

Tip: use two spatulas or similar tools to toss the ingredients higher so as to air out the rice and make sure moisture evaporates instead of steaming the ingredients.


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