People who know me, know that I don’t cook. I’m very good at convincing others to cook (aka my ex-boyfriends), and have even taken some steps towards trying to learn how to cook the basic stuff. But my interest in cooking never amounts to anything more than a flash in the pan (sorry for the pun!) and after two or three days of trying, I’m done. But that is not to say that I eat out all the time. If anything, I eat at home on a fairly regular basis namely because I detest sitting in a restaurant alone. I know that as a single female who is getting on in her years, eating alone in a restaurant is something I should get used to soon. But then again, who actually has that much money to eat out all the time.
The first thing I ever learned how to make was fried eggs. There we were, a class of giggly 13 year olds, first time in a kitchen for me, although I was to find out that a lot of my peers had already learned how to cook at home. Our first lesson was to learn how to fry eggs. I mean, its simple enough, isn’t it? Heat up some oil in a pan, crack the egg, and well, it will fry. Well, I was to learn later that there are things such as “Sunny side up”, or “runny eggs”, and then there are scrambled eggs. I swear, as the teacher talked, I basically stopped paying attention. The result, of course, is that I started a small fire in the home economics room. It turns out that a towel caught fire when I wasn’t looking. Oops. Needless to say, I did not pass the class with flying colors.
But I didn’t entirely give up on the concept of cooking. When my mom realized that I was going to go to the US to study, she did try to teach me a couple of things like making instant noodles, steamed eggs with pork, boiling rice (too much water and it becomes porridge!) and soy sauce chicken. I think I tried making the soy sauce chicken a couple of times as a freshman. I set off the fire alarm so many times, I eventually gave up. I later learned that adding honey when cooking can cause the chicken to burn very quickly. I think I make that dish only once a year. One of the most useful things that my mom has ever taught me to make, though, is fried rice. I learnt quickly that fried rice is a way of re-cooking leftovers so it feels like a brand new dish. In fact, according to Steamy Kitchen, leftover rice from the night before is the best sort of rice for making fried rice with. You can add just about anything to it, it doesn’t matter because they are so many variations. “Fried Rice seasoning” is some food manufacturer’s way of trying to squeeze more money out of you as far as I’m concerned.
A quick search on google will bring up a number of simple as well as hard fried rice recipes. The one on about.com looks simple enough. I cook fried rice only when I either have left-over food in the fridge, or if I have pieces of random meat that aren’t quite enough to make a meal of but if I combine all the different random stuff, it can add up to a substantial meal for one. Basically, all you have to do is heat up some oil in the frying pan,add some garlic (if you have any lying around) or spring onions (again, if you have it around) or chili (ditto), then throw in the meat, and fry it for a bit until it starts to brown or turn color. If you have seafood like fish or shrimp, now will be the time to throw it in as well. Then when that is done, add some pepper for taste. When it looks as if the color is sort of turning, turn the heat on to low, then quickly beat two or three eggs with a teaspoon of light soy sauce. Then put in the rice into the frying pan with everything else and try to mix it all together. After 2 or 3 minutes, try to make a well in the middle of the frying pan, and then add in the eggs, and then slowly fold in the mixture of rice and meat/seafood/vegetables until the eggs are sort of absorbed into the food. In my opinion, the eggs really serve to add color to the dish. When it smells ready, turn off the stove and voila! Dinner!