I know that there are hundreds of versions of fried rice out there but this version, not surprisingly, has a little French influence: butter! There is a reason this simple ingredient is a chef’s secret weapon.
Wash the rice four or five times until the water runs clear. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) of water, ensuring the rice is level so it cooks evenly. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tunnels form in the rice and most of the water has been absorbed. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, for about 10 minutes to allow the rice to steam through and become fluffy. Remove the lid and run a fork through the rice. (Alternatively, you can use a rice cooker.)
Spread the cooked rice on a baking tray lined with baking paper (this will help the rice cool faster and will also soak up any excess moisture). You can do this up to a day ahead and keep it in the fridge, if you like.
Put the eggs, sugar and a pinch of the white pepper in a bowl and whisk together.
Heat a large wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it is smoking hot, pour in the egg mixture. As soon as the egg starts to sizzle, start stirring it as if you are making scrambled eggs. Remove the egg from the wok as soon it’s cooked and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the wok and wait until it is smoking again, then add the onion and stir-fry until it starts to become translucent. Add the Chinese sausage or bacon and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes.
Sprinkle over the remaining white pepper as you are cooking, then add the prawns and cook for a further 1 minute. Season with salt, then add the cooked rice. Spread the rice around the wok, then let it sit for a few minutes. Don’t over-stir the rice at this point – you want it to stick to the wok and crisp up, adding a delicious texture to the dish.
Add soy sauce to taste. If the rice looks a little dry, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Toss through the pale part of the spring onion and the cooked egg, then remove from the heat and scatter over the green part of the spring onion.
Quickly mix through the butter to give the rice a flavour boost and a good shine, season with a dash of fish sauce, if you like, and serve.
Recipe and image from More Please! by Manu Fieldel with Clarissa Weerasena (Murdoch Books).
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