I could probably get away with cooking it almost everyday; such is the versatility and potential of left over cooked rice.
And that undeniable truth, brings me to the main reason it appears so often on our table. Leftover rice is a permanent fixture in our kitchen, and this is likely the case in most Asian kitchens.
With all that I need to get done in a typical day or week for that matter, fried rice is a very tempting option. A little peeling here, slicing there and chopping everywhere, a few deft flicks of the frying spatula et voila, dinner is served! Very fortunately for me, hubs and my boys are (fried) rice barrels and actually light up with anticipation when they see me chopping onions and breaking up lumps of cold cooked rice.
|frostbitten eggs *sigh*|
Fried rice or nasi goreng as we call it over here, can be taken in at least as many directions as you have teeth in your head. Its origin is in dispute, with the Chinese, Malaysians and Indonesians still locking horns over the right to claim the dish as their own. While spicy nasi goreng is not Chinese, my money's still on the Chinese as the very first people to stir together leftover rice and other odds and ends in a smoking hot wok.
|here fishy, fishy!|
Each community has several ways of preparing it. I really think I could come up with a list long as my arm, but some very popular versions are the Chinese yang chow fried rice and black olive fried rice, the south Indian Muslim mamak style nasi goreng with lashings of tomato ketchup and chilli paste, the Malay or Nyonya (if they can't decide whose it is, how should I know?!) style nasi goreng sambal belacan, the Nyonya, Malay, Chinese or Indonesian (gasp!) salt fish fried rice and the local Eurasian corned beef and egg fried rice. Oh yum!!! Are you as hungry as I am now?
Today I am sharing with you, the well known and scrumptious nasi goreng ikan bilis or fried rice with anchovies. There are two versions of this tasty treat, one pallid (without chilli paste) and the other, afire with the warm, ruddy glow of red chilli paste. Both are spiked with black pepper and green chillies, so yes, this is definitely for the spice lover! Of course, I would choose the red version; never enough chilli on my plate...
Nasi goreng ikan bilis is Malay, no, Indian Muslim, nooooooo, Nyonya!!! *Arggghh* Okay, it's definitely not Chinese or Eurasian! In a culinary melting pot like Singapore, it's often nearly impossible to rightly attribute the original creator of a dish, even one that may be as familiar as the back of your hand. So you know what, let's just call it damned shiok! For even more shiok nasi goreng, serve with a dollop of Sambal Belacan on the side, and a tall glass of Lime Drink with Pandan. Tak boleh tahan!! Err, I mean, unbearably goooood!!
Nasi Goreng Ikan Bilis Merah
Prep 20 mins Cook 15 mins Serves 4- 5
1 large onion, chopped (see photo above)
40 g (2/3 cup) cleaned and split ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
2 tbsp chilli paste
4 green chillies, thinly sliced (I ran out so I omitted them)
2 roast chicken breast halves, cut into large dice
6 cups cold cooked rice (day old rice is best, rake over grains before frying)
3 eggs (preferably unfrozen)
11/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste (add last of all, after tasting as ikan bilis is quite salty)
1 stalk spring onion, sliced any way you like, for garnishing
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a wok until hot and fry the onion until fragrant and just beginning to colour. Add the ikan bilis and stir until brown and fragrant.
Stir in chilli paste and cook until oil separates from mixture. Add green chillies and chicken and stir until green chillies wilt and chicken is coated with chilli paste.
Stir in rice over high heat until evenly red. Push rice aside and add another tablespoon of oil to wok. When hot, break the eggs into oil and leave until partially set. Scramble eggs then stir rice into eggs and mix well for 3 - 4 minutes.
Add pepper, stir and taste rice. Add salt if necessary and stir well. Dish out and garnish with spring onions. Serve immediately.
Before I end today's post, I want to say thanks to my friends Biren and Shirley for the pleasure of their company, last week, when Biren visited Singapore. We spent a lovely evening together in my home, over dinner before Biren's flight back to Minnesota and chatted ceaselessly (so much to say to each other!), sharing our thoughts on blogging and life in general. Of course when the chatting was done, we exchanged gifts.
|from Shirley - the whimsical handbag photo frame, the babies are mine|
|from Biren - mellow salted chocolate, yummy oblaten, the perfect madeleine pan and adorable pumpkinhead scoop|
Thank you again ladies for a lovely evening! My only regret was that it lasted but a few hours. May there be many (hopefully longer) more such meetings to come!