The earliest dish I remember mastering is fried rice. I may have learned to make something else before this (maybe egg salad or a grilled cheese), and I had already made cookies, I'm sure. But in my memory, this is the first true dish I learned to make.
What I remember my mother telling me at the time is very much true of most of the cooking I do today. When I asked for her recipe, she said something like "Well, there's not really a recipe. It's more like a technique." She then tutored me on the steps she generally uses and I was off and running.
Today, I needed lunch and Dani was asleep after a 24 hour shift. So, as I finished up work at the day job, I tried to figure out what I'd make. So, here's the version I made today. Feel free to do your own thing. Play with the rice types or use quinoa. Mix up the vegetable choices. Add eggs to it if you must. Just have fun.
Basil Scented Fried Rice
Serves 4 (unless you can't stop eating it)
1 cup brown basmati + 2 cups of water went in the rice cooker about an hour before lunch time. Ideally, I'd have rice in the fridge ready to go, but fresh is fine too.
Once that was cooked, I started the vegetables:
2 Japanese Eggplant, quartered and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
3 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic (two were quite small)
2 Anaheim chiles (seeded and chopped)
1 good handful of basil
lemongrass and ginger pastes
No chicken broth powder
I sautéed the vegetables until just tender and then added the snow peas and ginger and lemongrass pastes for a minute before I added the rice to the pan. I also did a sprinkling of no-chicken broth powder and gave it stir, added the rice and chopped basil leaves, some soy sauce, and let everything hang out for a couple of minutes. Don't scorch the rice, but you want things a bit dry (you don't want soupy rice here).
I garnished my bowl with some raw cashews, chili paste, pineapple chunks, and lime juice.
What was your first cooking adventure? What do you like in your rice bowl?
That beautiful blue bowl in the picture above was a gift from Kelly Duke. I swear the right dish makes everything taste extra good!
Angel lives in Camden, Arkansas where she writes stuff and sometimes sends it out to other people to read. She used to grade papers, but not anymore. Check out her main site to see what she's up to lately.