Contains: Soy. Is: Gluten-free, comes with vegetarian option.
This is part of my culinary MeetUp’s tea challenge for the month of April. Yeah, our group actually met during COVID-19 shut down — online. We couldn’t taste or savor aromas of each other’s cooking, but our group is about techniques as much as about eating together. I am glad we did the pastry shell meetup at the beginning of the previous month! As hands on techniques for that are best done with someone hovering over one!
I use a Japanese rice cooker for making rice and such – use whatever method you normally use for the cooking of the rice. Scale up for the number of folks in your situation. I made this for one, since the cats are definitely not interested in rice.
For my first effort, I made the tea-infused rice using an Asian blend of (mostly) white, plus red and black. Unfortunately, I could not taste the tea in the rice, so back to the drawing board.
Definitely use STRONG black teas, preferably in loose leaf format. For my second venture, I went with both Formosa Lapsang Souchong and Citrus Paridisi Earl Grey. (Both sold by Simpson & Vail.) I really like the bergamot taste of Earl Grey teas, but this is open to preference! The Lapsang. which imparts a smokey taste, is still available at S&V, while that particular Earl Grey is no longer carried. The store itself is located in Brookfield, CT, and I remember several pleasurable Saturday mornings back in healthier times when we’d drop by and sample some teas in their idyllic location overlooking a waterway.
NOTE: S&V doesn’t even know I have this blog, so I will state I’m not getting any help from them, monetarily or by product.
You are best served by making the rice and tea component the day before. I am given to understand this helps prevent clumping, as the rice will dry a bit before use in the frying step. Soak your rice in regular water – I leave it there about 30 minutes – and rinse a few times until the water drains clear. Usually that’s about three times.
If you are vegetarian, skip the pork. You could use thinly-sliced tempeh if desired instead, and you will need a little more cooking oil. If vegan, skip the egg. To make kosher, you can always use chicken or beef instead of the pork, and I would go with the dark meat from chicken or a fattier cut of beef.
I try not to overload the fried rice with other ingredients. A little goes a long way, and the star of the dish should indeed be the rice. Ingredients I use below were based on what’s in the house. The bok choy came from the MassFoodDelivery website (local farmers).
If you have water chestnuts, you could add 7 or 8, finely diced. – the dish needs a little crunch. Alas I used the last of mine up. Not risking COVID-cooties by going to the regular supermarket, not for just one item! (Well, if I learn they have disinfectant wipes…)
Rest Time: Not needed,
Leftovers: Reheat in microwave (or back in skillet or in oven). Save up to four days.
Stir-Fried Rice, Infused with Tea
- 1 heaping tablespoon black tea, I used an Earl Grey, simply for that bergamot earthiness.
- 1/2 cup / 120 mL rice. Calrose (sushi) rice will do, as will a basmati or a light brown rice. A black or red rice will bring in too much of its own flavor which will hide the nuances from the tea.
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- About a cup and a half or so of water. (350 mL)
- 2 ounces / 50 grams pork belly, sliced.
- 1/3 teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning.
- 1/2 a baby bok choy, chopped
- The white of one leek (or one shallot, or about a third of a medium onion)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped.
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste.
- 1 tablespoon low sodium gluten-free tamari.
- 2 teaspoons black rice vinegar.
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 large rough handful of mung bean sprouts
- 1 scallion/green onion, chopped.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
The day prior to making the recipe proper, steep the tea leaves in about 1.25 – 1.5 cups of hot water that had been brought to a boil. Allow to simmer for about 3-5 minutes and remove from heat. In about ten minutes drain through a fine sieve, saving the liquid, which may be bitter after the long steeping (this is fine for the rice). Reserve a cup’s worth (enjoy the rest).
Meanwhile soak and rinse the rice using regular water. Drain off the water, discarding that liquid. Add the tea water and the first 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the rice, and cook it as per your usual method. If using a rice cooker, set the cooker to “regular”.
Cook, break up any clumps, allow to cool, and set aside in the refrigerator overnight.
The tea will impart color and a mild flavor.
When making the fried rice itself: Set up your mise en place. In a skillet add a little cooking oil, and pan fry thin slices of pork belly (or whatever you wish to replace that with). Add sprinklings of the Chinese five-spice and a touch of salt – just a touch (don’t add salt if you are using bacon). Cook as if bacon, flipping and putting more of the Chinese five-spice on the flip side. When cooked through, remove the belly from the pan and allow to rest on a paper towel to absorb any extra grease. Break into small pieces. Return it, the leek (or other allium) to the skillet. and the bok choy.
Pan fry for two or three minutes, or until the leek goes slightly translucent. Add the garlic, for another minute.
Add the cooked, tea-infused rice, and gently fold it around. Once it warms, add the tamari and the ginger paste. Stir until incorporated.
Make a hollow in the center of the skillet, and fold in the beaten egg. Gently scramble it, then move it into and around the rice mixture. Taste for salt and pepper, and add accordingly.
Now add the mung bean sprouts, mix those around until just warm. Add the scallion, then remove from heat and serve.
Oh, the leftovers: I stuffed some into a large bell pepper cut into two “boats”. Baked with a little cheese over the top for 20 minutes at 350 F / 180 C.
Link Parties, also online just like our local Culinary MeetUp Meetup:
- Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-hosts: Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Laurena @ Life Diet Health
- What’s for Sunday Dinner – LinkUP.