Meals – Day 22: Ingredients in disguise

22 Mar
Breakfast and lunch were both pretty simple today. Simple no-fuss toast for breakfast.
Day 22 breakfast: Plain wholemeal toast
The reason for such a simple breakfast was that I still needed to cook up lunch as well, which I hadn’t done yet. But, I did make some preparations. I cooked a double portion of rice yesterday night, finishing with the lot of it. Yes, finally, on day 22, the whole 40p kilo of it that I bought on day 1 is gone. But I only used half.
The other half was going to be fine for fried rice. You see, fried rice is a dish that works best with day-old rice. It will dry out a bit and stick less. Fried rice, like pizza, is a dish where almost anything goes; it is known to work exceedingly well with all kinds of leftovers. We may make a fuss about fried rice here in the west, but over in Asia it’s just about the first thing you learn to cook as a teenager (well maybe the second, after instant noodles).
The egg fried rice I had for lunch went something like this:
– Sautee a clove of small chopped garlic in some oil
– Add in mixed veg, stir;
– Add in an egg, cook until dry;
– Season with dark soy sauce (should normally be dark and light, or if you’re going for an Indonesian Nasi Goreng, both sweet and salty soy sauce; in that case you might also want to add some sambal/chilli paste).

Notice what you’re doing so far is essentially making a “leftover” of a nicely seasoned Asian dish. Add whatever you have and what you feel like – prawns, spices, coriander powder. Make it a delicious side dish all in its own right; as long as you do that, almost anything goes.

Note that I didn’t have anything much available so I just stuck with dark soy sauce, egg and mixed veg with garlic. It’s fine if the side dish is slightly saucy. It will help the chunks of rice come apart later on.

Once the “leftover side dish” is done, add in the rice. Gently break up the chunks and keep mixing to give it a chance to bake/fry evenly. And that’s basically all there is to it.
Mind you that if you try this with freshly cooked rice, if you make it too wet or if you cook it for too long, you will end up with a sticky mess. This is why you make the “leftover side dish” first; all vegetables will be done before the rice even enters the picture.
And the result?
Day 22: Lunch
Slightly darker than what you’d get from the local takeaway (due to using dark soy sauce instead of both dark and light), but very similar in taste. As I said, nothing much to it.
But what about supper? Well, I got an onion and a small bag of potatoes. But I was going to disguise them. Same for the egg. If you’ve noticed, I’ve been very sneaky by slowly getting vinegar, eggs, oil and mustard. See where I’m going?
Day 22 supper: Potato soufflee, mixed veg and garlic mayonnaise
I whipped up a garlic-and-herbs mayonnaise with the egg yolk, a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of mustard and a splash of oil. I added a small clove of garlic and some mixed herbs to turn it into a garlic mayonnaise. I also added some water. The lecithin in the egg yolk acts as an emulsifier, so the vinegar and oil will keep together, but so will the extra water – it all just turns into an emulsion. By adding a bit of water, we’ll get a lighter mayonnaise than the pure 80% fat stuff you find ready-made in supermarkets. Makes it easier to digest, which is especially nice with garlic mayo. Oh, did I mention water is cheaper than oil? Of course the flavour would be toned down a bit by being diluted. A pinch of salt to season helped lift them. I could also have added more vinegar and mustard to taste, or do both.
And the potato soufflee – to make that, I peeled a few small potatoes, cubed them in 1x1x1cm dice and steamed them for about 15 minutes. Mixed them with some sauteed onion, briefly blended them and folded in beaten egg white (how convenient that I just had an egg-white left-over from the mayo!). I spooned it into a ramekin and into the oven it went to puff up. And the crowd went wild!By the way, I just did both the mayo and the eggwhite with the handheld blender, no attachments used. The egg white didn’t get to the “soft peaks” stage, so I was afraid the egg white wasn’t going to work, but it didn’t seem to be a problem.

So the egg, potato and onion were pretty much disguised in the resulting dish. Once again giving us more textures and more variety. I was going to leave some garlic mayo for another day, but failed. I guess I’ll have to try again some time.

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