There are only so many days I can partake of restaurants’ culinary delights here in Honolulu, and then I need to get back to my own kitchen … or whatever kitchen is handy. With a nice container of leftovers from Ono, another Hawaiian foods institution, a great “booke” dinner was ready to be created, so I complied. (For a definition of “booke” read my previous post on “Booke Pasta”)
We had some Kalua Pig (shredded, smoky, slow-cooked pork). I didn’t want to mess with its wonderful flavor, so simply heated it in a frying pan in a little touch of butter and a couple of tablespoons of water to keep the meat moist. I could have added some fried cabbage or sautéed onions, which would have been very complimentary to the taste, but my mom and I wanted to savor the pork’s own deliciousness. Don’t mess with perfection.
We also had about a cup of leftover, cooked, white rice. Not much to work with, so here comes the “booke” factor. Out of the fridge I pulled some baby, bell peppers and spring onions … also a nub of Portuguese sausage, an egg and a bottle of soy sauce. If there had been mushrooms, I would have used a couple of those but there weren’t, so onward.
You can create your fried rice the same way – with whatever is in your fridge: use frozen peas or corn; add diced carrots and/or celery; throw in leftover cooked broccoli or cauliflower; use any sort of leftover meat – sliced steak, shredded chicken, bacon, pork. Whatever you choose, cut the ingredients into small pieces so that the sizes don’t overpower the rice.
I once found a recipe for fried rice that looked great, so I tried it. The dang thing took me forever to make … sauté onions, remove from pan; sauté peppers, remove from pan; on and on it went, about a dozen steps for a rice mixture. I hated it and saw no purpose whatsoever for that much work. Why complicate the matter? If you do it Plynn’s way, fried rice can be a very fast and easy, nutritious, one pan meal. But, you know, that’s just me. Anyway, here’s how I cooked it up last night and it was “very tasty” according to my mom. And I always believe everything my mom tells me (You know there would be a smiley face here, don’t you?).
“Booke Style” Fried Rice
1 teaspoon olive oil, or similar
½ teaspoon of butter or margarine
4 baby peppers, washed quartered and sliced thin
3 spring onions, chopped
2 oz. Portuguese sausage
1 large egg
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
Hawaiian (or other) Seasoned Salt, to taste
Heat oil and butter in a medium sized sauté pan at about medium heat. Add peppers, onions and sausage and cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until the veggies are soft/crisp and meat is browned (if you want to add leftover cooked vegetables and/or meat, pop them in the pan a couple of minute prior to the raw mixture being appropriately cooked).
Add the cooked rice, a touch of water and a round of soy sauce. Leftover rice clumps, so use a spatula to break it apart. Lower the heat to medium-low. Warm the rice mixture through, stirring often.
Turn the heat up a notch, move the mixture to the outsides of the pan so you have a little well in the center. (You may want to add a small bit of oil or butter at this time, for the egg’s benefit.) Break the egg into the center and scramble. As it begins to take form, mix it in with the rest, continually moving the entire mixture around until the egg is cooked.
Taste. Add seasoned salt and more soy sauce, if you choose.
How easy is that!?
My mom made a big, local greens salad dotted with mild cucumber rounds and thin slices of sweet Maui onion, dressed with a touch of olive oil and Hawaiian salt. It was a terrific Booke meal.
My apologies for not taking a picture of the fried rice; we got down to the yummy business of eating it before I remembered. Next time …
Eat well. Be happy.
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