Most people know what fried rice is, but I bet very few of you know what ‘soffritto’ is. Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hint, in French it’s called ‘mirepoix’. Still no takers? Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know what soffritto was until a few months ago either.
Okay, no more teasing. Soffritto is an Italian flavour base made of onion, celery and carrot. All three ingredients are chopped very fine and then sauteed in olive oil or butter until they soften. When used in a bolognese, for example, the soffritto cooks down so much that you can’t distinguish the separate ingredients. But you can taste the rich flavour they impart to the dish.
For those with an inquiring mind, here’s a link to a full explanation:
But what does an Italian flavour base have to do with an Asian dish? It turns said dish into a one-wok meal, that’s what!
This is a picture of what the finished dish looks like:
Apologies for the shadow. My head got in the way.
As you can see from the photo, there’s a lot going on in this dish. Apart from the carrot and celery there’s red capsicum, chopped bacon, sweet corn, spring onions and one egg. The dish would have been a bit healthier if I’d added some pulses, but that was a step too far, even for me. Read on for the recipe.
1 cup of long grain rice cooked using the absorption method [or any kind of rice you have on hand].
2 rashers of middle bacon, rind removed.
1/2 of a red capsicum cut into thin strips
1 large stick of celery, washed and cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 corn on the cob, cooked
3 spring onions [mostly the whites]
1 – 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
a few drops of sesame oil
about 1 tablespoon of light Soy Sauce to drizzle over
Add the oil to the wok and bring it to medium heat. [I have a cast iron ring that sits on my gas burner and raises the wok above the flames. Highly recommended as it ensures more even heat to the wok].
Add the chopped bacon and fry gently until the bacon is just coloured.
Add the carrots, celery and capsicum to the bacon, lower the heat and sautee very gently [approx. 10 minutes]. It will look something like this:
Some of you may have noticed that my soffritto vegetables didn’t include onion. That’s because I’ll be using the spring onions to add a slightly more Asian flavour at the end of the dish. Oh, and the capsicum is in there because I really like capsicum. 🙂
While the soffritto mix is softening, cut the kernels of corn off the cob and give them a rough chop:
You can also chop the spring onions but do NOT add them to the dish yet.
Once the soffritto is done, add the corn and toss through the other ingredients:
Allow the corn to heat through for a minute or two and then add the rice:
Break the rice up in the wok and toss it through the soffritto base to absorb all those delicious flavours.
It was at this point of the cooking that I suddenly remembered I hadn’t cooked the egg ahead of time. Oh woe! Luckily, fried rice is a very forgiving dish. I pushed the rice to one side, cracked an egg straight into the wok and quickly turned it into scrambled egg with the spatula I use to toss the rice:
As always, abject apologies for the out-of-focus photo. 😦
Once the egg is incorporated into the rice mixture, there are only 3 ingredients left to add. Sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil over the rice [a little goes a long way]. Next, sprinkle or slosh the soy sauce on top. Add the chopped spring onions and quickly toss through the fried rice.
And that’s it. Serve in a small bowl and eat however you wish, chop sticks, forks, spoons, who cares. 🙂
If you have any rice left over, scrape it into a small saucepan and place in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat, simply add a teaspoon of water to the pot – to stop the rice from burning – cover and steam gently for about 5 minutes.
chī chī chī” 吃吃吃 [I think this mean ‘eat, eat, eat’. Please correct me if it’s wrong!]