Hey folks, it’s recipe time again but, if I’m honest, this one was actually supposed to go up last week. I had a few technical difficulties with my camera and had to remake the whole thing from scratch.
So, that’s how my week’s been going, how about yours? I hope that you’re all holding up okay in the midst of this crazy modern mess and I hope that you’re all able to find a nice, secluded spot to go stretch your legs and get some sun. Because, as scary as this pandemic is, going outside is still important to your health.
With no end in sight, right now, it’s essential that you have a way to get all the necessary vitamin D and you’re not going to do it through diet, alone. Fresh fish just isn’t that readily available right now.
What you need is sunshine and that, I’m afraid, is not something that I can provide. But I can share with you a thematically-appropriate rice dish, at least, based on the work of Amano Hina – Weathering with You’s 100% sunshine girl.
A simple, yet delicious, one-pan recipe that deviates slightly from the source material but still combines eggs, rice and crisps for a crunchy, warming meal that’ll add a little brightness at any time of the day. Though, personally, I like to serve it for brunch.
To make her recipe my way, you will need:
3 tablespoons of chinkiang (black rice) vinegar
2 heaped tablespoons of ketchup
2 large, home-grown chives (or ~5 store bought ones)
2 egg whites
1 egg yolk
½ bag (~30g) Hot Headz’ Habanero Inferno crisps
A pinch of salt
And a small frying pan with a lid.
But you can swap out the black rice vinegar for the regular rice wine variety and a dash of soy without changing the flavour too drastically and any other serious chilli crisps will do.
I chose to work with Hot Headz’ Habanero Inferno ones because they have a great flavour and texture for this dish, combining vibrant habanero chilli with just a touch of barbecue and the sort of crunch that I used to think you could only get by frying in extra hot peanut oil. Until the company changed to a healthier sunflower variety.
They add exactly the brightness that I want in my sunshine rice and their subtle smoke notes pair beautifully with the dark, savoury, not quite soy of my vinegar but, should you need to swap them out, the onion and red chilli taste of Seabrook’s scorpion variety wouldn’t be a bad fit. And I’m sure that there are other great options, too.
To get started, toss your rice into the pan and top it up with 120ml of water. Then season with a pinch of salt and turn the heat on to max.
You’ll want to stir it occasionally, to ensure an even salting and make sure that nothing sticks, but it doesn’t need a lot of looking after at this stage and the next one takes even less.
After roughly three minutes on a full flame, the water should be bubbling away thoroughly, which means that it’s time to turn things right back down. Drop your hob temperature to the very lowest it will go as you pop the lid on your pan and then just let it steam gently to itself for a good twenty minutes. During which time you don’t need to touch it at all.
All that you need do is glance at it, from time to time, to make sure that steam is still coming out. If it’s not, the water’s all absorbed and we can skip ahead to the next step. But there are a few other things to do before that, while we’re waiting.
First off, we need to separate our two eggs into yolks and whites, setting aside one of the yolks for later use in baking, another rice recipe or, perhaps, some homemade mayo. I’ll decide what to do with that later.
Next, we measure out the ketchup and vinegar and, well, we might as well dump them in with the egg whites, since all three get added to our dish together.
And, finally, we chop the chives up into a metaphorical tonne of tiny pieces, so as to turn them into a nice, fine seasoning.
Then, once all of that is done, hopefully we don’t have too long to wait for the rice.
When the rice has done both cooking and absorbing all of the water, it’s time to take its lid off, chuck in the egg-white, ketchup and vinegar mix, go up to a medium heat and scramble furiously until it’s all firmed up. It should look something like this:
The good new is that this happens fast, so you’ll only need to be whisking away with your utensil of choice for a few minutes, but the bad news is that, because it happens so fast, you’re going to need to be whisking just as frantically.
Next, stir through the chives and crush your half bag of crisps, adding them in as well and making sure to break down any chunks bigger the nail of your thumb.
They should be small to medium-sized shards, not crumbs, in order to still lend crunch to the finished dish. That texture is, after all, the main reason for their inclusion into Hina’s original recipe.
Though, in my version, they also add a lot of flavour and a slow onset
glow. One that’s more medium than hot but pretty much at the top thereof.
Still, their texture is a major part of the dish and overcooking them will ruin it with sogginess. So, as soon as they’re mixed through, it’s time to add the egg’s yolk. Just straight ontop, whole and slap bang in the centre of the pan. Or as near to as you can get it on the rice’s uneven surface.
Continue cooking for another minute or two but don’t stir any further. Just let the heat carry up, through the rice, to warm your yolk a little. Then remove your pan from the hob and serve immediately.
That yolk topping won’t be cooked yet but it’ll begin to firm up, just a little, as you stir it through the rice with chopsticks or some other wooden eating utensil which won’t hurt your cookware. And the resulting hot, gooey mess, whilst not as photogenic as the unpierced egg, is utterly delicious.
If you’ve never had a raw egg yolk broken into and partially fried by a hot bowl of rice before, that alone is pretty special but, add in the warm flavour of dried habanero, the green, oniony bite of chives, the dark depth of chinkiang vinegar (minus most of the acidity, which we’ve cooked off this time) and the sweet undertones of ketchup and, well, then you have an actual meal. One which is warming and oh so satisfying, yet still not too heaty to enjoy during the coming summer.
A dish to add some sunshine into your life, perhaps, though don’t forget that you still need the real sort as well.