Years ago when I was in graduate school in Seattle I was craving some home cooking and tried to make jook, or rice porridge or congee. I screwed up in a big way. Not only that, but I made a big batch of the stuff. Being a poor college student it would have been highly irresponsible to throw the screwed up jook out so I took it to work the next day for lunch. So I’m heating up this pile of goo in the breakroom microwave and along comes my living-with-white-guilt wannabe-cosmopolitan lefty coworker. She is curious about what I, the only person of color on the whole floor, am having for lunch. I explain to her what it’s supposed to be. She is very interested in what this exotic dish from the Orient is, asking me what it’s called, where to get it, what section of a 20-page Chinese restaurant menu she would find it under so she can order it. I try to explain to her the various ways it might be spelled with the Roman alphabet, emphasizing the point that if she does manage to find a restaurant that doesn’t cater to the white devils (because you wouldn’t find it at such restaurants, which, I discovered, dominated the International District at the time) and if she does manage to find it on the menu that it’s not going to look like this pile of goo I’m eating. Basically, I’m scared that she’s going to go to some restaurant and order jook (a.k.a. pile of goo) explaining that her Chinese coworker made this exotic dish and she wants to sample such fine Oriental cuisine. I then imagine the server giving her a WTF? look thinking she’s crazy asking for peasant food you eat when you don’t have enough rice to actually cook rice. I know, I was neurotic.
Anyway, this recipe has been handed down for generations of eldest sons of the Chan clan. My grandfather’s father made this dish in the railroad work camps in the Sierra Nevadas for fellow paper sons seeking fortune on gum saan, easing the suffering of being thousands of miles from their families in the motherland, often reminding them of the very same dish served in ancient bronzes to the emperors of dynasties long ago. Enjoy!
Hot Dog Fried Rice
- 3 c rice; jasmine, basmati, or long grain
- 4 hot dogs; beef hot dogs are the best
- 4 eggs, scrambled
- 1 12 oz package of frozen peas and carrots; you could use fresh peas and diced carrots but this is yellow trash cuisine
- green onions
- soy sauce
- cooking oil, I use canola since it doesn’t add flavor, but feel free to experiment
- sesame oil
- white pepper, ground
- chili sauce (optional)
Cook rice in rice cooker; if you don’t have one you’re a loser, get one. Rice cooked a day in advance is the best for fried rice, it’ll be dried out and have a slight nutty texture when fried. You basically want to have a 1:1 ratio of stuff-to-rice. 3 cups should give you more rice than you need but that’s okay since too much rice is better than too little. Heat up some cooking oil in a large wok, frying pan, or skillet (from now on referred to as WPS) for the peas and carrots; don’t use too much oil (theoretically you could use multiple WPS but again, this is yellow trash cuisine and theoretically you should only have one WPS if you’re even that lucky). Cook the peas and carrots until tender. While that’s cooking you can prep the other stuff; slice the hot dogs and green onions, and scramble the eggs. When the peas and carrots are done, transfer to a large bowl. Fry up the hot dog slices. When the hot dogs are done, transfer them to the same bowl. Now you’re ready for the eggs. Fry up the eggs, swirling around with a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the egg into bits. Before the eggs are fully cooked, transfer them to the same bowl. Mix up the contents of the bowl. Now you’re ready to fry up the rice. Add oil to WPS. Add a few scoops of rice to the WPS; you might have to do this part in batches depending on how big your WPS is and how much stuff and rice you have. Add the stuff in a 1:1 stuff-to-rice ratio. Add soy sauce and more oil if necessary to prevent the rice from sticking to the WPS; the rice should have a glean to it. Don’t overdo it with the soy sauce since you can add more later if needed. Add sesame oil for a bit of flavoring. Add pepper and for more kick, the optional chili sauce. Mix it all up; at this point everything is cooked so all you’re really doing is heating things up. Garnish with the green onion.
The above is called The All-American for obvious reasons. Experiment with these variations:
- The Hippie — substitute TVP, tofu, or tempeh
- The Vegan — same as The Hippie without eggs
- The Pilgrim — substitute leftover Thanksgiving turkey, shredded or diced (fond childhood memories)
- The Jesus — substitute leftover Christmas ham, diced (ditto)
- The Hawaiian — substitute diced Spam (tasty!)