I often get asked to list my top tips for stir-frying. Really, it’s about understanding heat or what we Cantonese like to call “wok hei” (woks’ air), and how to manoeuvre the heat around the wok in a certain way and at the right time. If you can control your heat through flicking and tossing your wok or folding and turning your ingredients at the best time, you will soon be able to sear the outer edges of your food on an incredibly high heat, without burning it, and impart a slight smokiness into your stir-fries. Making a fried rice is the perfect example for this and I liken it to learning how to make an omelette as the first task you should learn in a classic French kitchen.
For the rice
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten
- dash sesame oil
- pinch salt
- handful lettuce or cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- handful green beans, sugar-snap peas or mangetout, finely chopped
- 50g/1¾oz frozen petit pois, thawed
- 150g/5½oz cooked jasmine rice, cooled in the fridge, grains separated
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, plus extra to serve
- 2½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 1–2 tsp Chiu Chow chilli oil
For the sauce
- 1–2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Combine the beaten eggs, sesame oil and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the sauce, mix the light soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the lettuce or cabbage in a bowl of ice cold water. This will help to crisp up the leaves and provide a crunch to the finished dish.
Make sure you have all your ingredients prepared and ready. You can set them all up clockwise on a large plate in this order – eggs, carrot, beans, petit pois, rice, sauce and spring onions. This makes it easy to remember what order to add things to the wok. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wok over a high heat. Once smoking hot, pour the eggs into the wok and allow them to bubble up. Turn the heat down to medium-high, then gradually fold the egg into the hot oil to form a ‘rippled omelette’.
Push the egg to one side of the wok. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil and, once smoking hot, add the carrot, followed by the rest of the vegetables, stirring and leaving 30 seconds in between each addition. Add the rice, turn the heat back up to high and mix well, trying to separate the grains with a spatula or ladle to remove any large clumps. Add the sauce and stir-fry for a further 2–3 minutes until all the sauce has absorbed into the rice. Stir the egg through the rice and veg.
Pile the rice high in a bowl or keep warm in the wok, scattered with the remaining spring onion. Shake the excess water off the lettuce or cabbage, clump it in the palm of your hand and arrange it on the top of the rice. Drizzle over the Chiu Chow chilli oil and serve.