I always loved those books. :)
A great thing about fried rice is that not only can you use all your leftovers (cold rice is best for this dish so as not to have mushy fried rice), but there are no exact measurements needed. I watched my Mom make this dish growing up and was equally intrigued and confused as she threw in spices, sauces and seasonings at what seemed at random. Somehow, the fried rice always came out just right. When I asked her in college to send me the recipe so that I could impress my friends with my Asian culinary skills, she went a little silent then told me I was a fool for asking...there is no recipe - you have to "spice by sight." OK.
After some trial & error, I think I have it down. The vegetable add-ins and meat are usually decided at the spur of the moment. Because I am going out of town I tried to use up all the vegetables in the house. For the following recipe, I'll let you choose your own veggies, and here's a picture of what I used as a guideline.
For the meats, I only had a little stir fry pork leftovers, so I threw that in as well. I usually like to add chicken and shrimp. Though again, I urge you to choose your own adventure here! Lastly, there's a special ingredient in here that many of you may not have on hand. Kecap Manis is a sweet soy sauce from Indonesia. It has a much thicker consistency and sweeter taste than the typical soy sauce and is available in most Asian grocery stores. A popular brand is ABC.
Choose Your Own Adventure Fried Rice
2 cups cold cooked rice (white or brown)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 egg, beaten
assorted vegetables finely chopped (i.e. -cabbage, carrots, broccoli, bean sprouts)
assorted meats (again, choose your own - chicken, shrimp, pork)
2 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
cilantro sprigs (optional)
Generously coat a large wok with cooking spray and heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and onions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remainder of vegetables and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. If you are incorporating meat, add it here and saute until done.
Add the kecap manis, soy sauce, ketchup and rice and stir until combined and heated through, about 4 minutes. Make a well in the center of the rice and add the beaten egg to the middle. Allow the egg to set for about 1-2 minutes and then incorporate the egg into the rice until cooked through. Continue flipping the rice with a spatula, until hot. Ensure that you scrape the bottom of the wok to loosen any rice that has crisped on the bottom. Serve with Cilantro sprigs, if desired. Enjoy!