Why It Works
- Transformed rice helps guarantee fluffy, separate grains with little to no stickiness.
- Including inexperienced bell pepper in direction of the top of the cooking course of lends the dish a recent, vegetal taste.
- Partially cooking the rice first in Nigerian inventory infuses it with savory taste, whereas the second cooking combines the rice and greens, bringing the dish collectively.
In my private top-five record of Nigerian rice dishes, fried rice―a light-yellow hued rice dish strewn with greens―is vying for the highest spot with white rice, jollof rice, coconut rice, and Ofada (a candy fermented rice). Like jollof rice, this widespread dish is cooked at residence and at eating places equally, and is ever current at events and particular occasions.
Nigerian fried rice appears, feels, and eats like a dish that’s a cross between golden turmeric Indian pilau and vegetable-studded Chinese fried rice. It isn’t shocking that Nigerian fried rice is an amalgam of influences; each Chinese language and Indians have lived in Nigeria because the Thirties and Seventies respectively, and have contributed to Nigerian meals tradition, notably spring rolls and samosas, that are everlasting fixtures in small chops, a group of Nigerian appetizers served at events and celebrations.
Selecting Your Instruments
Whereas its title could evoke photos of fiery woks and smoky wok hei, these parts don’t come into play in Nigeria’s model, which as a substitute makes use of a heavy-bottomed pot or sauté pan as the usual cooking vessel. Right here, the specified result’s extra pilau than stir-fried: particular person grains of rice which might be cooked by way of however not mushy interspersed with tender, well-seasoned greens that maintain their form.
To perform this objective with ease, it’s essential to start out with the correct of rice: converted, or parboiled, rice, like Uncle Ben’s Authentic rice or golden sella basmati. This type of rice has been par-cooked after which cooled and dried. The par-cooking course of absolutely gelatinizes the starch molecules within the rice grains, which is only a technical manner of claiming that the rice is cooked till the starch granules swell and soften. As soon as cooled and dried, the starch goes by way of a course of known as retrogradation, which is similar phenomenon that causes bread to turn stale. The end result are dried grains of rice that cook dinner up extra separate and fluffy, with little to no stickiness, than their uncooked rice counterpart. This kind of rice additionally does an amazing job of absorbing seasoning, a top quality that lends itself nicely to taking up Nigerian fried rice’s signature golden hue.
For the greens, it’s widespread so as to add carrots, onions, bell peppers, inexperienced peas, inexperienced beans, candy corn, and even mushrooms. Whereas protein is just not explicitly known as for in Nigerian fried rice, I’ve loved variations with diced hen and thinly sliced beef. As for the cooking liquid, Nigerian inventory is primarily used however one may also use water and even coconut milk for a pronounced coconut taste. It’s typical to season the rice with curry powder and dried thyme, which add aromatic warming spices and colour. Past this, there are not any arduous and quick guidelines and variations abound, from plain fried rice merely studded with onions, carrots, inexperienced beans, and peppers all the way in which to a surf and turf model starring small shrimp and fried cow liver.
After I was rising up, my mum made fried rice on Sundays. It was her well-known ‘take a look at kitchen’ dish that she liked to experiment with, making an attempt out new suggestions and methods she’d come throughout, like utilizing totally different sorts of transformed rice to toasting the rice beforehand, to staggering the addition of greens, and altering the spices. Whereas no two pots had been equivalent, her cooking methodology usually stayed the identical: She virtually at all times softened the greens in sizzling oil and added a handful of chopped inexperienced bell pepper in direction of the top, which had been left to steam within the remaining minutes of cooking. The peppers remained vibrant inexperienced and lent a recent vegetal taste and aroma to the completed dish.
This recipe is sort of precisely like my mum’s, save for the coconut milk, a tip I learnt from watching my good friend Timi make hers. It provides a touch of creaminess which my youngsters like. Serve with dodo, moi moi, and fried or grilled hen alongside.