How fried rice drove me insane (Part 3)

June 1st, 2010, 9:55 pm PST by Kat

Following Saturday’s soul-crushing family conversation about my Ama’s fried rice, during which I was informed of additonal, never-before-mentioned fried rice ingredients and cooking techniques, I have to say that I was at my wit’s end. There may have been a few instances that I sat in a ball and ricked back and forth. However, Sunday was a new day, and I was determined to take another shot at the rice on Tuesday, for Pam’s dinner night. This way I would have another set of taste buds to either confirm or reject my latest attempt.

Sunday almost killed me. We decided to start at the T&T on 1st and Renfrew (or is it Rupert – anyways, one of the R-streets). After circling both the bottom and top parking lots a couple of times without any parking luck, we decided to try somewhere else. The nearby Superstore was our next stop. Ample parking, but we couldn’t find the Wing Wing Chinese sausage anywhere. After asking a few employees, we found other Chinese sausage, but no Wing Wing. What we failed to take into account was that Wing Wing sausage was on sale last weekend, so of course there wasn’t any left! I was starting to get a little nervous. I’ll admit that conspiracy theories involving my family, The Great Canadian Superstore corporation, and the company that owns T&T were going through my head. I believe at one point I may have accused Greg of being in on it too. He pointed out that he voluntarily went to Superstore on a Sunday with me to buy the sausage. I thought that was a little suspicious, but I let it go with a warning that I was watching him. We then went to Metrotown which had both a Superstore and a T&T – ended up buying the Wing Wings at T&T (my family would be appalled that I didn’t save the 10 cents at Superstore, but I didn’t think I could get Greg to go into 2 Superstores on a Sunday). Sausages: check!

To deal with the meat drippings, I marinaded a couple pieces of chicken on Sunday night. Thank goodness I knew my Ama’s marinade recipe – again, not so much a recipe, more like mix stuff together and keep tasting it until it tastes right. Meat marinading: check!

On Monday night I roasted the chicken and collected the drippings. The meat doesn’t actually go into the fried rice – just the drippings! Anyone need two cooked chicken breasts for anything? Meat drippings: check!

Since you need cold cooked rice to make the fried rice, I also cooked the rice on Monday night so that it would have a chance to sit in the fridge for Tuesday night’s main event. Rice cooked and cooled: check.

So today was the big day. I had all of the ingredients (at least all of the ingredients that my family has chosen to tell me about). I have to admit I was a little scared to start cooking. I was seriously going to lose it if this rice tasted nothing like my Ama’s. I would be okay if it wasn’t perfect – I was just hoping to get closer than I had before. Yes, not such a lofty goal, but keep in mind, I’ve been doing this for almost 6 years – no point in getting my hopes up too high. So I started with the sausages in a large pan. I needed to get them to release their oil so that I would have oil to cook the eggs and fry the rice. They were cooking, but they weren’t giving up any oil. I was starting to panic. Pam called my Ama’s house and we were told to prick the sausage. So I made them into pincushions. After a while there was enough oil to barely cover the pan (it was a big pan though), so we pulled the sausage and I poured out the oil, leaving enough to scramble the eggs. I had a good feeling about the dish when I smelled the reserved sausage oil, and it instantly reminded me of my Ama’s kitchen. As Pam sliced the sausage and cut up the eggs, I added the rest of the oil back into the pan and added the rice. It didn’t seem like enough oil to fry the rice, but I wasn’t going to give up hope. We added the cut-up sausage and egg back into the pan, seasoned with only a little bit of salt (I think the sausage oil was pretty salty) and only 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar and…

… after almost 6 years, I, with the help of Pam and Greg, had finally done it. I made my Ama’s fried rice! The dish that has eluded me for so many years has finally been conquered. I have to admit, I did do a little dance of joy.

In the end, the ingredient that I was missing was not something you could actually see. The pivotal ingredient was the oil from the Wing Wing Chinese sausage! Aunt Daisy said that if you use a different brand it doesn’t taste the same. I don’t know whether I believe that or not, but I’m not going to go out of my way to try it. My dislike of Chinese sausage had made it previously impossible for me to make her fried rice! I tried two slices of the sausage again today – *blech* I still don’t like it. So now whenever I make my Ama’s fried rice, Pam will be receiving cooked Chinese sausages.

As for the meat drippings, I figured my Ama probably used them when she didn’t have any sausage on hand, and therefore didn’t have any sausage oil. I made a second batch of rice with vegetable oil, some of the chicken drippings, rice, egg, salt and sugar. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t THE rice. It was actually closer in flavor to my fried rice and my Ama’s.

We decided that we’re going to make Ama’s fried rice again next week for dinner night. I will also make black (seaweed) soup to go with it, which was one of Ama’s staple soups. Pam and I are very excited. We called my Ama’s house to share the good news. My Aunt Daisy was happy and my Ama was too – especially when I said that I would go over and make some for her.

And so my epic fried rice journey has come to an end. I’m annoyed that it took this long, but in a way it’s probably for the best. I now fully appreciate this fried rice and will be extremely happy every time I make it. 🙂

6 Responses to “How fried rice drove me insane (Part 3)”

  1. Eugene Says:

    Hooray, I won’t be whacked!

    But seriously, how could you not like Chinese sausage? Does. Not. Compute. I applaud your persistence though. Victory is so much sweeter after a long struggle.

    Really? You don’t like Chinese sausage?

  2. Kat Says:

    You like Chinese sausage?! Blech!

    I think Greg described it as dessert sausage – it was the sweetest Chinese food he’s ever had.

    I think it’s the sweetness and the chewy texture that I’m not a fan of. I like the smell of it, but not the taste.

  3. tina Says:

    Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You did it! You cracked the Da Vinci code of fried rice!! 😉

    You *must* make some for Oli and me when we visit in July.

    Also – I’m with you on the sweet chinese sausage. Darren makes a version of fried rice with the sausage and also pineapple. Both combined will fool you into thinking it’s the pineapple giving the rice its syrupy goodness. That’s the only way I can handle it.

    🙂

  4. PhilB Says:

    Woohoo! I don’t know about Chinese sausage, but in general, to get sausage to give up the maximum fat, cut them up *before* frying.
    This is also useful if you need to make a roux, like for biscuits and gravy.
    Phil

  5. Angelica Says:

    Huzzah!! Very happy for you 😀 Also, I’m always happy to eat leftover chinese sausages ^^

  6. Eunice Says:

    nom nom nom nom love chinese sausage!!

    YAY KAT!!!