Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 57! Fiji(Suva)(AU-Oceania)-Fijian Spicy Fried Rice with Shrimp - Up Next, Finland (EU)

Rice and Fish are as inseparable as mother and child - Vietnamese Proverb
I could eat like this every day. Any dish that includes ginger, garlic, curry and chilies I consider to be directly descended from the heavens above. Once you get the prep down, cooking Fijian (or any kind of Asian, Malaysian, or Polynesian food) is a snap, and the end result is both beautiful and delicious, if not a religious experience.

While most people have heard of Fiji, I'm willing to bet that few know that Fiji is actually made up of 300 mountainous islands, only 100 of which are inhabited. Each distinct island is inhabited by a culturally diverse mix of Polynesian, Indian, Melanesian, Chinese and European people. Known as "the crossroads of the Pacific", Fiji is located southwest of the Equator in the southwest Pacific Ocean. If you wish to go there, it's about a 10 hour flight from Los Angeles.

It follows, then, that the cuisine is influenced by all of these different cultures to form a wonderful mix of sweet, salty and spicy dishes. Ingredients commonly found in Fiji's cuisine includes yam, breadfruit, cassava and taro root. Beef, poultry, pork and seafood are used to prepare a multitude of mouthwatering dishes I wish I could sample daily.

I decided to make a Spicy Fried Rice with Shrimp recipe, partly because I already had all the ingredients on hand, but also because my boys begged me, really, what could I do?
Galangal root, shallots, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste - mmmmm

Add lime and it's sublime

Heat chili paste until fragrant, then add carrots and cabbage

Scramble eggs in a nice hot wok
Add rice, peas, shrimp and sauce - combine till hot then serve it up!

Dinner - a beautiful fragrant, spicy, sweet, salty blend, topped off with fried shallots


Fijian Spicy Fried Rice with Shrimp
Adapted from Williams -Sonoma Asian cookbook
  • 3 each: shallots and cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 fresh hot red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. peeled and chopped fresh glangal 
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • 2 Tbsp. each fish sauce and sweet soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain white rice (cold)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 4 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
  • 2 cups diced napa cabgage
  • 1/2-1 lb. shrimp-deveined, then cut into 1/4 in. dice
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 fresh or frozen English peas
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced and fried crisp
In a mortar or mini cuisinart, combine the shallots, garlic, chilies, galangal and shrimp paste, gradually adding 3 tablespoons water as you work to a paste.
In a small bowl, stir together the fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, lime juice, and chile sauce. Set the mixture aside.
Cool rice, and press out any lumps.
Bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil. Add carrots an cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In a large wok or sauté pan over high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the canola oil until almost smoking. Add the chile paste and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the cabbage and carrots and stir-fry until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and continue to stir-fry until they just turn opaque, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
Return the pan to high heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp. oil. When it is hot, add the eggs and scramble until just set, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and peas and return the cabbage mixture tot he pan. Stir-fry until the rice is heated through, 5-7 minutes.
Pour in the sauce mixture and continue to sauté until the rice is well seasoned, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the rice mixture to a warmed bowl, garnish with the fried shallot, and serve.

Final Assessment: Fantastic - a complex blend of wonderful flavors - sweet, salty and hot on the tongue. Satisfyingly filling, but not heavy. A+


Suzanne O'Neil said...

Looks so yummy! Love the photos.

Young Werther said...

Lovely fried rice.. I usually use overnight rice (leftovers)...