When I was in the Air Force, I was stationed in South Korea for two years – where I met my late wife. After Korea, we lived in Okinawa Japan for another 6 years. I’ve enjoyed Korean food for over 20 years, and since my wife passed away I’ve learned to recreate some of my favorite dishes. I’ve also started experimenting in ways that I’m sure would have scandalized my late wife.
This is one of those experiments. A stir fired rice using fish and Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay Seasoning is something I grew up with in South Texas, and while I was stationed in Mississippi. It is the taste of my youth, crab boils, and fish frys. And it goes together surprisingly well with fish fried rice.
- Anaheim peppers (red and green), fresh from my garden.
- Minced Garlic
- Half a chopped onion
- A fillet of Tilapia – cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- A little Kielbasa – cut into small pieces
- Frozen cubed mixed veggies
- 2 cups of cooked white rice
- One egg, well beaten
- Sesame oil
- Oyster sauce
- Serrano Chili powder – from my garden
- Old Bay Seasoning
1) Add olive oil to either a heavy bottom pan or wok, and heat over high heat.
2) Add garlic and onion. Stir fry until light brown.
I purchase minced garlic in a jar, like this. It bypasses all the work of preparing garlic, and it tastes much better than powdered garlic. Plus you can brown it. You can find it in larger jars if you use fresh garlic more often. I love the garlic flavor in fried rice, so I use two tablespoons of garlic.
3) Add the fish, Kielbasa, veggies and peppers. Stir fry for about 3 minutes.
The idea here is that the fish and Kielbasa is cut into smaller cubes so that both cook quickly.
4) Add a tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning while continuing to stir. This flavor mixes well with the fish and sausage flavors.
5) Add a teaspoon of chili powder while continuing to stir. You might want to omit this step if you don’t enjoy hot stuff. Or, if you are like me, you might choose to increase this amount!
6) Add the rice. Stir fry about 3 minutes
Of course rice is what makes this Fried Rice – but rice itself can be an issue. Long grain, short grain, boiled in a pot, cooked in a rice cooker. Americans are used to long grain rice that falls apart on the plate, while Japan and Korea is used to short grain rice that sticks together, and can be formed into sushi rolls. When I lived in Korea and Japan fried rice was made with short grained rice out of the rice cooker. To do this, it was dropped in a lump on top of the other ingredients in the pan, and then the edge of the edge of the spatula was used to “cut” the rice into smaller and smaller portions, stirring and turning until all the rice is coated with the oils and ingredients. Any remaining balls of rice are further “cut” into the mix, until it all achieves a “fall apart” consistency.
If you don’t want to take the trouble of boiling your rice, or purchasing a rice cooker, then you could use pre-packaged, cooked rice. I’ve done this with Korean rice and enjoyed the results. However, it is an expensive option, and I don’t think it is quite as tasty as a good brand of short grained rice from a rice cooker.
7) Add the egg, let it cook while stirring the rest of the pan, then mix it in.
Koreans will often add a fried egg to the top of fried rice. Sunny-side up, or over easy, or just beaten like a plain omelet. Japanese will often cook the egg next to the fried rice, and then mix it in. I like to have it mixed into the fried rice. The idea is to make a space to cook the egg, so that you get chunks of cooked egg in the rice. You can keep the rest of the rice moving as you stir it, and then as the egg gets firmer, you can mix it into the rest of the rice.
8) Add two tablespoons of Oyster Sauce. Stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Be careful in this step! The rice and the Oyster Sauce will both want to caramelize. Keep stirring to prevent this!
9) Remove from the heat, add 2 teaspoons of Sesame Oil, and stir.
10) Plate and serve!
I love how this comes out – I love how the aromas of Old Bay Seasoning and garlic and Kielbasa and fish mix together.
You can garnish with chopped, fresh green onions. Some people like to add cheese to this too.
Eat it with a spoon! In Asia, no one really tries to eat fried rice with chopsticks unless they are being silly. I was told that eating fried rice with chopsticks is seen as a bit gauche.