A little lady once taught me how to make rice the right way. The ratio: one cup of rice, to one and a half cups water. The process: wash it first, until the water is transparent; in a pot, add the rice and water and bring to a boil; turn the flame down to a simmer, cover the pot for 10 minutes; turn the flame off and leave covered for another 15. It is important that the rice be fluffy, but not damp.
Making fried rice is like painting a blank canvass; I experiment with ingredients, in an attempt to bring color, flavor, and texture to the white rice base. And, it is always good to strike a balance — elements of sweet, salty, crunchy, and umami. This time around, I caramelized Shiitake mushrooms in sesame oil and ginger and toasted some cashews to start. I added the essential egg, and scrambled. I quick pickled some shallots and dried cranberries in umeboshi (japanese pickled plum) vinegar, and added them at the end with some chopped arugula and soy sauce. Then I mixed. I filled two tupperware dishes and to finish, I topped each with a few slices of salt & sugar pickled kirby cucumbers.

Shiitake Fried Rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger, minced
A large handful of Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced, stems off
3/4 cup Cashews, chopped
1 egg, scrambled
1/4 cup baby arugula, chopped
Soy sauce, to taste
For Pickles:
2 shallots
1/2 cup dried cranberries (cane sugar if possible)
1/4 cup Umeboshi (plum) vinegar
water, to cover
salt & sugar, to taste
2 kirby cucumbers, sliced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
For both pickles, cover with saran wrap and let pickles sit in the brine for at least a half hour. They will get better with time. Add ingredients to a large wok in this order: oil, ginger, mushrooms, cashews, egg (scrambled), rice, shallots & cranberries, arugula, and mix. Make sure the rice is cooked crispy before you remove from heat. Top with sliced cucumbers.
There stood lunch for a couple days:


One Response to “This Week’s Lunch–Shiitake Fried Rice”

  1. Akiko says:

    It is a very exciting and original combination of ingredients for fried rice. Being brought up with the typical Japanese style fried rice, I wouldn’t have been able to think in such an original way of making a fried rice! It looks delicious. Thank you, Nate!