Sunday, April 8, 2012

Great Fried Rice in Zurich

Ok, so there are 2 places that I know of that have great fried rice.  Two others I thought had really good fried rice until I discovered the other 2 (the fried rice at these two is still good, I just feel that the other two are better).  If you want to go out and buy it, it will run you about 12 chf. Your other option is to make it, and I have finally found a great recipe for it. More on that in a little while.

First, I've had fried rice at two different restaurants in the Zurich area.  Hua Hin Thai in Wollishofen, and Lily's in Zurich, a little way behind the Hauptbahnhof.  I thought both of them were decent, compared to some of the others that I've tried.  I really like Hua Hin Thai better. We used to live nearby, and the waitstaff was excellent and so were the other dishes. Lily's was rather full and expensive for what you got, though if you haven't been, it's worth going to.

My next experience with fried rice was on a walk around the lake over near the Chinagarten.  I liked this place so much that I was willing to walk from the Wollishofen side of the lake all the way around to it with my one month old son. Took us about two hours. Yes, it's that good.  The only problem is that it doesn't seem to be open all the time, or maybe it was a fluke that the one time I convinced my friends to go it was closed.  Here's a picture of it
Definitely worth it.  They have lots of other things as well, and make it for you after you order it.  Plenty of grass to sit on, or down next to the lake.

The other place I've tried is more convenient, but not as consistent.  It's the Chiang Mai Thai Shop that I mention in my shopping page.  They have different things daily, so you may have to call to find out when they have it, but it seems to be once a week, but different days.  The food is excellent and the shop is a great source for your cooking needs.

On to the easiest of your options.  I was given a fantastic cookbook for Christmas, and have made quite a few things for it. Happily, most of the ingredients are readily available at Coop/Migros, and if not, then the Asian stores are not to far away.  If you like to cook Chinese food, I suggest the Ken Hom Complete Chinese Cookbook

I haven't followed his recipe exactly, mainly because I'm not a big fan of spicy things, and I haven't been to the Asia store in a while, so don't have everything, though I have found some alternatives.

What you need:
about 2 cups of long grain white rice
100g fresh or frozen peas (I like the gartenerbsen)
3 Tbls vegetable or peanut oil, divided in half
3 Tbls finely chopped shallots (about 2 large ones)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped garlic (or, you can buy a jar at the Asia store and keep it in your fridge to use)
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger (Coop/Migros)
3 Tbsp chopped green onions - white part
3 Tbsp chopped green onions - green parts
250g chopped (bite sized pieces) chicken - I use whatever is on sale
salt and pepper
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp fish sauce, or if you have it:

1 Tbsp chili bean sauce or paste (hubby uses sweet chili sauce mixed in to his serving)
2 tsp shrimp paste or sauce

I suggest having everything grouped together in the order that you need to add it, pre-chopped, diced, and beaten.  It makes it easier when it seems like you are in a rush to stir everything before things have the chance to burn.

Pre-cooking steps:

1. You can make the rice the day before if you would like. Otherwise, you need enough time for the rice to cool completely and be refrigerated.  You want it to be cold before you use it.

To make the rice, measure it into a pot, pour some water in and then strain the water out. Do this until the water runs clear.  Pour more water in until it covers the rice. Add as much as it takes to put your finger on the top of the rice and have the water come up to your knuckle (about a cup of water per cup of rice).  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down to the lowest setting and cook for about 15 minutes. The top of the rice will look a bit pockmarked.  Turn off the heat and let sit with the cover on for another 5 minutes.

Take the rice out and lay it on a cutting board or a large plate. Big enough to spread out all the rice so that it can cool.  Once cool, put in a bowl and place in the fridge until cold and ready to use.

2. Cook your peas if they are fresh or defrost them if they are frozen.

3. Chop or dice all your ingredients.

4. Combine the eggs with the sesame oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Beat until blended with a fork


1. Heat a large wok (a pan will work if you don't have one as long as it's large) over high heat.  Add 1/2 of the oil, and when it starts to smoke slightly, add the shallots, garlic, ginger and the white parts of the onions. Stir for one minute.

2. Add the chicken, 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken is done.

3. Remove and put on a plate/bowl.  Wipe out the wok/pan

4.  Reheat the wok until hot and add the other 1/2 of your oil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the egg mixture. Stir for about 2 minutes, until cooked.  Add the rice and cook for another 3 minutes, mixing well and chopping the egg into small bits as you go.

5. Add the peas, and cooked chicken. Add whichever sauce you have chosen (I only add the fish sauce since that is what I have, but the original recipe calls for the chili bean sauce and shrimp paste). Cook and mix for another 5 minutes.

6. Add the green parts of the onions, cook for a minute until well blended and then serve.

And enjoy!  It's even great the next day, cold out of the fridge!
Make this a side dish by leaving out the chicken.
Instead of chicken, use shrimp or pork as well. So many possibilities!