I love my food to be spicy and flavorful.  Many times, I find some cooking too bland for my taste.  Not to say that I don’t appreciate subtle and delicate flavors, I do as long as they are well-seasoned.  It is amazing to me, how taste buds can vary so much.  What is bland to me might be spicy to someone else.  By well-seasoned, I do not only mean spicy, I also mean the salt content.  Yes, salt is bad for you, but to the point where your food has no real taste?  Sometimes, I really ponder about these things.  Strange?

It’s just how my taste-buds are, I guess.  I like powerful flavors, just how I am drawn to bright and vibrant colors.  My rendition of fried rice is just that–powerful.  Savory, sweet, herbacious, and last but not least spicy.  It is in the style of Pakistani Chinese cuisine, sometimes called, Hakka Chinese.  It is of course not at all authentic Hakka Chinese, but a corrupted and masala laden version of it (in my opinion, at least).

I used ketchup, cauliflower, turmeric, and long green chilies, an out of the ordinary combination to add to fried rice, but it works.  I do not use ketchup often, not even for for French fries, so my addition here is only because it adds a great taste component.  When you are stumped on cauliflower, go Pakistani.  The South Asian flavors go so well with the bland nature of cauliflower.  Ginger and cauliflower are soulmates, I do not know how or why this pairing works, but it is one of those things just does.  Also, to keep it a little healthier I used brown rice and could hardly notice the difference.  Use any vegetable and/or meats/seafood you like or have on hand, anything works!  🙂

Sesame Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice with a South Asian Twist

Serves 2

Ingredients

vegetable oil

1 cup of brown rice (dry), and then cooked according to instructions and cooled in the refrigerator

1 chicken breast, in small chunks

1/2 a red onion, chopped

5 cloves on garlic, roughly chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

1/2 a head of cauliflower, in small pieces

2 cups mushrooms (any variety), sliced

1 long green chili, sliced on an angle

1/2 a bell pepper (orange, red, or yellow), in chunks

1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

1 egg beaten

2 scallions, sliced on an angle

fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

For the sauce combine all the following ingredients together:

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons Vietnamese chili garlic sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup, preferably organic

2 tablespoons chili oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low-sodium)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

pinch of turmeric

salt, if needed

(Extra soy sauce and hoisin sauce may be needed for the end when tossing in the rice)

Method

Saute the onions on medium high heat in a wok or large skillet until they start to become transparent.  Next, add in the garlic and ginger.  Turn heat down so that the garlic does not burn.  Add in the cauliflower and the chicken and allow them to cook, about 5-7 minutes.  Next, add in the sauce and let it to coat the chicken and cauliflower.   Toss in bell peppers and green chilies or any other vegetable you may be using.  Also, at this point, add in the toasted sesame seeds.  Cook until the chicken is done.  Move the contents to the rims of the wok and fry the beaten egg in the middle so that it is like an omelet.  Then, using your spatula break the egg up into strips and toss in the chicken and vegetables.  Turn up the heat and toss in the rice, scallions, basil, and cilantro.  If necessary, add more soy sauce and hoisin sauce to the rice.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, a sprinkling of chili oil, scallions, basil, and cilantro.

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