The first time I was in a Chinese take-a-way as an adult (I still can’t reconcile that word with myself…) I was in my early 20’s and at University in Belfast. My Academic contemporaries and I had spent the evening discussing the finer points of Shakespearean soliloquies over long-drawn coffees and French cigarettes…..wait….no..that’s not right…..no, it was Howard Marks’ ‘Mr Nice’ and cheap fortified wine..there was cigarettes though but I doubt they were French…we my have pilfered them from the French department……
Anyhoo, the walk home was staggered by a visit to the Golden Dragon Chinese take-out which featured an entire menu section where everything was prefaced with ‘Special’……not one to ignore curiosity and the opportunity to cajole an innocent I quizzed the guy behind the counter through one squinted eye-ball and a winey wobble…….
“These specials you have my good man (hic)…..what makes ’em so special then”?
“I made them monkey boy…now what you want”?
Ingredients – makes enough for 2
Special Fried rice paste
1/2 medium red onion diced fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tps tomato puree
2 tps minced ginger
1 tps sweet paprika
1 tps chinese 5 spice
20 mls Sesame oil
1 tps Light Soy Sauce
200 grams cooked white rice (pre-cooked weight)
12 fat tiger prawns cleaned and tailed
100 grams fresh garden peas
Pinch of chili flakes
25 mls Chinese rice wine
20 mls chicken stock
So this is essentially a special fried rice dish but I super-jazz the whole thing up with a fried-rice paste that takes things into a whole new dimension. So start there…
Add the paste ingredients to a mortar and pound to a pulp, leave to one side.
Next get the Tigers done, add some sesame oil to a wok and get ‘screaming hot’ – then add the prawns and flash fry until they curl and take on a deep contrast pink – about 2-3 minutes then finish with the rice wine and stock, reduce a little then remove to a warm dish.
Next add the paste to the same wok and ‘cook out’ for about 1-2 minutes then add in the cool cooked rice and combine really well. Finally add the prawns and their liquor along with the peas and gently amalgamate everything until fully warmed through.
Serve in a huge pile and think to yourself….”now, that is special”………….