Leftover saga – Fried Rice

Leftovers are like Tuesdays, inevitable. Sometimes you have a full meal left behind, that one is easy. Next day’s lunch. Other times you end up with parts of the meal. For this recipe I’m referring to the former.

Remember that yummy ham I made? Well, we ate it for a couple of days, but it kept showing up. Add to that some cooked white rice and a new meal was born!

This time I will not give you a precise recipe. It isn’t necessary. Think about ingredients you like in fried rice, then raid your fridge and make happy. All you need is the rice, a meat, the veggies you like and soy sauce. Honestly, there’s no science to this one.

Ham Fried Rice

Cooked rice (I had about 4 cps)
Ham, chopped (about 2 cps of the protein you’ll use)
Bacon, diced (2 slices)
1 large onion, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
Soy sauce
Garlic powder
Most veggies you like will work here

To your wok or skillet, add the bacon and cook until lightly golden. If not using bacon, add oil to the wok and go to the next step.

Add the veggies–this time I only had onions and scallions.

Add the meat/protein you’re using and cook until heated through. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add a few drops of oil (if needed), then add eggs. Swirl eggs around the wok, scrape them around in the same way you would make an omelette. Mix into the meat/veggie mixture and set aside.

Make sure the wok is quite hot, add 1 tbsp oil then the rice. Fry and stir constantly to coat rice well. Add soy sauce, for this amount I used about 2-3 tbsps. Stir it in and continue to cook and allow the soy sauce to evaporate.

Sprinkle some garlic powder…this is where I channel the artful BeniHanna chefs, and this step is optional. Again, make sure to stir it all in and well.

Now add the meat/veggie mixture. Stir it in and serve.


See, Dad? I can Bake Ham!

Every year, my dad would get a turkey and a ham. He worked for the Panama Canal Commission, and that’s how they showed some appreciation. So, he’d show up, turkey and ham in hand and then he would cook them.

Cooking was mom’s territory, until recently, but Dad always handled the grill, omelets, the turkey and the ham. He would rub and rub, mix and pinch until we ended up with delicious dinners. I recently asked him about it, turns out my memory was pretty good. This is pretty much the way he did it, except I added some Herbs d’Provence… I love the stuff! Would you like me to share my dad’s recipe? I’m gonna anyway, so here goes.

Dad’s Baked Ham

1 6-8 lb cured, bone-in ham (not sliced)
4 garlic cloves, whole
1/4 cp ginger, sliced

It is a good idea to cook the ham for a bit to get some of the excess salt/brine out. Add the whole, unpeeled garlic and ginger to a stockpot, place the ham in it and top it with water. Just before it begins to boil, lower the temperature, there’s no need to make it boil, you want to keep it at a very slow simmer. Allow it to cook for about 45 minutes. If it’s not completely submerged, simmer it for 20 minutes on one side, then flip and simmer it for another 20 minutes. Remove it from the water and allow it to drain and cool.

For the glaze, mix together:
1/2 cp brown sugar
1 14 oz can pineapple, crushed
1-1/2 tsp crushed chili pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp Herbs d’Provence

Preheat oven to 325°. Make a foil tent by folding 2 pieces of foil together, make sure they’re large enough to wrap the whole ham. Once the ham is cool enough to handle, score ham into diamonds and stud with the cloves.

Place the foil tent over a baking sheet and put the ham, fat side up, on the foil. Spread 1/2 of the glaze mixture all over the ham, taking care to make sure in seeps into the scores. Don’t worry if there’s liquid pooling at the bottom. Actually, that’s perfect as it will perfume the ham as it builds steam.

Tightly fold the foil around the ham, try not to squish it onto the ham or all the pineapple goodness will end up stuck to it. In the oven it goes, allow it to bake for 40 minutes. No need to check on it.

After the initial baking, remove the ham from the oven and raise the temperature to 400°. Spread the rest of the glaze over the top and sides of the ham, and place it back in the oven, only this time leave the foil open. Bake it for another 15 minutes or until it is nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and transfer the ham to a cutting board or serving platter to slice. I like to save the juices and fruit at the bottom to put over the ham when I plate it.

That’s it. You’re gonna love this one!

Cookingly yours,

Leftovers to the rescue!

I cooked a ham and ended up with quite a bit of leftovers. Once we tired of having it the same way it had been conceived, I froze it and put it out of my mind. It was time for dinner and I had no clue what to do since I hadn’t pulled anything out. Then I remembered the ham and thought about making it into fried rice. Then I remembered how much I’ve been wanting to try Biryani: essentially Indian fried rice.

I did a search for it and  found this recipe from Thas, I made a few changes, the first being the substitution of lamb for cooked ham. The link takes you to the original recipe, but below is what I did to it. You can substitute any leftover cooked meat for the ham.

Ham Biryani

First make the rice
3 cps Basmati Rice
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
5 cps water

Rinse the rice, while it drains, melt the butter and oil in a medium pan, then add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves and fry it a bit. Add the rice and fry it for a few minutes until the grains begin to turn white. Add the water and salt, allow it to boil and when it begins to dry, cover the pot and cook on low. Allow the rice to steam for 20 minutes or so, then fluff with a fork. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Prepare the ham – in a bowl, combine the following ingredients and set aside:
3 cps cooked ham, cubed
1 tbsp chilli powder (all I had was ancho chili, so in it went)
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Coriander powder
2 tsp Garam masala
juice of half lemon/lime

Let’s make it all happy, mmmkay?
3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cp raisins
1/3 cp cilantro, chopped
1/3 cp white wine
2 pinches saffron strands (bloomed in 2 tbsp milk for 15 minutes)

Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the raisins and cilantro and cook until the raisins plump. Finally, add the ham and wine, stir and cook covered over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Add the rice over the ham mixture and work it in to combine all the ingredients. Once all the rice has been added, pour the saffron milk over it all. Stir, cover and lower temperature to low for 5 minutes.

aaaaaand you’re done!