Coming from a Korean family, I’ve learned that eating noisily with gusto is how you should eat. It shows you enjoy the food and the company you’re with. I’ve shared meals with people who take meager, infrequent, and quiet bites that make me feel uncomfortable and painfully conscious of my body as I eat. No, not conscious of my body weight or anything like that. But rather, instead of thinking about what I’m tasting and why I like or dislike the food, I’m thinking about: Is there too much food on my fork? Does so-and-so think I’m eating too much? Should my hands be on my lap and my elbows off the table? These are not things that one should be thinking about while enjoying a meal. Life is too short not to enjoy delicious food, so my philosophy is always eat food you enjoy and always enjoy the food that you eat. (Also, as a side note, another important philosophy: Always eat in moderation. Enjoying too much food can have adverse effects.)
With that being said, I will always try anything at least once before I decide whether or not I like it. Otherwise, I run the risk of passing up something truly worth enjoying. Brussel sprouts is one of those experiments I had awhile back. I never had them growing up so I decided to purchase a bunch and test out some recipes. I tried roasting them in the oven, but it didn’t quite do it for me. I was afraid that perhaps I was defeated — that brussel sprouts was going to have to be added to my short list of disliked foods. But being the frugal person that I am, I didn’t want to waste the rest so I decided to make some fried rice with it since fried rice is my ultimate comfort food. And what do you know? It was good. The whole thing was real good. Brussel sprouts and everything. Turns out, I like them.
Fried Rice with Brussel Sprouts (serves 2)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil (+ extra for cooking the eggs)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 clove of garlic, minced
1″ knob of ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups cold rice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs, beaten (optional)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Sesame seeds (optional)
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Add onions and brussel sprouts and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the onions start to go translucent and the brussel sprouts begin to turn a bright green. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil and stir well to combine for about 3-5 minutes. Push the rice mixture to one side of your wok and then add more oil if needed. Pour in the beaten eggs and scramble until mostly cooked. Then toss everything together and season with coarse salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.
The trick to good fried rice (or any kind of stir fry) is to cook everything quickly over high heat and make sure to keep everything moving constantly so nothing burns. The vegetables aren’t meant to get cooked until soft, but are meant to still have a bite to them. This is why it’s important to keep the heat high, ensure the oil is hot before you add anything, and invest in a good wok if you can. Also, I recommend using cold rice because freshly cooked hot rice will make the fried rice a bit soggy. Cold rice seems to just fry better. If you only have fresh, hot rice available, then just cool it down as much as you can before you add it in. Lastly, I find that seasoning with coarse salt tastes better because you get nice pops of saltiness sprinkled throughout the fried rice that just tastes better than having the salt distributed within the dish. Just a personal preference though.