Friends, these are crazy times. In Illinois, we are officially on lockdown due to Coronavirus. While we are afraid, I’m already seeing signs of hope and grace in the midst of great pressure. I’m sure I will be writing a lot more in the days and weeks (and months) to come. For those not in critical fields, time to think and write will be plentiful. My first thoughts are about how to help and the only way I know how to do that is to connect through food. So, I’m going to be posting what I’m cooking and will include recipes and links when I can. We’ve got some time to cook so let’s have a little virtual cooking club. BYOB. I’ve logged out of Twitter and removed it from my phone for my own general sanity, but check out Cuizoo on Facebook for alerts about what’s for dinner!

Today we will be doing Cuizoo Cooking School’s Hibachi-Style Fried Rice with Yum Yum Sauce. It’s delicious and super flexible. I use Japanese Medium Grain Rice and cook it ahead in a rice cooker, but any type of rice will work and feel free to just cook it on the stove. Just make sure it’s well-chilled when it’s time to fry it. You’ll want to use a big wok, but if you don’t have that, grab a big frying pan or stock pot. This makes a lot and is fantastic for leftovers. But if you have teenagers or college kids at home, don’t plan for leftovers. Mix up the veggies, use leftover chicken or pork, and add anything else that you might want. If you don’t have fresh ginger, use ginger powder. If you don’t have mirin, a splash of sake or white wine with some honey will work in a pinch. Or throw all of the ingredients in an Amazon Fresh cart, cross your fingers, and hope that you can make it sometime in the next week or two!

Fried Rice Secret Sauce 
Makes enough for one large batch of fried rice

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup water
¼ cup Mirin (Japanese Sweetened Sake, available in Asian section)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for about ten minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Hibachi Style Fried Rice
Serves 6-8 as an entree (and great leftover!)

3 cups medium grain white rice (Calrose or Japanese brands are best), cooked according to package and chilled for at least 4 hours or overnight
½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon, softened 
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 eggs, whisked to blend
½ large onion, chopped (or 1 medium)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 batch of Secret Sauce (above), cooled
1 ½ teaspoons salt (more or less to taste)
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons Mirin 
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Other veggies, cooked chicken or leftover chopped meat, if desired
Additional butter and canola oil

Combine fresh ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Put half of the ginger and garlic in a bowl with 4 T softened butter and mix to combine. Reserve other half and set aside. 

In a wok or large saute pan, melt about 1 T of butter over medium heat and cooks eggs omelet style (scrambled is fine too). Remove, chop or slice, and set aside.

In the same wok or pan, heat 2 T of canola oil over medium high heat and add the other half of the ginger and garlic mixture. Stir fry until fragrant. Add chopped onions, red peppers, and other “sturdy” vegetables you might want to use (save greens or tender veggies for the end). Stir fry the vegetables until just tender. 

Add the rice and stir fry to combine with veggies and break up any clumps of rice. Add about ⅓ of the Secret Sauce and stir to combine until well mixed. Repeat with remaining Secret Sauce. I usually add it in three additions and stir fry for about 10 minutes. Add in salt and pepper and stir well. 

When rice is thoroughly combined and heated through with Secret Sauce, add in butter/garlic/ginger mixture and melt throughout, stirring well. Taste for seasoning. Add additional 2-3 T of mirin and more salt and pepper if needed. When ready to serve, add in chopped scallions, chopped eggs, sesame seeds, cooked chicken (if desired), and any other veggies or herbs you are using. Taste one final time and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with Yum Yum Sauce on the side.

*The key to making the rice flavorful (like in a restaurant) is usually salt, sugar, and butter! It’s not the healthiest approach, but that is what makes it extra tasty for a special treat! You can also add some hot sauce or Sriracha Sauce if you want spicy fried rice. 

Hibachi Yum Yum Sauce

1 ½ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients to combine and chill for about an hour before serving with fried rice and grilled meats and/or veggies.

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