And then, she took out a pear
This is a guest post by Meryl, my talented little sister who has come to Mumbai to figure out life, studies, career and get a break from all those things too.. life, career, studies.. Between being the bullied guinea-pig, working out what she wants to do next, watching television, being subject to endless discussions on food, force-fed every half an hour and being the sous-chef, she sweetly volunteered to write a post for Bombay Chow-party. I am sure you wont miss me.. 🙂
My three sisters and I are quite mad about food. We eat, we talk about eating, we think about eating, we make mental lists of foods we’d like to try, we watch food shows, we eat. Amongst other things (or so we would have ourselves believe). That our family runs a restaurant cum bakery chain in Ernakulam only fuels this passion. However I didn’t realise how much I had underestimated the degree of this obsession till my Chow-party sister decided to turn her life around for this love. As I write this I have a niggling urge to check on the other two and see what food dreams they are secretly harbouring.
Conversations with Ms. Chow-party can swiftly turn from reflections on the world, people and life lessons learnt to ‘what shall we eat today’. ‘What shall we eat’ she asks with the same gravity and thought a person would give to the question ‘what am I doing with my life’. In her case, I think, the two are interchangeable. Her kitchen has a life of its own, churning out a whirlwind of deliciousness faster than Willie Wonka can say chocolate. Every morning I am enticed with paranthas and sabzis, paneer softer than butter, roasted vegetables on bruschettas, crisp waffles with fresh cream and cherries for breakfast.
Until one morning I smelt the makkhan melt on another lovely parantha and my stomach grumbled for rice. Yes, people, RICE. FOR BREAKFAST.
She, who needs no excuse to cook, jumped into action. And just like that ingredients from everywhere in the kitchen were flying into one pan. Rice that had been cooked for lunch, assorted herbs, arugula leaves that had been kept away for a salad, bacon and sausage from the freezer, fried and tossed in. It was looking good, It was smelling so good. And then she took out a pear. Now knowing her and eating her food means that your palate is no stranger to curious combinations of food. And yet, sliced pear in rice? The rice conservative in me crossed her eyebrows and made a face.
But fear not! I have lived to tell the tale and how! The pear adds a lovely crunch to the stir fried rice and a subtle sweetness that only adds to the overall flavour. One spoon and you will not stop eating till you polish off that plate.
Pear and Bacon Fried Rice with a fresh tomato salad
This is one of those recipes that you can throw together in a jiffy. A quick one dish meal it’s not only delicious but also fairly complete as a meal (fruit, greens, starch and protein). A firm fruit and a crunchy nut along with the peppery arugula is what lends the dish a distinct note. You can go ahead and try other fruit and nut combinations. Almonds and apples should work well. Add lentil sprouts or blanched beans for crunch. Jazz it up with some roasted mushrooms. Replace the bacon and sausage with chicken (but really, WHY would you want to do that?) Experiment with you favourite herbs.. I would want to throw in some thyme.. do your thing and do let me know how it goes.
The tomato salad that follows is nice fresh counterpoint to the rice and adds a subtle sweetness that works well with this dish. The salad is a staple in our house anyway and goes well on toast to form a bruschetta and tossed into spaghetti to form a fresh summery pasta salad. Do give the salad shot, I promise you will not let go of it. Not even if they take away all your bacon..
The pear and bacon fried rice
Steamed Rice – 2 cups
Pear, diced – 1
Walnuts – 1/4 cups chopped roughly
Bacon – 10 rashers, cut into small squares
Pork Frankfurters – 4, cut into one inch pieces
Oregano – 1 tsp
Finely chopped garlic – 2 tsp
Soy Sauce – 1 tblsp
Arugula – small bunch
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper – to taste
1. Heat olive oil and add in the garlic and arugula. Remove and keep aside.
2. Add the bacon to the same pan and fry till it renders its fat and is crisp.
3. Once the bacon has crisped, add the sausage and stir till brown.
4. Throw in the rice and walnuts. Stir fry till rice is well heated through.
5. Add oregano, soy sauce and plenty of pepper (preferably coarsely crushed). Stir the seasoning well into the rice. Add salt to taste.
6. Add the pear and stir fry for a few minutes till the pear is juicy but still has its freshness and crunch.
7. Stir in the arugula or arrange as a bed below the rice before serving.
The fresh tomato salad
Tomatoes – 3, seeds removed, finely diced
Garlic clove – 1, finely diced
Extra virgin olive oil – 1 Tblesp
Fresh basil leaves – 5, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Dash of Lemon (optional)
1. Toss together all ingredients and let marinate for atleast 15 minutes. Season well to allow the salt to draw out the juices from the tomato. Serve.