Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Petai (Stinky Bean) & Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage) Fried Rice

One of my favourite ways to cook is simply looking in the fridge, seeing what's knocking about and concocting a little treat out of unusual suspects. As simple a dish as it may seem, there is an art to making fried rice, it's one of those Asian staples that everyone has got some opinion to. This time I had two ingredients which let's say, are often known to incite foodie debate.

The first is petai which I can't find any other translation for other than stinky beans! That's exactly what they are. Like the notorious durian, the lines that divide preference are very clear. They are much like uber garlic pellets with a far more prolonged aftertaste and odour. And like asparagus, you notice it when you hit the loo. Despite their unglamourous sounding selves, I am quite partial to a good petai dish. They are fantastic paired with other strong flavours like sambal belacan, chilli and curry too.

Another either-you-love-it-or-hate-it ingredient (we have lots of these in Malaysia, don't we?) is lap cheong or Chinese sausage. For the uninitiated they are cured and waxed meat, mostly pork, having a distinctive sweet and almost herbal taste. It really adds a lot of oomph to any dish and I like using it as a base note to my fried rice in the same way one uses bacon or anchovy to a risotto.

1 large brown onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 lap cheong pieces, sliced (Tip: pour boiling water over the sausages to remove wax and skin. This also makes slicing so much easier)

[Fried rice should really have a strong "base", so use ingredients that will flavour the oil. Garlic and onion are a must and if you don't like lap cheong, try belacan (shrimp paste), ikan bilis (dried anchovies) or pork lard]

1 carrot, diced
A handful of green beans, diced
1 small handful of petai, roughly chopped
2 eggs
Salt, white pepper & soy sauce, to taste
4 portions of cooked rice, usually leftover from the night before

[If you do cook rice fresh for this, make sure to leave it out for a while after its cooked. This makes it drier and prevents the grains from sticking together]

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan, preferably a wok. When hot, add garlic, onion and lap cheong. All should sizzle gently and their fragrance should fill the room.
2. Add carrot and green beans. Stir so nothing catches the wok. Cook for about 4 mins on a high heat. We want our veg to still be crunchy.
3. Add petai, stir until it's integrated amongst the other ingredients. Add rice and keep stirring, making sure it's all wonderfully mixed. Season to taste.
4. Make a well in the centre of the wok, crack the eggs one at a time into the well and beat rapidly so they cook to become little shreds. Mix into the rice again.

When serving, I love having sliced chilli as a condiment mixed with fish or soy sauce for a customised kick. The result should be a savoury rice mix, pungent from the petai, punctuated with a herby lap cheong and slightly eggy. Life's too short for ordinary fried rice. 


Sean said...

i remember sometimes coming home from school to a lunch of sliced lap cheong with plain steamed rice ... and maybe later for dinner, my grandmother might cook sambal petai with prawns as our main dish. but i don't think i've ever had lap cheong and petai together on the same plate. intriguing :D

Hungry Female said...

For some it might be a deadly combo but I really think the flavours work well together!

The Sudden Cook said...

HI! Your post is super timely as I just purchased some lap cheong and hoping to make lap cheong fried rice. Noticed your tip on poring boiling water on the sausages - do we need to let them soak or anything?

Hungry Female said...

Hi there! No need to let it soak, I just put the lap cheong into the sink and steadily pour a stream of hot water from the kettle over it. The skin should look "looser" and some of the wax should have dissolved. You'll find the skin easier to pull away too. Happy fried rice making! Thanks for stopping by! HF

Pan Cuisine said...

Hi There! i am so excited to find your blog reason for my excitement is the use of petai in your recipe. I'm from northeast india and we call it Kampai and love...love this beans in our chutney and with pork. This is one interesting recipe, should try :) thanks for sharing. Do visit my page too...hugs