things I can cook
This week, my best friend Cerella ran a series about the enjoyment of food and how closely that is tied to our personal life stories. In her first post, Hidden Talents, she made the statement that “everyone has SOMETHING they can make well” and I realized that she’s right. Even I, who does not cook but once a month maybe, have a small repertoire of dishes that I can make perfectly, every single time. My favorite is a Japanese fried rice that I learned from my college roommate and loved so much that it immediately became my go-to meal. The dish had been a mainstay in her Japanese family for generations, something quick to cook from staples in the pantry, but she could only tell me the name for it without ever being able to spell it. As a lover of words and a person obsessed with correct information, the fact that I could never write out the name of the dish was a persistent irritation, but it never prevented me from cooking it. Today, while preparing this post, I finally found its true name online. And so I present Eggs Cha Han (pronounced eggs KA hahn), a fried rice dish featuring bacon, onion, and eggs. I’m fairly certain the “eggs” part of the name was a family thing among my roommate’s clan, but the dish is a keeper for lovers of pork and rice. Which I am. This is the dish I make when I don’t want to cook but need something that will yield leftovers. For me, it is pure comfort food. And it’s a dish that can be eaten for dinner or lunch or even breakfast. Over the years I’ve made my own adjustments in measurements (which is actually “to taste” and never actually “measured”), but the recipe is exactly the same today as it was 18 years ago when I first learned to make it. On my personal menu of dishes I can make, this one ranks number one.
Eggs Cha Han
I always make a large skillet of eggs cha han so that leftovers are abundant, and that means I use a full pound of bacon, one large onion, and a rice cooker full of cooked sticky short grain white rice. (For me that’s usually 5 cups dry rice.) The directions are super simple: chop bacon and onion, cook in skillet until done but not crispy, then add rice and stir together. Crack open three eggs over rice mixture, then stir until mixture is fully coated. Pour shoyu (soy sauce) over rice mixture, sprinkle liberally with garlic powder and black pepper, then stir together again. Continue stirring and turning mixture over and over until all ingredients are fully mixed together. Cook in this manner until eggs are completely cooked through and shoyu/garlic/pepper is stirred into mixture. Add more shoyu, garlic powder, and black pepper until the taste is pleasing to your palate. The flavor and texture will be that of a fried rice. And that’s it!
Step by step photos give you an idea of how the dish should look. Click each image for a larger view. And then take some time to make this dish! It’s truly simple (obviously, if I can cook it) and yummy yummy yummy. Enjoy!