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  1. Instead of just reheating leftovers 剩菜 on day two, why not give them a new face? It’s easy to transform them into a tasty and attractive fried rice 变成炒饭。 A few days ago I made a large batch of stir-fried mushrooms and spicy green peppers. Came out good. Ate it as what Chinese call a “gaifan” dish 盖饭 (as shown below right.) Had all I wanted for supper, but some was left in the fridge. Next day I finished it up as fried rice 炒饭。It’s a good trick to have up your sleeve, and today I’ll show you how. Here's the original dish, as shown above left: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58735-yunnans-termite-mushrooms-鸡枞菌-jizong-jun/?tab=comments#comment-456710 Fried rice works best with day-old rice. The Chinese term is 隔夜饭 (translates as “last night’s rice.”) The texture and moisture content of rice that’s a day or two old makes it easier to handle in an application such as this. The typical Chinese family always has some day-old rice on hand. Use more rice than you think you need; the volume of the rice should be greater than that of the other ingredients. I usually add a touch of color, in this instance one small diced tomato. Spread the cooked rice in a thin layer on a large plate and spend a couple minutes breaking up any lumps with a spoon or your gloved fingers. Don’t wait and just try to do it later on the fly when your pan is over the flame and everything is moving fast. Heat a pan or wok to medium-high, non-stick is OK, add a small amount of oil. This doesn't require the blazing high heat of an authentic stirfry 炒菜, so an electric burner will get the job done. Mix the leftovers with the tomato bits. Heat the contents thoroughly, until they begin to sizzle. You want the flavors of anything new to combine fully with those of your leftovers. Now push the mushrooms and peppers to the sides and spread the rice all across the central portions of the pan. Break it up with your spatula, rapidly alternating between pressing with the flat part and chopping with the edge. (It won’t work if you just dump a large clod of cold cooked rice directly into the pan. Your dish will never recover.) Gradually combine the rice with the mushroom mixture, continuing to work out any lumps. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. If you do this with your sprinkling hand held high, it distributes better. When everything is well mixed and heated through, serve it up. Mound it loosely onto a plate. That’s all there is to it! I garnished with what was supposed to be a rose carved from the outer layer of a ripe tomato. I watched a chef do it on TV but realized later it was not as easy as it looked. By the way, it’s normal on the Chinese mainland to eat fried rice with a spoon. You will get odd looks if you struggle along valiantly with chopsticks. The closeup shot is to show how most of the grains of rice are only in small clusters, no big clumps. Professional chefs sometimes boast about how every grain of their signature fried rice 招牌菜 is separate and distinct. Afraid I have not reached that level of skill. Making a chao fan 炒饭 is an easy way to “repurpose” the contents of those mysterious small plastic containers hiding towards the back of the bottom shelf your fridge. If your leftovers are skimpy, you can stretch them with a scrambled egg or two. The most reliable way to do this is to scramble the egg alone as a first step and then remove it. Just cook it a little bit; you want it soft and tender, though not runny. Just add it back at the very end. Hope you will give 剩菜炒饭 a try at home.
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