Ameya Kulkarni, a student at HEC Paris experienced a lightbulb moment, and several such in the last one year. He realised that mastering the trials of ‘studying abroad’ requires not only academic prowess but also a mastery of the culinary arts. So, even if you've never set foot in a kitchen before, here is how you can have fun cooking with Ameya’s tryst with pots and pans, and quick recipes which we have been published in a series of articles. Here’s the fourth and final part:
Many would consider this statement blasphemous but to me Fried Rice is the Asian version of Pasta. A staple for quick and convenient college meals, fried rice centres around rice, which is an affordable and easy-to-cook base accommodating any meat or vegetable from your refrigerator. Just like pasta, you can cook a whole bunch of it at a time and portion it out over multiple meals, making it easy to meal prep for a busy week. Moreover, it also serves as a complete meal, saving time in both cooking and eating.
You can plan your grocery shopping and select your ingredients in such a way that you are able to fulfil your nutrition needs. The beauty of this dish lies in its customizability, allowing you to cater to your tastes. The most basic version will only need salt, pepper, and soy sauce, but you have the freedom to add flavouring agents like garlic, sriracha or schezwan, and making different variations. If you want to save even more time or go for tried and tested options, you get packets of fried rice spice mixes which you can stock up in India and use abroad. I recommend looking at a few brands like Ching’s and Nilon’s. Fried rice can also be paired with a gravy if you prefer it that way. All the possibilities also make it an appealing option for when you are cooking dinner for friends or guests.
Cooked Rice (leftover or cold rice works best, but any type will do)
Chopped garlic (optional)
Vegetables, Meats (Any of your choice):
Onion (recommended for enhancing flavour)
Assorted vegetables (e.g., capsicum, carrots, or a bag of mixed frozen vegetables)
1-2 Eggs (beaten)
Your choice of meat (previously stir-fried until cooked)
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chopped garlic and onion to the pan. Fry them until the onion becomes translucent and releases an aroma. Next, add the remaining vegetables and stir-fry them all together.
Push the vegetables to one side of the pan to create space for the eggs. Pour the beaten eggs into the empty side and cook while scrambling them. Season the eggs with salt and pepper as they cook.
If you've chosen to include meat, add it to the pan and mix it with the vegetables and eggs.
Now, add the cooked rice to the pan and thoroughly combine it with the vegetables, eggs, and meat.
Pour a few spoons of soy sauce along the edges of the pan, letting it trickle down the sides. Ensure the heat is at least medium-high, as you should hear the soy sauce sizzle.
After letting the soy sauce sizzle for a few seconds, stir-fry the entire mixture for at least 5 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
Take small tastings during the process to adjust the seasoning according to your preference. You may add more salt, pepper, or soy sauce at this stage. This is the time you should add any additional spices or sauces you desire.
Enjoy your meal!
The author is now pursuing a Master's in Management at HEC Paris while also completing an MScT in Data Science from École Polytechnique.