Learn as you go

Pork fried rice with homegrown snap peas presents a lesson learned.


Growing food requires patience and dedication; my goal was to use the snap peas I planted back in April in a fried rice recipe.

I found a pork fried rice recipe on allrecipes.com. The preparation for the pork and rice takes about an hour or more, with the pork marinating in the fridge while cooking the rice to be stored and cooled. The vegetables take 10 to 15 minutes to prepare, and I cooked enough fried rice for four servings.

Although I managed to get the recipe wrong by adding too many vegetables, like carrots and celery, to the dish, and misreading the recipe when I fried the rice right after it boiled and absorbed the water in the pot. This resulted in a bland, mushy mixture. I learned it is crucial to cool the rice in the fridge before frying it. The cooled rice breaks apart better in the pan, and doesn’t cling to the ingredients.

Learning from mistakes is what makes cooking fun and a learning experience. There are always new ways to combine flavors, and sometimes the best way to learn is through messing up a recipe.

Pork Fried Rice

1 pork chop, chopped into small cubes
4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided in half
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
4 cups rice, cooked and cooled
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups snap peas
1 Tbsp. ginger powder
1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Cut the pork into small cubes and marinate by coating in ¼ cup of olive oil and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, to be left in the fridge for an hour.

In a medium saucepan, cook the rice until tender and then cool it in the fridge for an hour and 30 minutes.

On a small cutting board, chop the garlic and onion to be set aside, then rinse the peas and chop the pepper and set aside in a small bowl.

In a large skillet, pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil at medium-low heat — cook the garlic and onion for five minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the marinated pork and cook until browned, season with the ginger powder and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce. Mix in the snap peas and pepper to cook for 8 minutes.

Bring out the cooled rice and toss in the sesame oil, add the rice to the pan and cook for three to five minutes. If you want more soy sauce and ginger powder, add another tablespoon to coat the fried rice mixture. After the right preparation, the fried rice will take about 20 minutes to cook, and will be ready to serve for an excellent eat-in meal.