Breakfast for dinner: Herring-ed fried rice

Fine, I admit…I’m no expert homemaker. I know how to cook, yes…know enough to cook basic food. Months ago, I joked at my mom that once I’m living on my own, every night is breakfast night, since I consider breakfast-cooking the quickest and most basic of all food-making techniques. And the laziest.

True enough, living here in Leuven for more than a month has made me a breakfast-dinner person. I cook breakfast for dinner, no kidding. And, no, I don’t mean the whole buttered-toast-with-jam variety, but the more Filipino kind of breakfast: garlic fried rice, fried/scrambled egg, and pan-fried cold cuts (bacon, salami, ham–yes, after 5 years, I will have a nitrate problem). But sometimes, the cold cuts get to be quite boring…I’ve cooked adobo twice for myself, as well as pork sinigang (thank God for Mama Sita mixes!), which would last me for 3-4 days, and even my odd four-spice ground meatspuds (for a later post).

And sometimes, even the fried rice can get boring, too. So when I had a lot of leftover smoked herring from a previous dinner (bought at Carrefour in Kessel-Lo because I miss eating a bit of fish), I thought of whipping this dish–herring-ed fried rice.

A red herring? No, this is the mixed herring fried rice!

Materials:
– Leftover smoked herring, shredded and deboned (herring has a LOT of bones, like bangus or milkfish)
– Frozen vegetable mix (I used the “minestrone mix”-carrots, haricot verts, potatoes, zucchini, edamame, leeks)
– a tablespoon of butter
– pepper and/or salt, to taste
– dried minced garlic
– Leftover steamed rice

Methodology:
– Melt butter on non-stick frying pan. Add the shredded smoked herring. Season with salt, pepper and dried minced garlic. Sautee properly.
– Add an amount of frozen vegetables (depends on how much veggies you want in the fried rice). Mix with the seasoned herring at medium heat until the veggies are cooked.
– Make a well at the center of the fish-veggie mix. Add the leftover rice. Fold the fish-veggie into the rice until everything is mixed and the rice is lightly “fried”.
– Serve as is, or with additional viands. (Featured on the photo: scrambled egg [with milk!] and three salami slices.)

Discussion:
Frozen veggie mix. Let’s face it–I can’t take the time off in buying fresh vegetables, which would end up mouldering in the communal fridge until I get inspired to use them. The minestrone mix is something very handy to have in the guerrilla-cooking arsenal in the communal kitchen–it has all the basic veggies like carrots, beans, potatoes and a bit of leaf–because the overall flavor of the mix is neutral. Don’t get the frozen mixes which have cream or any kind of fancy seasoning–they cost more and there’s a possibility that their own flavors would clash with the dishes you want to cook.

Wrapping Up.
The only mistake I made is the amount of pepper–the holes in the pepper bottle were so effin’ huge that I couldn’t do the normal “dash”.

When I did this dish (which I ate as is), I still had leftovers for the next night, which I augmented with, as usual, breakfast fare like scrambled egg and salami. The smoked herring packed a strong flavor which was tempered by the veggie mix and the rice, and blended well with a bland viand like scrambled egg.

My assessment is that this kind of fried rice is substantial enough (in terms of content and flavor) to stand on its own or to be paired with simpler fare–like breakfast. Hehe. 😀

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