So, it was my birthday yesterday. I turned 34, and feel no different to when I was 33 years and 364 ¾ days old. I’ve never been in better shape – I’m fitter and more flexible than I’ve ever been. However, I find that the older I get, the immature I get. I find the silliest things funny – yes, I’m just a child trapped in an adult body.
I celebrated my birthday by gorging myself with food. Although I love to cook, I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen on my birthday, so settled for Belgian sugar (Liege) waffles, English toffee, coconut cupcakes and a dinner of comfort food – white rice, pan-fried tinned (canned) corned beef and garlic baby bak (pak/bok) choi. Yes, you read it right, WHITE rice and corned beef – you can judge all you want.
You will find the recipes for the waffles, toffee and coconut cupcakes at their associated links. This post is merely for my comfort food dinner.
Corned beef is another one of those food items that is named differently within the UK and US. In America, corned beef is what is known as salt beef brisket in the UK. Tinned (canned) corned beef still exists, but it’s a little more obscure. Since I shop at what people call a “hipppy” store, you can’t find it there. Anyhoo, I had to go to a lower-end supermarket to find it.
In the UK, corned beef can be found in delis, as sandwich (lunch) meat or in tapered rectangular tins, often made in South America. It’s made with minced (ground) beef and is crumbly and salty. It’s known as a “poor-man’s meat”, but the prices I’ve recently seen has made me think a little differently. I’ve seen 340g (12 oz) tins (cans) varying from $3.99 to $6.99!
When growing up, corned beef was a treat. Yes, I said a treat. My mother used to slice it thickly, and pan-fry it until it was meltingly tender on the inside, yet crisp on the outside. We’d have it over rice, and sometimes when she was making a big batch of fish cakes, she would have leftover mash, so we’d have it with that. Later, when I left my parents home, I used to make corned beef hash. This is a pan-fried mixture of onions, corned beef and cubed potatoes. Sometimes, I even threw in some peas… I used to eat so little fruit and veg, it now horrifies me thinking about it!
No doubt, that many of us crave the foods that we used to eat as children. It brings a certain sense of comfort to one’s life. This is why J requested pancakes for his birthday. With me eating healthily almost 95% of the time, eating naughtily makes me grin wildly. After all, it was my birthday! I love to burst the egg yolk, let it dribble all over the rice and mix it in. The combination of plain rice mixed with egg yolk, together with the salty and crispy bits of corned beef is to live for. I prefer this type of food to eating out any day!
PAN-FRIED CORNED BEEF AND EGG OVER RICE WITH BABY BAK CHOI
- 200 g (1 c and 1 tablespoon) white jasmine rice
- 1 (340g, 12 oz) tin (can) high-quality corned beef, chilled and cut into 6 slices
- 2 duck eggs (if serving 3, use 3 eggs)
- 800 g (1 ¾ lb) baby bak (pak/bok) choi, cut into halves or quarters if necessary, keep heads intact
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- groundnut (peanut) oil for frying
- sesame oil for drizzling
- salt and pepper
1. Cook rice as per packet’s instructions.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
3. When the rice is cooked, keep warm.
4. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Place corned beef slices into the pan and fry 5-6 minutes per side, or until crisp on the outside. Be careful when flipping the beef, it’s pretty fragile.
5. About 10 minutes before serving, boil bak (pak/bok) choi for 3-5 minutes, or until tender with some crunch.
6. As the bak (pak/bok) choi is boiling, heat 1 tablespoon groundnut (peanut) oil in a large frying pan. Fry garlic until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.
7. Drain the bak (pak/bok) choi and dump them into the garlic pan. Stir fry quickly and season with salt. Transfer to a deep dish and drizzle with sesame oil.
8. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Add ½ tablespoon groundnut (peanut) oil and fry eggs until the eggs are set, but the yolks are still runny, about 3-4 minutes.
9. To serve, divide the rice into bowls, top with slices of corned beef and the fried egg. Serve alongside the choi. Enjoy!