“Very Special Fried Rice” from “Madhouse Cookbook”

I really wanted to like this recipe. I wanted to like this recipe so much that even after its disastrous first round that I tried it again. Alas, while it wasn’t as big a disaster the second time, it still wasn’t very good. Life is too short to be making bad food.

This recipe was like a date that was good on paper, but once you met him, it just didn’t work.


It should have worked because it has all the things we like to eat. Loads of vegetables? Check. Rice? Check. Chicken? Check. Asian influences? Check. And yet, it still didn’t work.

This recipe presents several problems. First, you need 250 grams of leftover basmati rice. Who ever has leftover rice in their refrigerator? I mean, we do, sometimes, but that’s only when we order a takeaway curry and ordered too much, but then we have leftover curry to go with it. But the “leftover” is key. I discovered that if you make the rice fresh, as it did the first time, the resulting dish is a big gloopy mess and not at all fried-rice like.

For the second go around, when I STILL didn’t have any leftover basmati rice, nor could find any in the ready made section of the supermarket, I decided I would try to the microwaveable express rice that they have. That seemed to work better, because it was a drier rice, which is probably what she was looking for. In any case, I didn’t have a gloopy mess, so that was progress.

The second big problem is the question of how many people it actually feeds. It says that it makes enough for “2 adults or 4 kid-sized portions”. That’s annoying for someone like me, who needs to make enough for two adults, one teenage boy and one 9 (nearly 10) year-old. The first time I made it, I doubled the recipe, figuring that would feed us all with some leftovers. How wrong I was. I had enough to feed any army. When I made it again, I only had to feed one adult, one teenage boy and one 9-year-old, so I followed the recipe and didn’t increase it. We had just enough for the three of us.

The third problem was the inclusion of PINEAPPLE– yes, you read that right– in the fried rice. I’ve never had pineapple in fried rice, and I don’t intend to start. I know Kirstin would agree with me, because she cannot abide any savoury dishes with fruit in them. Fair enough. A quick Internet search showed that some Thai fried rice dishes use pineapple, but still, it didn’t seem right to me.

So what’s the verdict on Very Special Fried Rice? Not so special in this house, I’m afraid.

“Very Special Fried Rice” from “Madhouse Cookbook”