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11 June 2011

Riso Cantonese (Cantonese Rice)

Eggs, green peas, prosciutto cotto & rice.  These four ingredients make up the Cantonese rice or riso cantonese.  Adapted to the Italian palate, it is one of the most ordered food in the Chinese restaurants in Italy. In fact, I don't know anyone who goes to a Chinese restaurant here who doesn't order this along with involtini primavera (spring rolls), spaghetti di riso cinesi (Chinese rice spaghetti) and pollo alle mandorle (chicken with almonds).  And for an average person, these already connote the whole Chinese gastronomy.  Not so many venture outside these four-dish menu.  We order five so we join the rank of the adventurous.  But we have been ordering exactly the same dishes over the years. 

My one-year old devours rice like there's no tomorrow and instinctively picks away anything green mixed with it except green peas.  Maybe because they look like balls that amuse her.  I wonder why children have this natural aversion to vegetables.  And how they all learn on their own to dump the undesirable ingredients on their parents' dishes and give a conspiratorial look that says, "Between you and me, what I gave you is very good.  Go on, eat it."  Hold on, who's the parent here?

I just got my new, tiny heart-shaped cookie cutter and was excited to use it that I started to attack the block of prosciutto cotto and the scrambled eggs.   It was time consuming to cut the food to little heart shapes but the finished product came out nicely.  My husband was amused with the shapes.  I secretly think that he's worried I might start shaping everything that's edible in the kitchen.

Riso Cantonese (Cantonese Rice)

Serves 4
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 grams block of prosciutto cotto or cooked ham (You can adjust the amount.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 grams green peas (You can adjust the amount.)
  • soy sauce
  1. Boil the rice with 2 cups of water.  Set aside when cooked. 
  2. Meantime, prepare the other ingredients.  Slice the prosciutto cotto thickly, about 1 cm. each.  You can cube them, which is faster, or shape them by using small cookie cutters. Chop the parts that cannot be shaped anymore.  Set aside.
  3. Sautè the green peas in a pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs.  Cook them in the same pan you used to cook the green peas.  Leave it flat while cooking.  Invert when one side is already cooked.  Place on a plate.  Shape them with the cookie cutter.  Chop the parts that cannot be shaped anymore.  Set aside.
  5. In the same pan, or a bigger one that can accommodate all the ingredients, pour some oil.  When it warms up, sautè the rice.  
  6. Add the eggs, prosciutto cotto and green peas.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime.  Put some soy sauce according to taste.  Season with salt if still needed.