QUARANTINE DIARIES, COMFORT FOOD & ALL THE SMALL THINGS THAT KEEP US GOING
Comfort food from Athens: egg fried rice from Alvinos, because we don’t just eat souvlaki over there.
Head straight to the recipe.
A few words about you and where did the quarantine find you?
I currently live in Athens, Greece. Quarantine lockdown hit me while traveling across the country for various crap, but I misunderstood the seriousness of it all because I was focused on other things and stopped following closely the news closely for some period (to the betterment of my mood and overall wellness). If I knew the seriousness of the situation I might have planned accordingly.
What did it change for you ?
Not much changed for me personally, but certain things that were on my schedule were pushed back…who knows for how long. Living alone though with all my friends out of reach certainly impacted my mood. Yeah skype calls are good and all, but when everyone you talk to is in such a shit mood…shit’s contagious.
How many loo-rolls can you count in your cupboards?
Enough to last me for a couple of months. I never panic-buy and I always stock-up essentials. Well, unless apocalypse really comes knocking my door I think I’ll survive.
Comfort food: egg fried rice
One of my favourite dishes to prepare and enjoy is fried rice. This Asian street food is easy and quick to make, and delicious. It was one of the first non-european dishes I tried to make at home, with added bonus its versatility and ease to prepare. Even if it’s coming from the far east it adaptable to our western food palettes.
It’s a pity to pay a handsome 7 euros apiece in semi authentic ‘wok’ eateries of Monastiraki when you can make it at home in less than 15 minutes, make it tastier and without having to fish out of the carton box the pieces of meat.
Variations come aplenty as this is not exactly a recipe, but mostly a concept. Similar to that of pizza, it’s not exactly a recipe but the core idea that you can adapt to different foods you like. For this dish you can have noodles or rice. Pork or chicken or prawns. Soy sauce, teriyaki or sweet chilli. As well as all the veg that lark in the back of the fridge. The variations are plentiful and below is the basic egg fried rice along with some tips and personal preferences.
Egg fried rice
- 1 chicken fillet
- 2 portions of rice (eg jasmin rice)
- 2 eggs
- Soy sauce
- Start by slicing the chicken in thin stripes so that it takes less than five minutes to cook in your frying pan. Plus, if the portions are big it will weigh itself down to the bottom of the dish. We obviously don’t want this, but instead we aim at finely chopped ingredients that will mix well together.
- You can boil the rice at the same time if you are into multi-tasking.
- Then get a non-stick frying pan (or your wok if you are that cool :P) and cover with oil ( I prefer olive oil), just enough to cover don’t allow your ingredients to swim in it. Heat it up and when the oil is hot throw in your chicken pieces. We need the oil to be hot so that it sizzles the meat, seals it and keeps it moisture and full of flavour. Keep an eye on your chicken and turn to cook each side for a couple of minutes. Since the oil is piping hot and we have small portions it will all cook super quickly. Put the meat off with soy sauce and you are ready. You can now set it aside.
- Get rid the excess oil from the pan and pour in just a bit more. Add the eggs. Salt and pepper as move with a spatula just the way you make scrambled eggs. Make sure you cut in smaller pieces and set aside.
- Your rice should also be ready by now. Back into a clean frying pan, this time on medium heat, stir in the cooked rice. You don’t want the oil to be too hot, you will end up with something similar to popcorn. Simply sizzle, add a bit more soy sauce for flavour and colour.
- Next comes the cooked chicken and egg. Follow with any vegetables you like. Chop them finely and add them in raw.
- Ideally we want the proportion of rice to the rest of the ingredients to be 50-50. Personal preference for vegetables is half a finely chopped onion, a tomato (seeds off) and a few steamed peas. Corn and mushrooms also go well.
How do you cope?
Mooostly fine. I mean, I don’t really have any real problems since my financial situation for the forceable future is mostly ok, but 2 months of near-isolation and mainstream news is like fucking torture. And the atmosphere in the streets is just horrendous. A mixture of fear, anger and empty bellies is a lethal combination. If anything walking these last few days around the block makes me feel shittier than staying indoors. The best and worst thing that happened to me is that the local pizza place I frequent is closed for the time being, so I started cooking home frequently again. (which helped me loose 7 pounds)
Where will you go eat once this madness is over?
I am getting better at making my own dough, so the plan is to make homemade burgers and invite people to my home. I don’t see the restaurant business thriving this summer anyways.
Share a wish, just so we can finish on a happy note.
This is gonna be a rough year, let’s hope things don’t get too bad. Let’s not let fear and anger overtake us
From Athens with love,
PS: If you wish to be part of my quarantine cuisine diaries and share your experience on Eat Yourself Greek (EYG), please drop me a line here. Thanks, Eugeniaby