Fried Rice with Peas and Snow Peas; learning new stuff

I love fried rice.

Like most of my dishes I modify it to suit my mood and the contents of my fridge.

The original recipe, that I found in one of my Chinese cook books many years ago, included the peas and the egg.

I added the sherry, shallots and snow peas…. It is spring, after all.

And I love fresh snow pease.

Fried Rice with Peas and Snow Peas

Total time: 30 minutes

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (3.3oz, 95gr) Basmati rice
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3oz (90gr) snow peas, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sherry

Fried Rice

 Instructions:

  • Cook rice in stock until done.
  • Remove from heat and uncover to cool slightly.
  • Put egg into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork.
  • Heat half of the oils in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add egg and scramble.
  • Remove egg to a plate and set aside.
  • Heat remaining oils and shallot, stir-fry 2 minutes.
  • Add snow peas and stir-fry 1 minute longer. 
  • Add rice, soy sauce and sherry.Stir well to combine and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add peas and stir-fry 2 minutes longer.
  • Break scrambled egg into chunks, stir into rice and serve.

Print Recipe

I learned some things this week.

Well, I learn new things all the time, but this week I learned that I’ve been wrong about stuff I thought I knew.

I hate that.

I don’t hate that I learned it, I hate that I was wrong for so long.

And it’s not that I hate being wrong (although I do) it’s that I hate having been, inadvertently, rude or impolite.

Curious yet?

I’ll explain the easiest bit first.

One only says ‘bonjour’ once per day to people. If one sees someone a second time during the same day one just nods and smiles or says something else. If one say bonjour again, the person will assume that one doesn’t remember seeing them and greeting them earlier…. which is a bit insulting.

If one does say bonjour, chances are they will look slightly shocked, at which point one back-pedals, apologizes, says ‘Oh, yes, we spoke this morning,’ etc. etc.

As to what one can say on the second (or third) meeting, my favorite is ‘re-bonjour’ or, for short, ‘re’.

The second is a bit more complicated to explain….

It’s about asking questions.

I was taught, back in the beginning of time, in high school / college French, that one asks questions by inverting statements.

As in the statement ‘You have stuff’. becomes the question ‘Have you stuff?’

One can also say ‘You have stuff?’ by raising your voice to represent the question and, finally, ‘Do you have stuff?’

But, and this is the important part, it was drilled into me that the proper, polite way is to use the inverted ‘Have you stuff?’  Yes, I know it sounds awkward in English, but the same method is used in Spanish…. Which makes it doubly drilled into me.

This whole bit came up in class Tuesday. My French French teacher (as opposed to my American French teacher) just kept saying ‘Really???? You say that?’

Apparently, the inversion method is very proper and very correct…. If I were asking President Hollande if he had stuff.

To ask the store clerk or the mayor or anyone else one should use the less formal, ‘Do you have….’

Which, of course is typical English phrasing.

I think I’ll remember now…. Until I get flustered, of course.

Actually, I think I’ll have glass of wine. I know that is ‘propre’.

10 thoughts on “Fried Rice with Peas and Snow Peas; learning new stuff”

  1. The pitfalls of speaking a foreign language and I am just starting with French! It happens even with your mother tongue in another country which is supposed to speak the same language.
    Peas are a favourite in this household.

  2. Not so much wrong as awkward. Your intensions are pure and I’m sure les Francais would give you a break because you are foreign, malheureusement.

  3. I walk past my concierge quite a few time a day – in and out of building – and always wonder how many “greetings” are OK before it gets silly !!! So I go for one in French, one in Arabic, then just a smile then start the greetings appropriate for evening !!

  4. Your stir fry looks yummy and nice and simple. I like that.

    I had a terrible time learning Spanish because of that inversion. I can still speak it somewhat, but I can’t write it and I have a terrible time reading it, I don’t think you were wrong at all. I think we’re all taught ‘proper’ in school, but because we’re not in conversational classes, we don’t learn the everyman’s way. Does that make sense?

  5. Gill, England and America – 2 countries divided by a common language.

    Zoomie, true – but it just emphasizes the foreignness LOL

    Kate, when we ride our bikes we often pass the same people many times…. I was glad to learn about the re-bonjour 😉

    nightsmusic, speaking Spanish makes it that much harder for me to not do it in French. Every time I think I’ve found a quick rule I find out it’s not so easy. Such is life!

  6. Oh I love this Katie! Both, no all three. I would know neither of the language things: re is great! Is the other the only time French and English approach being alike?!
    Now, I go off lamenting I have no cold left over rice in the fridge. I’ll be tomorrow before I can satisfy this craving you’ve given me. There is no take out where I live either.

  7. Oh dear. I fear that I am perennially incorrect. Except with the wine. Then I’m most propre. (How handy to learn about rebonjour. Do you really say “re”?)

  8. Tanna, I usually make it with fresh rice – never plan ahead LOL As to the French…. the more I learn the more confused I get.

    Elizabeth, yes, they really say ‘re’. That’s a little too ‘courant’ for me.

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