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Un-Sil’s Rice

When we first got married and lived at Fort Lewis, Ric was known as “the tall skinny guy” because he was 6’2″ and 135lbs. Our next door neighbor was a lovely Korean woman named Un-Sil who apparently took note of his physique and decided she would do her part to save him from starvation. She fed us for the better part of three years every time she was cooking enough to share, which was at least one-a-week. The meal that I think was basically her version of my propensity to serve spaghetti or tacos when I’m feeling lazy or uninspired was a rice dish that she always apologized for as “just some rice”. We loved it, craved it, and celebrated every time it showed up on our doorstep with her sweet shy smile! She offered vague directions on how to make it back then, but since I didn’t actually get serious about learning to cook until a few years later it took me a while to figure out how to make something pretty close. I hope you’ll enjoy what has re-emerged as a favorite in our family – even though it does result in a lot of pot washing.

You’ll need rice, eggs, fresh carrots, frozen peas, rouladen beef, soy sauce and sugar. Notice that I’m following the vague recipe tradition…but I’m offering pictures.

The key to this being a quick meal is getting set up correctly before you start the rice. Then, it’s an intense project over the stove, but it only takes about 30 minutes.

Start by dicing some fresh carrots.

Toss them into a sauce pan and cover them with plenty of water because you’re going to eventually throw the peas in with them at the end. Bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer while everything else is cooking.

Rouladen beef is cut in very thin flat pieces.

Cut it some more…into half-inch strips….

…then some more… into half-inch cubes. Toss those into a large frying pan on medium-high. Non-stick works best if you have that option. If not, spray the pan with non-stick spray but don’t use oil.

START both the beef and the carrots before you start the rice!

I use two cups for our family, cooked in four cups of water.

Crack eggs into a skillet coated with non-stick spray and turn it on medium-low.

Pour about ¼ cup of soy sauce into a dish.

Add an equal amount of sugar and stir it together. I usually have to microwave it to get the soy sauce warm enough to dissolve the sugar. Set it aside.

The meat needs to be “browned”, but as it starts to cook it ends up “boiling” in its own juice, which is not what you want.

When about this much juice has built up, remove it from the heat and drain the liquid.

Return the dry meat to the pan and keep going. I usually have to do this twice during the process.

Once it stops oozing its own juice and you’ve drained it one final time, give it a few minutes to do some actual browning- maybe two minutes on medium high. Then, it’s time to start adding the juice you’ve prepared.

Start by pouring in about half of the soy sauce and sugar mixture.

Stir to coat the meat.

Lower the heat to straight-up medium and keep stirring while the first portion of sauce reduces and gets absorbed.

By about this time, the eggs need a stir to start them scrambling.

Continue to gradually add sauce to the meat…

…until it’s all been poured in and mostly absorbed.

Add some salt and pepper to the eggs and turn them off before they over-cook.

The carrots should be tender at this point. Drop the peas in and bring the water back to a boil.

Drain the meat one more time and clean the pan up a bit with paper towel so that you don’t end up with brown goo in the rice at the end.

This was the absolute final outing for my strainer. I can’t remember how long I’ve had it, but I need a new one now. Look how the handle tore away from the metal. Sad.

I like to pile all of the other ingredients in together so that they keep each other warm and I can start the plethora of pans soaking.

The vegetables are ready to be drained as soon as the peas have had a minute or two of boiling.

A lid will help retain heat while the goodies wait for the rice.

When it’s finally done and fluffed,

toss in the waiting goodness and stir gently.

Ring the dinner bell, break out the chopsticks and dig in!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Betsy #

    Thanks Lisa,
    We are going to make this very soon!
    We love you and miss you!

    August 20, 2011
  2. Hi Lisa~~ How are you all doing? I miss you guys a lot!!!
    This looks like fried rice to me! It looks really good! I think if you put less water in the rice, make it less sticky (what I usually do is to use leftover rice), and kind of fry the rice with all the other stuff in the final step, it might taste even better~~

    August 24, 2011
    • HI Xiao – thanks for the tip. I made rice the other night with less water and it was better. Mabye by the time you visit New York I’ll have it perfected!

      September 5, 2011
  3. Molly Larson #

    Hi, Lisa,

    This is exactly how Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman Cooks, and latest member of the Food Network Celebrity lineup got her start. The pictures are terrific and the food looks delectable. I am grateful to be able to access your blog.

    September 5, 2011
    • Thanks, Molly. It’s a good thing I didn’t see Ree Drummond’s blog before I started one or I would have been too intimidated to start, Now I scoop up all the tips she offers on photography and blogging!

      September 5, 2011

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