I’d planned to make egg-fried rice with purple sprouting broccoli, but an impromptu walk in the garlic woods with friends led to a fragrant addition to our supper.
This picture was taken in May last year and the garlic isn’t flowering quite as profusely yet. But there were lots of garlicky greens to gather as we walked down into the woods and nearer to the stream, Ruby found that the garlic flowers were just beginning to open. Her 2 year old friend gathered garlic leaves just as enthusiastically as us, before sitting down to happily remove her wellies and socks so that her leggings and feet could become more closely acquainted with the mud. We all had lots of fun.
Back home in the kitchen, I was as excited as ever to have a bag crammed full of nutritious and free greens. My friend Heidi used her wild garlic leaves in a lovely Moroccan inspired soup with chickpeas, saffron and tomatoes. But I was still in the mood for a Saturday night Chinese supper. Not authentically Chinese at all, I have to point out, but the sort of fragrant yet wholesome food I felt like.
As Ruby had been involved in gathering the ingredients, she tucked in to her supper packed with greens with enthusiasm. Not something that always happens in this kitchen.
It made use of our current Purple Sprouting Broccoli garden glut as well as the wilder glut in the woods and was very simple to cook. Ideal for a May day when we’d made the most of the sunnier parts of the day outside between showers.
Wild garlic egg-fried rice
For 4 average appetites or 3 very hungry people
250 g brown rice
3 free-range eggs
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2-3 teaspoons soy sauce (I use the Clearspring organic variety)
3 handfuls wild garlic leaves, chopped
1 handful wild garlic flowers
2 handfuls purple sprouting broccoli
Break the eggs into a bowl and mix with a fork. Heat a small amount of the oil in a large wok and stir-fry the broccoli briefly. Remove and reserve on a plate. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the rice. Add the soy sauce and wild garlic leaves, stirring - the heat of the wok will wilt the wild greens nicely. Add the broccoli, stir and push the rice mixture to one side of the wok. Quickly cook the eggs in a sort of omelette in the wok, then slice into thin shreds with your spatula or chop sticks and mix with the rice. Heap into bowls, scattering a few wild garlic flowers on top.
If you want to make this dish more authentically Chinese you can of course use white rice and vary the oil. I’d normally add spring onions or Egyptian walking onions from the garden at the beginning of egg fried rice, but this time the wild garlic seemed to add plenty of that fresh allium flavour. Later in the summer I’ll probably make it with peas picked from the garden instead of the PSB and wild garlic.
We ate it with some spare ribs that I’d marinated and cooked in the oven, but this would make a good vegetarian dish on its own.
As it combines a seasonal garden glut with lots of wildly seasonal food, I’m entering it in the lovely Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season for May.