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Fried Rice, Quick and Easy

April 5, 2012

I just love, love, love how quick and easy most asian rice and noodle dishes are to prepare. This one is no exception. It’s not ‘one size fits all’ either! I like to make yakisoba or fried rice at the end of the week to use up fresh produce or even incorporate other leftovers. It’s a great way to ‘waste not, want not.’ Today we’re going to talk about Fried Rice.

The first thing I’ll tell you is to get a wok. They are a fantastic and invaluable tool. Mine is nearly always in the dish drainer rather than the cabinet because I use it so frequently. They heat really evenly and cook meats and veggies in a flash. Make sure you get oil with a high tolerance for heat, you don’t want to pick up nasty flavors from over heating a low smoke point oil. Peanut and canola blends are a pretty safe bet.

Next, think about the best fried rice you ever had… what was in it?  I’m super simple, I like meat, peas, carrots, egg and sprouts.  Sometimes I throw in asparagus and broccoli or corn if we have some cut corn leftover. Really, anything goes.  I’ll use up all my extra pieces of chicken breast or steak too – and in one dish so I get a combination fried rice. Here is my go-to recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked rice (see my katsudon entry for sticky rice cooking)
  • 2 Tablespoons high smoke point oil – I use a canola blend
  • 1 cup cubed meat, raw
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Egg, scrambled

 

Cube Your Meat

Cube Your Meat

Cube your meat into 1/4 inch pieces. The more uniform the size of the pieces, the more uniform the cooking time. Heat 1 tablespoon of your oil in the wok over medium high. When the wok is hot, stir fry your meat for 1-2 minutes and then add the onion, garlic & ginger.  I usually throw in my meant and grate the ginger and garlic right into the wok. Careful you don’t scorch your garlic – it get’s bitter! Plop your done meat into a bowl and keep warm.

Add the other tablespoon of oil to the wok and dump in your cooked and completely drainedrice. Break up clumps and ‘scoop and turn’ until you get a golden color – the soy sauce will darken it more later.  I find it too difficult to brown the rice and dislike the risk of over cooking my meat if I

Add Pork to Hot Wok

Add Pork to Hot Wok

leave the meat in for the rice cooking step. Add your meat back to the wok now that the rice has some color. Add your frozen peas and carrots, I usually leave them on the counter while I assemble the rest of this so they are cold but not rock hard by the time I add them (they are so small they thaw and heat really quickly anyway). Season with the sesame oil & pepper.

Once everything is nice and hot, make a well in the dead center of the bottom of the wok. This is for your egg. Pour the scrambled egg into the hole and scramble it the best you can in the tight space. It doesn’t matter if rice gets mixed in.

Make a Well for the Egg

Make a Well for the Egg

Now eat!

I sometimes add mushrooms and other fresh veggies at the same time as the meat so they get cooked through – ‘crisp tender’ as they say. If you are using precooked meat, like from leftovers, you can skip the entire first stage and just add it in after the rice gets a bit brown.  This is really a great dish, just the way YOU like it. Make it your own, let me know what you come up with!

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