Monday, February 4, 2013

Anything Fried Rice--Another "No Recipe" Recipe

Chicken Fried Rice
One of the fun things about going to an Asian restaurant is that there are so many yummy things to choose from that you would never dream of making at home.  Too many exotic ingredients and/or complicated processes cause me to really appreciate eating the many delicious dishes out when it comes to Thai or Chinese food!  
But one dish that you can absolutely make at home is fried rice!  It's one of those Asian style comfort foods that traditionally is made from leftovers-- leftover rice, whatever little bits of leftover veggies you have and any leftover meats or odds and ends left in the freezer-- makes for perfect fried rice!  If you haven't ever made it, here's the basic method.  You can make a lot or a little and the amounts of "add-ins" are completely up to you and what is available to you, amounts and proportions are completely "free form".  This list is just a combination that I like.
The tastefully small portion pictured above is a little misleading because really, when I make fried rice, I like to serve it as the main dish for a weekend lunch or quick weeknight dinner.  Who wants to chop up all that stuff just for a side dish? :)  If you don't have any kind of meat, or want to go vegetarian, adding a fried egg over each person's portion really completes the dish!  

Anything Fried Rice
Protein of some sort: chicken, seafood, pork, beef, tofu, or nothing!  Pre-cooked or not, chopped
finely minced ginger
chopped onion or green onion
peas (frozen)
grated carrot
celery, sliced on the bias
black pepper
soy sauce
hot pepper sauce (optional)
(other good veggies include green or red pepper, small broccoli florets, mushrooms)
cold rice (brown or white)
vegetable oil

In a non-stick pan, put in enough oil to film the bottom.  Heat the oil over medium heat.  Put in the veggies and the protein of choice.  Saute, but don't stir too much.  You don't want everything to break up.  Add the cold rice, sprinkle with black pepper and stir around gently.  A spatula works well for this.  Break up any clumps of rice, but again, don't stir too vigorously.  Add soy sauce to taste.  I just like a couple turns over the top of the rice because each person can add more.  You can add the pepper sauce now or again, each person can add their own.  Cook for a few more minutes.  If things are sticking or browning too much, you can add a few tablespoons of water to slow things down a bit, but good fried rice has a few crunchy bits mixed in with the mostly tender, flavorful rice.
Note:  Besides adding the fried egg over each portion, you can also stir in some beaten eggs.  This will coat your rice and produce a heartier, moister style fried rice.  You can also cook the beaten eggs into a flat omelet, cut it up and add to the rice.  A lot of Chinese restaurants do that.
Anyway, that's all there is to it, but I think you'll like this and you might be cooking extra rice like I do just so you'll have leftovers!


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