We absolutely love Asian food in our house. My kids say I love it more than Italian Food…I don’t think I could actually confess to that (I couldn’t break my Grandmother’s heart) so let’s just leave it at we LOVE it a lot! There are certain dishes like in all homes that hit the dinner table a bit more often than others and this Easy Fried Rice Dish is one of them. It’s an East Meets West version and that is just because that it is not totally traditional …to be perfectly honest with you the ingredients change many times to what is in the fridge…but one thing is for sure…it is tasty…healthy…satisfying and delicious…plus it looks fabulous! So get your chopsticks ready and if it’s not too late…maybe you can whip some up today in honor of Chinese New Years…if not…ANY time is the right time for Easy Fried Rice Party Style!
First things first…if you want the true secret to NO FAIL fried rice…the secret is COLD day old rice! It’s true! That one thing will make all the difference in the world. Cold day old rice is like magic…no clumping…sticking…every grain gets coated with flavor…it’s simply amazing! If you don’t have day old rice and want to make this dish the same day…just make your favorite rice…then spread it out on a cookie tin into a thin layer…wrap it and place it in the fridge for a few hours and just before you are going to make your rice…take it out! Then with your clean hands just break it all apart! It is so worth it!
Now if you LOVE vegetables! This dish is for you!
You are going to want to create your own palette of veggies…one thing I like to do is prepare them in different ways…some chopped…some sliced…etc. to create a really nice array of textures.
The ingredient that I think puts the dish over the top in taste is…GINGER…grated fresh Ginger!
So here are the list of ingredients that were used to make this dish. Remember…you can use any of your favorite veggies…being a vegetarian I use baked marinated tofu as my protein base but you can substitute with your favorite ingredient or you can just make it veggie Style! An egg is always a great addition…simply whip up two free range eggs and pour into a little skillet to form an egg pancake…then remove from the stove…cool and slice and reserve for the end.
1/2 yellow or orange pepper (diced)
1/2 red pepper (diced)
2 carrots…peel and diced into very small piece…the carrot is the one item that takes the longest to cook…you could shred the carrot and then the cooking time is almost instant!
1/2 cup of fresh corn or frozen (according to the season)
8 ounces of your favorite mushrooms sliced thin
1/4 of a head of cabbage sliced thin and chopped
a cup of snow peas (cleaned)
3 cloves of finely minced fresh garlic
1 full bunch of scallions (greens and white sliced thin)
1/2 zucchini sliced or chopped
1/2 – 1 cup of frozen peas (frozen peas are magic…they really are…adding them right at the end just gives the dish a pop and burst of freshness…the one frozen veg that is almost as good as Fresh!)
Any other veggies you would like to add!
1 cup of dry rice cooked according to directions
3 tablespoons of soy sauce1 – 2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of Siracha or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes…it’s up to you and of course you can leave the heat out if you like
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil or your favorite oil such as peanut…etc…
2 free range eggs (optional)
1 block of extra firm tofu (optional)
Have your egg reserved on the side and prepare your protein…if you are baking tofu…remember to place the tofu on a paper towels on a dish…cover with paper towels and place another dish on to and weigh it down and leave it on the counter for an hour…tons of liquid will come out…then you chop it into cubed…toss with a bit of cornstarch and seasonings…toss well…bake in a 350 oven for approximately 35 minutes (remember to flip them over 1/2 way through ) Baked Tofu keeps for days so you can make this ahead of time with no problem! You might even want to marinade it with a touch of soy sauce…lemon…brown sugar and ginger!
Now it’s time to cook our veggies…heat up 2 tablespoons of oil…add your scallions and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes…then add all your veggies except the corn and peas. Season with salt and pepper and stir fry for about 8 minutes till the veggies are tender or to your liking. Place the veggies to the side. Prepare your liquid blend by adding all the liquids together along with the grated fresh ginger (pepper flakes also if you are using them). Now heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil…add the rice stirring for about 3-4 minutes…then add the liquid and mix until all the rice is covered…it should almost look like brown rice with all of the grains coated…continue to cook for a few more minutes and then add your cooked veggies…frozen corn and peas and stir cooking for about another 2-3 minutes till everything is hot…add the eggs strips…stir them through…
Garnish with a bit of slice scallion greens and you are good to go!
I bet it just might become a family favorite in your home too!
One thing I really want to tell you…if you feel as though you need a little bit more liquid…just add it…if you want different veggies…that’s fabulous…it is all about tailoring it to you and your families tastes. If you follow the basic formula with some changes and additions…the end result is still going to be yummy!!!! It’s not an exact science…so remember to have fun!