Fried Rice a Million Ways

As those of you who have been reading for a bit probably remember, I hate eggs. I hate the smell of eggs, I hate the taste of eggs, and, occasionally, even watching someone eat eggs is enough to set my stomach churning. I consider myself a well-versed eater if not a pretty good cook, and so admitting this to other people is generally an embarrassing and slightly shameful experience. I’ve gone into it in more depth in my post about quiche, but suffice to say here that I don’t like eggs and probably never will.

I’ve gotten a good number of strange reactions from people learning for the first time that I don’t like eggs. I’ve gotten even stranger reactions from people learning for the first time that I don’t know how to cook eggs. Because I don’t. As I mentioned, the smell of them cooking is enough to set me off, and I wouldn’t be able to taste them anyway to tell if they turned out right. Some people just don’t believe that I can’t cook the simplest of proteins, and some people have even told me that I could never be a good cook until I learned to cook eggs. I respectfully beg to differ.

Fried Rice

It’s no matter, though, because all of the nay-sayers can finally rest easy. In the past couple of weeks, I have finally learned to make scrambled eggs. At least, I think I have. Since I’ve never made them before and definitely have never made them before, I can’t actually tell if this is what they should be like. Though since they are being mixed up in a delicious, flavorful, and lovely dish I like to call fried rice, I am not really sure it matters how perfectly scrambled (or not) they may be.

That’s right. I learned to cook eggs so I could make my fried rice more protein-rich and healthy. I’ve been sick and exhausted recently and all I have been able to scrounge up has been leftovers and takeout, which aren’t exactly blog-worthy. So tonight I arrived home from work, donned my sweatpants, and learned how to cook eggs. By which I mean made fried rice for you all– one of the easiest, delicious, leftover-friendly meals there is.

Fried rice is incredibly versatile and can basically be composed of whatever you throw at it. It’s a great way to re-purpose the leftovers you’re tired of and a great way to clean out your fridge. The recipe below includes directions for the variations I’ve made, but experiment with it! See where your creativity takes you, and let me know of your winning combinations in the comments.

Before you start this recipe, you should know that even though this recipe works great with leftovers, I didn’t actually use any when I made it– I blew through my leftovers earlier this week. For tips on how to cook rice, start directly below with “Cooking Rice”. I know, I know, some people swear by their rice cookers. I grew up with a Chinese babysitter, though, and this is the method she taught us that works every time. For the fried rice directions, scroll down to the heading “Fried Rice.”

Cooking Rice

1 cup dried Basmati rice

1 cup water, plus

Measure out 1 cup of rice into a small to medium pot– be aware that the rice will about double in size during cooking.

Rinse the rice in cold water, swirling with your fingers to release any non-rice particles, which will float to the top. Carefully drain the water from the pot (you do not need to get all of it) and repeat the rinse, removing any floating particles and refreshing the water each time, until the rice starch stops clouding the water. Drain one final time (again, don’t worry about getting all of the water) and add 1 cup of water to the pot.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the rice for 20 minutes. Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving or, if using for fried rice, take it off the heat and let it hang out while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Fried Rice

Adapted from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook “5 Secrets to Making Fabulous Fried Rice”, found here.

Makes 3-4 servings

2 cups cooked rice

1 tablespoon canola or another neutral oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 large carrot, diced into small pieces

1-2 eggs, scrambled

2 chicken breasts OR 2 servings tempeh, roughly cubed

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted OR 1/2 bunch kale, chopped small

1.5 tablespoons soy sauce

Sriracha to taste

Black pepper to taste

Add oil to a large wok or skillet and heat until it becomes runny and shimmery, about a minute.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and onions. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 to 30 seconds. Add the carrots and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Move all the ingredients to one side of the pan. Add the eggs into the clear space and stir, breaking them up until they are almost cooked through but still a bit soggy.

Add the protein and the veggies to the pan and stir to combine. Then, add the rice, breaking up any clumps.

Add the sauces and pepper to taste. Stir everything swiftly around the pan until the rice is well-coated in the sauce, though it is fine if some of the rice remains white. Continue stirring until everything is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. The original recipe also advises adding more oil if the rice begins to stick and reducing the heat if the rice begins to scorch.

Serve the rice immediately and enjoy!


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