Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easy Fried Rice

I know I have mentioned this before, but growing up, my very few experiences with restaurant food was almost entirely relegated to Asian take out.  What can I say, my Dad hasn't met an egg roll he didn't like.  Fried rice was always a staple of our order and it always seemed like a real crowd-pleaser.  I have just realized that I imagine Chinese restaurants are very happy when people order fried rice.  Why, you ask?  Because it's best made with LEFTOVER rice!  What a great way to cut down on product waste!  That said, it's a delicious use of leftovers and so unbelievably simple to recreate at home, it makes me think twice about ordering it in a little paper box again.  

Easy Fried Rice
(makes two large meal sized portions or four sides)
2 cups leftover cold cooked rice
3 eggs
cooking spray
salt and pepper
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup pea pods (optional)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1-2+ tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)
3 green onions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup leftover cooked meat of your choosing, cut into bite-sized pieces *see note*
Lightly beat the eggs and scramble with salt and pepper in a wok or large frying pan coated with cooking spray.  Once eggs are scrambled, break up into bite-sized chunks (if they aren't already), remove from pan and set aside.  Return pan to stove and over high heat, add diced carrots and pea pods (if using) and 1/3 cup water.  Boil vegetables uncovered until water evaporates and vegetable are crisp-tender (watch closely so they don't burn, the water will be gone quickly).  Remove from pan and set aside with the eggs.   Return the pan to high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sesame oil so you have a decent film over the bottom of the pan.  Add the rice and stir fry for a couple minutes, stirring frequently to break up any chunks of rice.  Once rice is heated through, add soy sauce to taste.  Return eggs and vegetables to rice mixture.  Add frozen (the heat of the rice will thaw them quickly) peas, bean sprouts (if using) and any diced, cooked, meat desired to the pan and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently, until mixture is heated through.  Serve immediately, chopsticks optional. 

*Note: If you like meat in your fried rice you have a lot of potential options.  I used leftover chicken from a chicken and broccoli stir fry I had made the night before but pork chops basted with hoisin sauce is a really delicious addition and brings back happy memories of when my mom would make "Young Jewel Fried Rice" from the LeeAnn Chin Chinese Cookbook--was that just a Minnesota think?).  Really, just about anything works--you could even use leftover Thanksgiving turkey (I have done it and it turns out great!).

*You could even make fried rice from leftover restaurant take out (if you have any left--we always seem to have leftover white rice that starts to petrify in its little paper box).  And, you can use some remaining meat from an entree to turn your fried rice from side to main dish.  

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe! We had some leftover rice and, before you know it, had a whole tasty meal. I'll have to use this more often when we have a couple leftover things to use up. I love the recipes that help turn leftovers into something completely different. Thanks Lauren!

    - Angela