Fried Rice: Fully Loaded or Not...
October 6, 2017
Every family has their go-to recipes. Fried rice is one of ours. and truthfully, I can take no credit. My son learned how to make it in Middle School in Family and Consumer Science (who thought of that name, by the way?) and would prepare it often at home. His sisters were immediately hooked. While his version was basically stripped-down, soy-sauce-lacquered, rice with a handful of edamame thrown in, it was enough to pique my interest.
Not only is it ready in minutes once you make the rice, it is great way to use leftovers, and create a meal or snack with what you have on hand. Some rice, a garlic clove or piece of onion, a few bits of something green, and you have a meal. Vegetables and proteins can be added or subtracted at will. Flavorings can be tweeked. You can even substitute quinoa for the rice. I have given you a fully-loaded version below, but also included instructions for infinite customization. Who says that you never learn anything in Middle School?
Secrets to Success:
1. Fried rice should be made with leftover rice. Fresh rice sticks together. Even a few hours can make a difference.
2. Use any combination of ingredients that is appealing to you.
3. Don't forget aromatics or flavor builders: garlic, ginger, scallion white or onion.
4. Try to mince the garlic and ginger rather than pressing or grating which cause the garlic and ginger to clump and burn.
5. Scallions should be treated as two vegetables: the white part should be handled like the ginger and garlic in this recipe and the green part stirred in just before serving as we did here with the spinach leaves.
6. Handle cooked or uncooked poultry, seafood, or meat as I did the chicken in the following recipe. Stir-fry before adding the vegetables and rice. Cook or heat through, and set aside. Add back to the rice to reheat before serving.
7. Eggs can be added in three ways: scrambled separately and mixed in right before serving; cooked along with the rice; or after the soy sauce has been added, push the rice up onto the sides of the wok or skillet and scramble the eggs right in the center.
8. Basil and/or cilantro and/or spinach can be chopped or torn and stirred in just before serving.
9. If you like a little heat, stir in some chili paste right before serving or add minced jalapeno with the aromatics.
10. Top off with some chopped peanuts for crunch.
Stir-Fried Rice, Fully-Loaded, with Chicken, Broccoli, Spinach, Edamame, and Peanuts
3 thin-sliced chicken ( about 3/4 lb.) breasts, cut into cubes or about 2 cups cubed chicken
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided as indicated in the recipe
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, white part and half of the greens, sliced
1 tablespoons finely minced ginger
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2 cups)
½ cup frozen edamame, no need to defrost
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons sake or rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork, optional
2-3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1-3 small handfuls of baby spinach leaves
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
In a small bowl, stir together the teaspoon of soy sauce and the chicken. Set aside for a few minutes. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick wok or skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over high heat. Add the chicken, and stir-fry until lightly-browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium-high and add a tablespoon of the remaining vegetable oil. Add the garlic, scallion whites, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli florets, season with a few pinches of salt, and stir-fry, until the broccoli begins to turn bright green, about 1 minute. Add the edamame, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Add the rice and sauté until the rice begins to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sake and cook for 1 minute until it evaporates. Add soy sauce and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken, tossing to heat.
If using the eggs, push the rice mixture up onto the sides of the wok or skillet to make a well in the center. Add another teaspoon of oil, and scramble the eggs in the center. When they are finished, turn off the flame. Stir in the hoisin, spinach and scallion greens and remove from the heat. Serve topped with the chopped peanuts.
Alex's Quick and Easy Fried Rice
adapted from Scarsdale Middle School
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs (optional), beaten lightly with a fork
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup minced onion
¼ cup frozen edamame
3 cups leftover rice
2 tablespoons sake
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan. Add eggs, if using, and scramble them into small pieces. Set aside until needed.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add the edamame, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and sauté until the rice begins to brown. Stir in the sake and cook for 1 minute until it evaporates. Add soy sauce and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Finally, stir in remaining butter and the egg, if using. Cook until butter is melted, fold in the eggs if using, and serve immediately.