Meatless Mondays: Veggie Fried Rice
Okay, I have absolutely no idea why fried rice is something that’s intimidated me for so long, but now that I’ve tried it I will definitely be making it again. It depends a lot on having leftover rice (which I tend to make in quantity anyway) and veggies and stuff in the fridge. Also on having in one’s fridge that one key ingredient that at least for me sort of makes the difference between “I am pretending I’m cooking something sort of Asian” and cooking something that actually tastes sort of Asian. That ingredient is toasted sesame oil–a must-have. Fortunately, it keeps just about forever.
The rice has to be cold, and the pan has to be very hot, and you have to pretty much pay real attention for the entire 5-7 minutes or so it’s cooking.
Veggie Fried Rice (quick!)
- Chop up a little onion, celery, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, whatever.
- Saute on very high heat in as little olive oil as you can manage, in a fairly big pan, till just beginning to brown. The food needs room to move around, or it gets juicy and steamy.
- Sprinkle with a little garlic powder and/or ginger powder. Or, much better, add a little real minced or grated fresh garlic or ginger. (I would have just said that, except I promised you “quick.”)
- Remove veggies from pan. (It should be pretty dry at this point–not much, or any, juice floating around in there.)
- Into very hot pan, put a little toasted sesame oil
- Add about a cup of cooked cold brown rice. Stir around and saute until lightly browned. Put in a tbs. or so of soy sauce. Add veggies to pan, stir around a little more. (This would be the place to add any veggies you don’t want browned, like baby peas or something…
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Optional–somewhere in the rice-stirring part, add just a little dollop of peanut butter and smoosh around till it’s melted and evenly distributed…or if you want to do it right, mix with the soy sauce and heat a bit so it mixes better. But the smooshing method works just fine. Serve with a little fresh lime juice squeezed on it–this gives it that sort of pad thai vibe.
This is SERIOUSLY yummy and ridiculously quick. If you want a little more protein, you could scramble an egg in there somewhere between the veggie step and the rice step, and then put it all together at the end. And for those of us trying to cut calories without feeling deprived–remember that the higher the veggie-to-rice ratio, the more you can eat for the same number of calories!