Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fried Rice- A Staple Meal

The weather this summer prevented me from craving Asian themed meals and instead I've been enjoying Spanish flavors. But with Autumn upon us I figured I should brush up on my fried rice skills.

It is one of the easiest and quickest dishes to make, especially if you already have cooked rice and leftover veggies and/or meat. It is also extremely versatile. You can add whatever your heart craves. Don't be afraid to try new veggies or even tofu!

What you will need for a successful fried rice:

Cooked rice- I always use Lundberg Farms Organic Brown Rice for my meals
Organic Tamari Sauce- found next to the soy sauce in store (gluten free is available also)
Non GMO canola oil
Eggs from happy chickens
Protein- beans, tofu, chicken, beef
Veggies- asparagus, carrots, corn, peas, snow peas, spinach, broccoli

The first thing I usually do is cook the egg. Get your frying pan nice and hot on medium to medium high heat. Whisk your egg in a bowl. Add a small amount of oil to the pan-just enough to coat the bottom. You don't need as much as you think. If the pan is hot enough, a small amount will spread out nicely. Add the egg to the pan and swirl it around a bit by picking up the pan, not touching the egg itself with a utensil. It will only take a minute or so to cook through completely. It should slide right out of pan, so set it aside until later.

Next up is the veggies. If they are not cooked yet, sauté them in another small amount of oil. Every veg is different, so cook according to how long it takes to be done to your desired texture. For instance, you wouldn't want to cook broccoli and spinach together because spinach takes only about 30 seconds to wilt down. But carrots and broccoli take about the same time to cook, so you can start them together.
If your veggies are already cooked, you can skip this part.

Your protein is next, so if you have raw chicken or beef, you should cook it now. If I still ate meat, I would cut the meat into bite sized pieces, season it with pepper and then sauté until cooked. If I was using tofu, I would have this made ahead of time (see recipe in a previous post) and if I was using beans I would have them ready to go into the pan for the next step.

And now for the moment of truth! Make sure your pan is still nice and hot and add another small amount of oil. Have everything ready to put into the pan in the following order: Meat, veggies, eggs and then rice. Mix together and then add in your tamari sauce. Tamari is like soy sauce, but more concentrated in flavor so you don't need as much to get the desired flavor. Go easy with it at first to get the right amount for your taste buds. Mix everything at a fast pace for 30 seconds to a minute, trying to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. I usually use a metal spatula and continuously mix from the bottom of the pan up. When everything is heated through and mixed together, it's done. It goes quick, so be prepared to kill the heat and get it off the burner.

I am always surprised how much this makes. It's kind of like when you are cooking pasta for 1 or 2 people and you always make too much! But it's ok, because I always have enough for lunch the next day.

Usually on Sundays I make a big batch of rice, cook up some vegetables and make the special delicious tofu since these are the most time consuming tasks. It makes life so much easier when I need a quick meal during lunch or dinner. If you feel frustrated with making this at first, don't give up. Once you get the hang of it and what works in your kitchen, you will make this frequently. It is a wonderful way to use up leftovers because you can really use anything you want and make a great balanced meal.