Friday, February 18, 2011

1 Culinary Challenge: Out-of-the-Pantry Stir Fried Rice

First off, Happy Friday everyone! (And congrats to those of you who get a 3 day weekend this week due to President's Day...) A few weeks ago, one of my friends said that they wanted a recipe where they could grab random ingredients from their pantry and fridge to make a meal.

Fried rice and stir fry are two meals that are perfect for using leftovers or random meats or vegetables that you have lying around. The best ingredient to this recipe as an example for this is the rice. I normally cook brown rice the day of and let it sit out to dry, but leftover rice from Chinese take out is perfect for this recipe. Why is that you may ask? Well, its for a variety of reasons:

  • Rice that's lost its moisture is perfect for frying. If it has too much moisture, it'll turn into a gummy, texturally displeasing mess.
  • It's easy. You don't have to do any preparation for the rice aside from pull it out of the fridge.
  • Cost saving. Rice that you may end up wasting or throwing away get reused, and saves you money.
As for the protein and vegetables? I recommend certain vegetables or meats in my recipe, but most of that is due to availability and preference. Don't like beef? Use a protein you like, or use chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu that you already have. Same for the vegetables. If you don't like mushrooms, then exclude them from the recipe. Fried rice is something that you can make the way you like it. That's why I always recommend it to people as an easy and flexible recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Recommended ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, at least half a day old.
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 lb beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • 2-3 carrots (or about 1/4 cup pre-shredded carrots)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, or 1 small one
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/4 lb green beans or snap peas
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preparation. If you aren't using leftover rice, cook rice in either a rice cooker or on the stove top. Leave it out to dry for a half a day (or use a blow dryer to dry out the rice and reduce waiting time). Once your rice is ready, preheat a wok or deep pan on medium high heat. While the pan heats, chop the mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onion, meat, and beans into cubes or 1 inch pieces (if necessary).

Tip: Rather than going back and forth between the garbage can, dedicate a bowl as a "trash bowl." Use a trash bowl to gather any food scraps from when you're chopping, and then throw the contents of the bowl in one trip. It's an uber time saver.
Trash bowl
2. Once everything is prepared, add about a tablespoon to the wok, and  fry the beef until cooked. Remove from the wok. Add another tablespoon of oil and scramble the eggs just until no longer wet. Remove from the wok as well.

3. Add a tbsp of oil, the onions and garlic to the wok, and keep stirring until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the rest of the veggies, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp of soy sauce. Fry until veggies are tender, and remove from the pan.
4. Add another tbsp of oil, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and the rice to the pan. Keep the rice moving for about 5 minutes, then add the meat, eggs, and veggies to the pan. Add pepper, and 2 tbsp of soy sauce to the pan, and mix. Taste, and if you aren't satisfied with the amount of soy, add another tbsp.

5. Enjoy! Happy weekend!

Let me know how you think I did in terms of making a easy, flexible recipe (and if you think it tastes good)!

1 comment:

  1. I fear this is going to quickly turn into my only comment, but holy cow that photograph is GORGEOUS!!! You = brilliant.