I've always loved fried rice, but never made it at home. We used to get Chinese take out frequently enough that I never had the desire or need to make it at home. Since we've cut down on eating out, I've been craving it something awful. I figured, how hard can it actually be to make? Not very! I know the instructions seem way too long for this to be an easy meal, but it's only very descriptive since the length of cooking time varies for the veg, and to keep it simple a little order is needed.
The only 'trick' involved in making this dish is using 'day old' rice, which really means cold rice. You can definitely make the rice the day you want to prepare fried rice, you just have to ensure the rice is completely cold before doing so. Being an infamously impatient person when it comes to food, I surprisingly find it easier to make the rice the night before, and let it cool enough to put it in the fridge. Then I can make it whenever I want over the next few days - no pressure.
This dish comes together in a snap, and we've started referring to it as 'garbage rice', much in the same vain as garbage eggs. You can throw whatever is in your fridge that looks good in here. I'm only including in the recipe what I used for the batch pictured, but you can really get creative here. Or not. That's the beauty of fried rice. Add some protein and make it a complete meal, or keep it very simple for a side.
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice, or your favorite
2 3/4 - 3 cups water (if using brown rice, use all 3)
2 Tbsp canola or neutral oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 lb button mushrooms (or any other favorite),
7 - 10 radishes, halved then cut into sixths
1 cup frozen peas (I prefer petit pois)
1/4 purple cabbage (or your fave variety), thinly
1 bunch (usually 6 - 10) scallions, sliced thinly on
the bias, with a bit set to the side for garnish
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
~4 Tbsp post poaching liquid, Bragg's Amino Acids or fave soy sauce
for the chicken (optional)
2/3 cup Bragg's Amino Acids or low sodium soy
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 inch knob of peeled ginger, smashed
1 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp sake (optional)
1 - 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
other ingredients you may have on hand or want to try...
bamboo shoots, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, eggplant, zucchini, tofu, pork or beef, edamame, sliced turnip, sweet potato, snow peas, kale or any other green, quinoa in place of rice... go crazy.
If using brown rice, bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the rice and bring back to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit covered (don't peek, no matter how much you're tempted) for 15 more minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork. To cool down fast, spread rice out on a cookie sheet till room temp, then place it in the fridge to get cold. If using rice on a later date, you can still use the same method, just pack it up in an air tight container and toss in the fridge.
*If using a white rice, add a bit of oil to you pan and saute the rice till it becomes more opaque, then add the water. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The remaining preparation is the same as with brown rice.
I like to make the chicken first, so it can cool while I prepare the fried rice. Combine the Bragg's or soy, garlic, ginger, mirin and sake in a small pot. Cut the breast(s) into 2 equal pieces. Place into the poaching liquid and turn heat on to low and cover. Keep an eye on this, as you don't want it to do anything more than a gentle simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the chicken and set aside. Crank the heat up to medium high for 5 minutes to reduce the poaching liquid a bit. Set aside till cool enough to touch, then shred with your fingers into bite size pieces.
In a very large pan, add the canola oil and dial heat up to medium high. Add the mushrooms and cook till they've released all their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the radishes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Don't forget to stir occasionally between the additions.
Dump in all your cold rice at once and stir very well. Add the frozen peas and shredded chicken and stir well. Push the rice up to the sides of the pan to make a little 'well' in the middle of the pan. Add the 1 Tbsp of sesame oil and the beaten eggs. Scramble your eggs, leaving big curds if that's what you prefer, or stir constantly to get a smaller curd. Stir the rice into the eggs, then add the scallions. Add ~4 Tbsp of the poaching liquid (more or less, depending on your tastes. Start with a little - you can always add more) and stir well. Taste for seasoning and serve with a sprinkle of sliced scallion and extra soy sauce or poaching liquid. Any extra poaching liquid can be stored in a squeeze bottle or airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.