Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fried Rice Recipe

When it comes to frugality in the grocery budget, using up leftovers tops the list. This recipe uses some leftover rice and meat, and if you have leftover peas and carrots you can throw those in here as well. (Personally I like using frozen peas and carrots in this because they retain their texture as they cook and don't become soggy.) I like to make mine in a large heavy bottomed nonstick 12 inch skillet-it gives me enough room to stir everything in without it spilling over the sides and onto the stove top.

I don't really measure the stuff I throw in this, but i'm going to include measurements because I know some people rely on them. Please remember that they are approximate.

  • 2 cups leftover steamed white rice, preferably chilled overnight
  • about 1/2 c. to 1 c. leftover meat, diced small. (This depends on how much meat you like in your fried rice-also, if you are using fresh meat and not leftovers, using less meat can save you money.) For this pic I used some bacon ends (pork) but you can use leftover chicken, beef, etc-even shrimp if you'd like
  • about 8 oz. frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced-mostly white tips-you can cut off the green stems, chop and reserve to use for garnish
  • 4 eggs, scrambled, with a dash of soy sauce-I use either Kikkoman or La Choy
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • dash of sesame oil
  • vegetable or olive oil for frying

1. Heat skillet, add a bit of veggie oil and a dash of sesame oil. Make sure skillet gets good and hot. Fry cubed meat for 4 to 5 minutes to brown it up.
2. "Sprinkle" rice into the skillet with your hands. Make sure that they don't stick together in clumps, break them up into pieces of individual rice.
3. Fry rice for a few minutes. Make sure the heat is up nice and high, but don't burn your rice. Stir frequently and mix meat all up into your rice.
4. Add soy sauce to pan. Stir rice around so as to coat the individual grains with sauce. They'll turn kind of a nutty color.
5. Pour pea and carrot mix into the pan. Stir around to integrate the veggies into the rice.
6. With a spatula, slide your rice to one side of your skillet, leaving half of the skillet empty. Add a teeny bit more oil if necessary.
7. Pour scrambled egg mixture into empty side of skillet. Let set for a few minutes so that the bottom of the eggs can get firm-don't let your eggs get brown, that might add a funky flavor to your rice.. Mix and scramble until mostly cooked in the one half of your pan.
8. When your eggs are mostly set, stir your rice vigorously but gently to get all the egg mixed up into your rice. You want to use your spatula to break up the egg so that you have little pieces evenly distributed through the rice.
9. Toss in your scallions and stir into your fried rice. You can let it fry just a little more on high heat if you like your rice more firm and brown...

If you'd like, you can top this when serving with some of the sliced green scallions you reserved at the beginning. I like to throw some hot chili sauce on mine as well.

**This is probably going to sound weird, but when you initially make your steamed rice, let it set in the pan with the lid off for an hour or two before putting it away in the fridge. It will help it dry out a bit so that it doesn't stick together too much. Also, if you make your rice nice and firm it will work better for this recipe. Rice that is made with a higher proportion of water tends to get gummy in the pan and comes out clumped up and soggy. (Ask me how I know.) :-) I have found long grain white rice to work best for me.

This recipe gets better and better the more you make it. My first few tries didn't come out too well, texture wise. They tasted good but didn't look so great. It takes a little practice sometimes to get it down but the high heat is a must, it keeps everything frying and not getting soggy in the pan.

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