Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Use What You've Got: Fried Rice

Being pregnant changes the way you cook. I don't have any cravings, but sometimes when something sounds good, I feel the need to cook it asap. The only problem being that I have really hated going to the grocery store on a regular basis, so I am in a Use-What-You've Got mentality of cooking.

I was really in the mood for some fried rice, but didn't want to order it from the local Chinese takeout place for fear of too much sodium/MSG/unknown ingredients. So I made my own (maybe it is more of a stir fry - you decide!), and it was even more delicious than what I could have ordered to go. Here it is:

First, get a wok or large deep skillet and a non-stick spatula. For some reason, my family has always had a wok, and it comes in quite handy for good stir fry, or the occasional Sunday brunch when I want to make Cafe du Monde beignets. I feel a craving coming on....

Anyway, heat your wok or skillet to medium heat.

Next, gather your ingredients. I had the following:
-Basmati Ready Rice (makes dinner done faster, and the perfect portion size for 2 people)
-Low sodium soy sauce
-Sesame oil
-Yellow onion
-Garlic (I used Korean black garlic for a truly Asian flavor)
-Sliced chicken breasts
-Green Beans

I typically like broccoli and sugar snap peas in my fried rice, but like I said, its a use-what-you-have dinner, so all I had were onions and green beans. You could also substitute frozen shrimp for the chicken, or any beef or pork you may have on hand.  You can also add the typical fried egg, but I chose to skip that ingredient this time. While the pan is warming up, go ahead and prepare your chicken breasts if you have not done so already. I cut mine into bite sized pieces.

Special Note: As mentioned above, if you wanted to add the typical egg, go ahead and fry it up in the wok or skillet before cooking anything else. Simply break it into the pan, and as it starts to cook, break it apart into small pieces with the spatula. Once it is cooked, remove from pan and set aside. You will add it back in later.

If you prefer no egg, then go ahead and add about 2 Tbsp of sesame oil to the pan, and using the spatula, swirl it around a bit to help coat the edges. 

Next add your chicken, and cook thoroughly.  Toss occasionally.

Since I was using  fresh green beans, they take a little longer to cook than other vegetables. When the chicken was almost cooked through, I added the beans so that they could get a nice coating of oil and cook while I was prepping the other ingredients.

While the beans were cooking, I chopped the onion, and put two cloves of the black garlic into a garlic press.  If you have never tasted black garlic, you really should try it. I get mine from the Savory Spice Shop, but most Asian markets have it as well. Its is not bitter like regular garlic. It is a little more sweet and is very soft. I have eaten mine just spread on a piece of toast right out of the skin. Delicious! No need to roast these garlic heads! Anyway, they have a fragrant aroma and give a little punch of flavor to the fried rice.

Once the green beans (or other vegetables) are about half way done cooking, add in the garlic and onion. 

Toss those around  to get a little coating of any leftover sesame oil, and then add about 2 Tbsp of low sodium soy sauce.

Continue cooking until onions are soft, chicken is nicely browned, and all the flavors have been infused. 

Next, I cooked two packages of the basmati rice in the microwave (you can't beat 90 seconds!) and added it to the pan.

Be sure to toss well with the chicken and veggies, and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the sesame oil and soy sauce have soaked into the rice. If you need a bit more juice, just add a little splash of soy sauce, or even some lime juice for a kick.

Turn off the wok or skillet, serve and enjoy!

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