This series is mainly for Alyssa, who by the end of living with her for one summer, had both me and my boyfriend terrified for her health. Seriously, we actually went out and bought her some easy to make meals that were at least mildly healthier than Spaghetti-Os and Ramen. Sorry, Alyssa, but hopefully this series can help you learn to cook healthier meals even if it does take a little extra work. I’m going to try to do this once a month. I’ll share some really easy meals with you guys that can be made from whatever you have in the fridge. Assuming you have healthy things in there. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, so maybe these posts will help you get to cooking healthy meals all the time a lot quicker than it took me.
I’m hoping this will also teach you how to shop for yourselves too, telling you what I think you should always have on hand and how you can use those items. Some of this stuff might seem a little weird, but I either use pretty much everything in this recipe elsewhere. I’ll let you know why I think you should have some of the weird stuff on hand.
So, here we go.
Easy Go-To Fried Rice
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 1/2 cups Brown Rice, cooked – Always have brown rice on hand. It’s so filling and a great source of protein.
- 2 cups Chopped Vegetables – Whatever you have on hand is fine. This particular version I made used carrots, red pepper, and. I put onion in pretty much everything I make. In the past, I’ve also used peas, green onion, kale, spinach, and those frozen stir fry veggies. Seriously, anything goes.
- 1 medium Onion – This is separate from the veggies because it needs to be in there, and you should always have onions on hand.
- 2 cloves Garlic – I just keep a few cloves handy for pretty much anything I make. Garlic is another ingredient that just goes with everything.
- 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil – The secret to keeping food from sticking.
- 1 egg
- Soy Sauce
- Optional: Some form of protein. I use tofu cooked with this method, but you can use chicken or pork if you like.
Okay, here’s where we get to the weird stuff…
- 2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce – I pretty much only use this for fried rice, but it can be found in the Asian food section of pretty much any grocery store, and it’s a condiment so it lasts a while.
- Rice Vinegar – If you do even a small amount of Asian food cooking, this is a must, it really helps bring out the flavor.
- 1 tsp. Cumin – I use cumin for pretty much everything. A little chili powder, garlic salt, oregano, and cumin is all you need for quick taco seasoning. It’s great with Asian dishes too.
- 1/2 tsp. Ginger – I only use ginger for recipes like this, but it’s another good spice to have on hand
- Chopped Cilantro – Cilantro is pretty much the cheapest herb you can buy and goes great with a lot of different foods. If you don’t use it all, it’s not a big deal because I think the 60 cents was money well spent for even one meal.
- Lime Wedges – I’ve kind of learned to always have a few limes on hand. It might seem weird, but it’s really great to have for pretty much any Asian or Mexican dish. A little lime juice over a burrito, awesome.
Okay, my justification for just always having these items is over. Now it’s time to make some fried rice.
- The rice to fry is day-old rice. It’s difficult to have the forethought to actually cook the rice the night before, but it’s well worth it. That thirsty, dried out rice really soaks up all of the flavors and ends up with a great texture. If you really want fried rice for dinner the same night, make sure to cook the rice ASAP. At the very least, you don’t want to even think about anything else until that rice is fully cooked. Once it’s done, take the lid off your pot or rice cooker, and let that steam out. Stir it around occasionally so the rice dries out evenly. It won’t be as good, but you won’t end up with a pile of mush either.
- If you want a protein, marinate it for 10 or so minutes in a little soy sauce and rice vinegar before cooking. Thoroughly cook your protein before adding it to the rice.
- Next, take the biggest frying pan you have, or a wok, and heat up your oil over medium heat while you chop up your onion and mince your garlic.
- Once the oil has thinned out and can easily flow throughout your pan, add a little rice vinegar and then throw in your onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are slightly transparent.
- Add the rest of the veggies and stir.
- Now, add your Hoisin Sauce, Cumin, and Ginger and make sure all of the veggies are well coated. Sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Once the veggies are cooked crack your egg into a small dish and beat it until it’s scrambled. Then, push your veggies aside and pour the egg right in the pan. Stir the egg constantly, trying to get as few veggies in the mix as possible. You want scrambled eggs that can be stirred in later.
- Once the egg is fully cooked, stir everything together so the egg is evenly distributed.
- Now, add your rice and protein and stir constantly until everything is nice and combined and the rice and protein have had time to absorb some of the sauce. If you like the taste of the Hoisin sauce, add another tablespoon or so to the mix.
- To serve, add your rice to a bowl, sprinkle with a little cilantro and squeeze a lime wedge on top.