Last night, I made us some Chinese food for supper. And when I make Chinese at home, I’ve taken to making Fried Brown Rice to accompany the meal instead of just white rice.
While I use both white and brown rice, to me, they are not wholly interchangeable, as in some dishes, I find the rich, nut-like flavor of brown rice doesn’t always complement the other flavors in the meal. But we have come to love, love, LOVE brown rice (as opposed to white) in fried rice. The rich, nutty flavor really comes to life when you fry it and makes this a flavorful dish that I’d confidently put up against your favorite Chinese restaurant’s plain ol’ fried white rice any day.
The secret to tasty fried rice is simple: you need cold, somewhat dried-out rice. That’s it. Day-old rice is perfect, or you can make the rice that morning and stick it in the ‘fridge ’til you’re ready to use it.
When you make this in a non-stick skillet or well-seasoned wok, you’ll find that you can go relatively easy on the oil. I like the depth of flavor that sesame oil adds, but you can use canola or olive oil, as well. I also like to add in a handful of green peas. While I have never been a pea person, I’ve found that a bit of frozen green peas added to various dishes is absolutely delightful — and every so often, I’ve added in a bit of finely chopped carrot or carrot strips, as well.
As I cook up both the rice and my stir-fry in the same skillet, my usual sequence of events is to bake up the egg rolls and/or spring rolls (if the weather’s hot, I bake them in the toaster oven). While I keep those in the oven on the “warm” setting, I make the fried rice. I plate the fried rice onto a serving platter, stick it in the warm oven, wipe out the skillet, and then make my stir fry.
Main Dish or Side Dish? You can transform this into a main dish by adding in 1 to 2 cups leftover chopped cooked pork, chicken, or shrimp. Vegetarians, I would imagine that some cubed tofu added in would work well for you.
Regardless of whether you have it as a side dish or a main dish, it smells — and tastes! — positively yummy!
Fried Brown Rice (Makes 4 to 6 servings)
- 3 cups (yield from 3/4 cup uncooked) refrigerated brown rice
- Sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces or so)
- 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts (fresh or canned)
- 2 or 3 green onions, sliced (use dehydrated chives if you don’t have any fresh)
- Handful of frozen green peas and/or finely chopped or shredded carrot (optional)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten OR 1/2 cup of egg substitute
- Oil as needed (I prefer sesame oil, but canola or olive will work, also)
- Soy sauce to taste (I use reduced sodium)
- Sprinkling of coarse-ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a wee drizzle of oil (or a light spray of cooking spray) in a large (12″) non-stick skillet or wok over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms for a minute or two, until they just begin to soften a bit.
- Drizzle in some more oil if needed and add in rice, bean sprouts, green onion, and peas/carrots. (If you’re making this as a main dish, add in the chopped meat or cubed tofu at this point, as well.) Stir –breaking up rice — and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes or so.
- Move rice mixture to the other side of the skillet. Drizzle in a bit more oil and add in lightly beaten egg. Cook egg, stirring constantly, until cooked through but still moist.
- Stir egg back into rice mixture. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly and serve.
- Refrigerate leftovers.