RECIPE: Home-style Fried Rice with Vegetables

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I’ve eaten plenty of fried rice — some good, some a little greasy, some overly salty. But since I’ve discovered making it at home, I’ve been a lot happier. Even better, using cold, leftover rice works best. Refrigerating firms up the grain and decreases the chances of your fried rice turning out mushy, which makes this the perfect recipe to empty your fridge of leftovers. I use brown rice and add vegetables like kale, napa cabbage, and carrots, which makes this fried-rice dish super healthy. For additional protein, you can add eggs or substitute any leftover proteins, such as chicken, fish, or tofu. The fish sauce adds another depth of flavor and blends right in. (Fish sauce is anchovy in clear liquid form, nothing to be afraid of!)  Eat this fried rice for dinner with a soup, eat it midday out of your lunchbox, or even start your day with it at breakfast. Whenever you eat it, this dish reheats nicely. Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

1 cup short-grain brown rice (or approximately 3 1/2 cups cooked rice), see note on choosing rice

Salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil, peanut, or olive oil, divided

2 cups kale, stalks removed, rinsed and chopped into small bite-sized pieces

2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces

1 cup shredded carrot (1 or 2 carrots)

1 cup corn kernels, stripped from 1 ear of corn

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 cup diced tofu)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Directions:

  1. To make the rice: Rinse rice and place in a medium saucepan nearly filled with water and 2 pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, and then turn to a simmer (lightly boiling) and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Test to see if the rice is cooked; it still will be slightly chewy. Once the rice is cooked, drain in a colander and shake several times during the cooling time to release the steam. Place in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. (To make the same day, cool the rice on a baking sheet until steam is released and refrigerate while you are chopping the vegetables.)
  2. Chop and ready the vegetables to stir-fry. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a wok or your largest, heavy skillet. Add kale and napa cabbage and cook on medium-high, stirring constantly (I use tongs or two wooden spoons) for 2 minutes. Add carrot, corn, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry another 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove vegetables to a bowl. Add 2 additional teaspoons of oil and scramble the eggs. (Alternatively, you can scramble the eggs in a separate non-stick pan.) Add the rice, soy, and fish sauce, and mix well. Add the vegetables back and stir until everything is hot. Serve immediately, and enjoy. 

Note: Which brown rice to choose? I always buy the organic brown rice, either in a package or in the bulk section. Brown rice simply has more nutrients! White and brown rice start out the same but white rice is milled and polished to remove the bran and germ. In that process, white rice loses a lot of the fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin E, iron, even quite a bit of protein. It becomes a refined grain, rather than a whole grain. Unfortunately, both brown rice and white rice contain some levels of arsenic (more so in brown rice), a heavy metal found in the soil. Washing rice and cooking it with lots of water, as I do in this recipe, can help reduce the amount of arsenic by 57 percent, according to one study.

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Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers
Catherine Walthers, Bluedot’s food editor, is a Martha’s Vineyard-based writer, culinary instructor, and private chef. A former journalist, she is the author of 4 cookbooks, including Kale, Glorious Kale, Soups + Sides, and Raising the Salad Bar. She wrote an environmental guidebook called A Greener Boston published by Chronicle Books in 1992. Follow her on Instagram @catherine_walthers.

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