There are those times when the fridge is loaded with a lot of odds and ends. Last week I made a few vegetarian asian dishes and had a bunch of left over ingredients. What to do? What to do?
Fried rice of course!
It’s super easy to prepare, you can put just about anything in it, and the kids seem to like it. I also sneak in as many veggies as I possibly can. They can’t avoid them all, can they? Fried rice can be made as a side to something else — we had it with wonton soup — but you can make it as a main dish, too. Fortunately, fried rice is also one of those dishes that you can make quickly on a week night when you are rushed for time.
One ingredient I like to use in vegetarian dishes is nutritional yeast. If you’ve never heard of it, you can read about the health benefits of the stuff and the reason I use it in cooking on the blog Fat Free Vegan Cooking. I am not vegan and am far from fat free, but I think the explanation of what this ingredient is, what it is not, and how to use it in cooking may open your eyes to trying it. It adds such a wonderful flavor to any dish. My favorite way to use it is to crisp up squares of tofu and coat them in nutritional yeast. Sprinkle a little soy sauce on these nuggets and you have some good eats there!
Okay, back to fried rice…what you need to make this dish:
3 cups cooked jasmine rice, more or less (if you have leftover rice this works best)
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 – 3Tbs vegetable oil (try to use the less healthy regular vegetable oil instead of olive oil if you can)
1 cup frozen veggies (I am using peas and lima beans)
1/4 Cup diced yellow onion
1/2 Cup carrot, diced small (can use frozen carrots if you have them)
1/4 Cup celery, diced small
1/2 Cup extra firm tofu, cut into small pieces
1/4 Cup bamboo shoots, cut into small pieces (water chestnuts work really well here, too)
1/2 Cup fresh snow peas, cut in half
1-2 scallions cut finely, white and green parts
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbs good quality soy sauce
1 Tbs terriyaki sauce
1 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
Heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large skillet (or a wok if you have one). Saute your onion, celery and carrots for about 7 minutes until they start to become tender. Add your tofu to the mix along with the bamboo shoots. Saute for a couple more minutes, then push the veggies and tofu to one side in order to scramble your eggs lightly. Add your rice, sesame oil, frozen veg, soy sauce, terriyaki and blend all together well. I like to press the mixture down a bit in the pan in order to get a crispy bottom layer of rice.
Fry the rice like this, without stirring for a couple minutes then use a spatula to stir and scrape up any rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. If your rice is really sticking, you can add another tablespoon of oil to the bottom of your pan. Stir fry your rice this way for about ten minutes, trying to crisp it up as much as possible.
Add your snow peas, scallions and nutritional yeast during the last few minutes of cooking and serve hot. This rice reheats well in a skillet or the microwave.