I love fried rice the way I love a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I must have it! This past summer, I experimented with fried rice recipes in my search to eat more whole grains and vegetables. The recipe I originally used was from Penzey’s Spices, a fragrant store conveniently located about five blocks from my apartment. They send out a catalog every few months chock full of recipes from readers, and the summer issue included a vegetarian fried rice spiced with ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper. I was intrigued.
Taking the original recipe, I tweaked the ingredients by exchanging brown rice for white rice and adding some more vegetables, but felt I made more of a stir-fry rather than fried rice. The final dish was too saucy and the vegetables didn’t have much taste. So, I googled and found a great blog entry by Jaden of the Steamy Kitchen. She gives readers 4 key secrets of making fried rice. First, use cold rice because warm rice will create too much moisture. Second, use high heat to quickly fry each ingredient. Third, cook each ingredient separately to give each its own taste. Lastly, don’t touch the rice while frying. Resist the temptation to pick up the wooden spoon!
Applying these secrets made the difference. The rice had a crispy layer, the vegetables were flavorful and distinct, and the ginger and red pepper added a spicy depth. My serving didn't even make it to the plate.Ginger Fried Rice
Serves 44 cups cold brown rice
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 cups chopped broccoli
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced at an angle
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. powdered ginger
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped pineapples
1/3 cup cashew pieces
Whip the egg in a small bowl. Add 2 tsp. oil to a small nonstick pan. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. Pour eggs into pan to make a thin layer, reduce heat to medium low and cook without stirring or flipping for about 3 minutes. Slide out of pan and roll up. Let cool a bit and then thinly slice. Set aside.Heat the wok pan over high heat with the 1 tsp. oil. When hot, add the broccoli and fry 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Return pan to high heat and add 1 tsp. oil. When hot, add mushrooms and fry 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Return pan to high heat and 2 tsp. oil. When hot, add green onions and fry 1 minute. Then, add rice, mix with the onions, spread the mixture out using the entire cooking surface and let fry, untouched for 3 minutes. Add soy sauce, ginger, red pepper and pineapples. Mix with rice, spread the mixture out using the entire cooking surface and let fry, untouched for 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with cashews. Enjoy hot.