It is Friday & it is 4th of July! Today is doubly special! It is the American Independence day and Fiesta Friday! I am going to celebrate by taking a colorful healthy vegetarian fried rice to Fiesta Friday# 23! I hope Angie @ the Novice Gardner who hosts Fiesta Friday, Co-hosts Margie @ La Petite Casserole and Sylvia @ Superfoodista and all the fellow bloggers like it.
I have always enjoyed Chinese cuisine. Who doesn't like Chilli Chicken, Chicken Manchurian, Hot and Sour Chicken and the ubiquitous Chinese fried rice ?Who doesn't wish that they could re-create the restaurant style dishes at home with the same taste?? I have tried and succeeded too! For this I have to thank Ashita didi who introduced me to the basics of authentic Chinese cooking. The trick is to cook in an authentic iron wok on high flame.Not the wok that you get in Ikea.
Also the vegetables should be crisp and not overcooked. If you have all the ingredients ready and in front of you, cooking Chinese style is pretty quick & easy. Now I can have restaurant style fried rice and noodles at home any time of the day or night. For us,my fried rice is filled with crisp colorful vegetables and is a one-pot dish that can be eaten by itself. This is how I make my fried rice:
Ingredients:Leftover cooked rice: 4 cups
Onion: 1 medium, sliced lengthwise
Garlic: 4-6cloves, chopped fine( I like extra garlic)
Ginger: 1 inch, chopped fine.
Green chillies: 2-3( depending on the spice level), chopped fine.
Carrot: 1 medium, peeled and cut julienne.
Green beans: 10, cut diagonally into 1 inch length.
Cabbage: 1/2 cup, sliced lengthwise.
Green bell pepper: 1/4,chopped julienne
Red bell pepper: 1/4, chopped julienne
Spring onion: 2, chopped fine.
Soy sauce: 4 tbsp
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Cooking oil: 2-3 tbsp( I use olive oil)
Black pepper powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: to taste
Mix soy sauce and a little salt with the cold rice and keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok on high flame. Now add the garlic,sauté for few seconds, add the chopped ginger, sauté for few seconds, add the green chillies and the onions in and sauté until the onion starts to turn transparent. Add the vegetables one after the other, sautéing for a minute in between, depending on the time it requires to cook, beginning with the one that takes the most time. In my case, I threw in the green beans first, then the carrots , cabbage, and lastly the peppers. Add in the sugar and black pepper and mix well.
Add the rice in and toss until it is nicely mixed and warm. Add the vinegar and toss again. Garnish with finely chopped spring onions.
Cooking made easy:
Fried rice is a perfect way to get rid of leftover rice. In fact, if made with freshly made rice it turns mushy.:)
Any combination of vegetables listed above can be used depending on what you have available in your fridge and pantry. You could skip bell peppers if you don't like them. You could add as much or as little as you wish and the fried rice will come out good.
You could turn it into egg fried rice by frying an egg at the beginning, scrambling it and then adding the other ingredients.
If you wish to add chicken and make it chicken fried rice, add bite size chicken pieces after the onions and sauté until the chicken is cooked. You can then add the other vegetables ( lesser quantities) or skip it all together.
I tend to fry egg/ chicken separately and keep it separately and use it as a topping at the table as per individual personal preference.
You can also add less soy sauce, green chillies( if there are little kids eating)if need be as these condiments can be added later at the table again as per individual preference.
Tip for healthy living:
Use vegetables to bulk up your meals. Veggies when chopped fine or cut small and mixed in one-pot dishes like fried rice hold more appeal and flavor for both children and adults than when served separately. Even when you make chicken or egg fried rice, try to ensure that you throw in at least 2-3 kinds of vegetables as well in there. This not only makes it look pretty and adds volume to your dish; it makes it balanced, nutritious, giving you at least 2-3 servings of your daily vegetable requirement.
Food for thought:
I am always more interested in what I am about to do than in what I have already done. Rachel Carson