Fried Rice

fried rice

I imagine we all need quick meals and quick meals that are welcomed by the seven-year-old are all the better. But come to think of it, he loves most of our quick meals and was delighted with scrambled eggs and pan-fried cauliflower the other night as with another quick stand-by Pasta Carbonara.

In any case, I made fried rice for a weekly gathering last week and was reminded just how adaptable, good, and easy and quick it is. The only thing you need to have thought of in advance is the rice. I always make more rice than I need at any given time and then freeze the rest for the fried rice nights. Or make it in the morning and leave it sitting out all day and then you’ll have nicely dried out rice for the fried rice that evening.

And, if you want regular inspiration for cooking tasty and creative dishes on a regular basis you might subscribe to my Seasonal Recipe Collection or give a subscription as a gift this season–a gift that does not create more clutter but instead good smells and happy tummies for a year! Signing up just takes a minute and then you have access to 550 recipes and tips and pages about each vegetable and so much more.

Fried Rice

You can use most any vegetable you have on hand–though watery ones like zucchini and tomatoes are less well suited.

3-4 tablespoons oil

3-4 cups previously cooked and cooled (preferably made the day before or earlier and then frozen–see above) rice

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional)

2 cloves garlic

2 carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced or diced

4 green onions, white and greens thinly sliced and divided

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/3 cup chopped cilantro and/or mint

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. When hot add the ginger, white part of green onions, garlic, carrots and chili (if using) and stir to coat with oil. Cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring often so prevent the garlic from burning. Add the rice and make sure to break it up well before you put it in the pan if it’s in big clumps. Stir well to coat the rice with the oil and vegetables and cook, stirring often for a few minute to heat the rice through and get it a bit crisp.

Move the rice to one side of the pan and add a little more oil and then add the beaten eggs. Scramble them and then mix them into the rice. Add the soy and fish sauce, if using, the green part of the onions and the cilantro. Cook for another minute or two and then taste for seasoning and serve.

What to do with 1/3 Can of Coconut Milk?


kale, potatoes mustard seed coc milkI tested an adaption of a lovely red lentil soup from the new Plenty More by the inimitable Yotam Ottolenghi (recipe will go up on the Seasonal Recipe Collection soon) but that undertaking left me with about 1/2 cup of leftover coconut milk. I’ve had leftover coconut milk go bad on me before. To avoid that I made this simple braise with cumin and mustard seeds, a bit of turmeric and ground cumin, potatoes, kale, said coconut milk and a handful of chopped roasted tomatoes. Paired with warm cornbread and a radicchio, beet, parsley and walnut salad it was a typically random dinner in this household. I may well make this combination again and might even devote more than 1/3 of can of coconut milk to it to make it saucier and serve it with naan or rice or some such.

Potatoes and Kale with Mustard Seeds, Tomato and Coconut Milk

You can play with the spices here. . . add ginger and/or garlic if you want. Add coriander or hot peppers of some kind. .. use other root vegetables or other greens. . . you get the point!

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut, sunflower, etc.)
1/2 onion, finely diced
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (you can use 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin if that’s what you have)
1 teaspoon black/brown mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into smallish dice (or 3 smaller ones)
1/2 cup roasted, canned or fresh tomatoes
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped, stems chopped very finely
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat preferably), or more
1/2 cup water (or more or tomato juice if you’re using canned tomatoes)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the spices and salt and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly.  Add the potatoes and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the kale, coconut milk and water. Bring everything to a simmer, turn down and cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, adding a bit of water, more coconut milk or juice from canned tomatoes if things dry out too much) or until the potatoes and kale are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.

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