Picking up on yesterday’s theme on dining out, today we’ll talk about using the bounty that comes with Chinese takeout—delightfully sticky rice. Why fry your own if you can just order fried rice with your meal? For the Practical Cook, it is better to control your oil and vegetable intake. Plus with plain rice you have a flexible ingredient to be used other ways (soup, burrito, etc.) rather than a finished dish.
So if you love Chinese takeout like I do, but never make it through two containers of rice, do not throw it out! Save the extra in the freezer until you need to clean out the vegetable bin.
Leftover Rice Fried Rice Recipe
splash of canola or peanut oil
2-3 cups of vegetables (or more don’t be shy, TPC prefers at least a 2:1 ratio of veg to rice), assorted (see Note)
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cooked meat, optional (see Note)
1 cup leftover Chinese takeout rice, white or brown (or your own, if you’ve got it on hand)
soy sauce, to taste (hey, save those packets from the takeout and use a couple here)
1-2 Tablespoons ketchup, or to taste (I suppose you can save packets of this too, but let’s not get out of hand)
1. Heat oil in a medium skillet (choose one with higher sides; substitute a wok if you own one) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
2. Toss in your vegetable medley, and saute a few minutes (until the frozen comes off of any frozen veggies, or the other veggies are just starting to cook), stirring continuously. (This is a stir-fry, not a stand there and watch fry.)
3. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, stirring to incorporate. Saute until you can smell ginger and garlic, about 30 seconds. If you are adding meat, stir in now and let warm through, about a minute.
4. Add rice, soy sauce, and ketchup and stir, cooking for another minute or so.
5. Crack eggs into the mixture, letting cook for a minute before stirring in. (If you prefer less chunky egg bits you can stir earlier. More chunky, wait longer to stir.) Fry the rice until it’s your desired level of doneness—if you like bi bim bop, then you can cook until it’s got a little more crunch on the bottom.
Note: Vegetables can include, but are not limited to: diced carrots, chopped broccoli, quartered mushrooms, frozen peas, frozen or fresh peppers, sliced onions, water chestnuts, pea pods, frozen or fresh sliced zucchini and/or squash, sliced cabbage. If you choose to add meat, don’t overdo it. The tradition is to use just a bit to flavor the dish. In the rendition shown here, I added a little bit of leftover ground pork. You could use deli ham, bacon, sausage, chicken, shrimp (or “death by the sea” as I like to call it, but the more you eat of it, the less likely I’ll encounter it!), tofu, etc.
Serve with Siracha, additional soy sauce, ketchup (for the kids and the kids at heart), and chopsticks (because it’s just more fun to eat with chopsticks). The Practical Cook serves edamame on the side so that the young eaters can eat one thing easily while they’re working out their chopstick skills.
Coming up next, Tool Talk, three more Practical Cook kitchen favorites.
Till then, keep those ideas coming, and those cameras snapping. Submit both at practicalcook at gmail dot com. Twitter: practicalcook
Note to Email Subscribers: Be sure to check your various folders if the notice doesn’t arrive in the morning. I found my copy in a folder that shall not be named, lest it end up there again for having mentioned the word. (Hint, it’s a famous ham substitute, and I refuse to eat or cook with it.)