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There’s a fate for leftovers that is fried and true; recipe
Ellie Krieger, Special To The Washington Post
If your notion of fried rice is a greasy, empty-calorie-laden, eat-this-now-regret-it-later dish, this recipe will change your mind. Done right, fried rice not only can be quite healthful, but it also can be an ideal way to turn leftovers into a genuinely exciting meal. In fact, it is a meal that depends on, and I suppose was invented for, day-old rice.
When making fried rice, which really is stir-fried and doesn’t need much oil at all, it is important to use rice that has been cooked and well chilled. Refrigeration firms the texture of the starch in the grain so it doesn’t become gummy and fall apart when it meets the wok or skillet. I like to use brown rice for the health benefits of the whole grain (antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and a more moderate rise in blood sugar) plus an appealing nutty flavor and texture. Black and red rices are whole-grain varieties that work well, too, if you want to go for something with even more interest.
Adding lots of vegetables kicks up the good-for-you factor as well – and that is where the fun comes in. The accompanying recipe is a template, and one that thriftily makes use of often discarded, tender and sweet broccoli stems. But you can go through your refrigerator and toss in just about any leftover vegetables. Got two asparagus spears, a cauliflower floret or some green beans from last night’s dinner? Chop them and add them to the mix.
I scramble a couple of eggs right in the center of the rice in the pan, and I add edamame for protein and texture. But if you have cooked chicken or ham, black beans or a handful of peanuts, you could use that instead, or in addition.
Aromatic with ginger, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce, the flavorful result will give you a fresh look at what fried rice can be. It just might change how you view leftovers. I’m willing to bet that after trying it, whenever you cook rice, you'll make a little extra to put in the refrigerator, and as you clean up after dinner, you'll start to save odds and ends you might otherwise toss, with this very recipe in mind.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Be sure to use rice that has been cooked and refrigerated, as that is key to getting the right texture.
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola or peanut oil
1 cup peeled, finely diced broccoli stems (from about 1 1/4 pounds broccoli)
3/4 cup finely diced carrot
3/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger root
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups very cold cooked brown rice
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola or peanut oil in a very large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the broccoli stems, carrot and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the edamame and corn and cook until the edamame has defrosted, about 1 minute. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Make a 3-inch well in the center of the rice mixture. Add the remaining teaspoon of canola or peanut oil, then add the eggs and cook, stirring them in the well, until almost fully scrambled.
Stir the eggs into the rice mixture, then stir in the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Serve right away.
Nutrition per serving: 470 calories, 18 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar
-- From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.