Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fragrant Fried Rice

Published in The Sanford Herald on January 16, 2013

Have you ever had the sort of week where you seem two steps behind yourself,
and find your eating routine to be devouring whatever happens to come out of
a fast food bag?  We’ve all been there.  It is so easy to satisfy our need for
                        convenience instead of our need for actual food.  After all, we’re busy people, and taking time to cook can sometimes seem like a luxury.  This lil’ preacher is about to sound a little preachy, y’all (bear with me): cooking isn’t a luxury.  Eating healthy, homemade food is important!  It feeds our bodies and our spirits.  Even on the busiest of weeks, it keeps us grounded and energized.  Which is why I love to cook this delicious, fragrant fried rice, chock full of healthy vegetables and interesting flavor combinations, like crushed red pepper flake and cumin, and high in protein from eggs and beans.  So, next time you tire of seeing the inside of a greasy bag, or are craving something different and unique to throw into your dinner routine, give this light and easy dinner a try! 

Fragrant Fried Rice
Serves 4.

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
¼ cup vegetable oil (olive oil is too strongly flavored for this)
4 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced (seeing a pattern here?)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15.5 oz. can white beans (such as Great Northern), drained and rinsed
½ cup frozen peas
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flake
4 T soy sauce
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Add rice and an equal amount of water (1 cup) to a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook, covered, on medium-low heat, about 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 T of the oil over medium-high heat.  Season eggs with salt and pepper and cook, in one sheet if possible, flipping once nearly set, and cooking on other side a couple of more minutes.  If this sounds a bit too involved, feel free to just scramble them as usual.  Roll and slice if in a sheet, and set aside.  Return skillet to the heat with 1 T of oil and crushed red pepper flake and sauté onions and carrots until nearly tender, about 8 minutes.  Add red pepper, green onions and garlic and cook another 5 minutes, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Add frozen peas and canned beans and cook until heated through, just a few minutes.  Set aside vegetable mixture and return skillet to the heat a third time.  Heat remaining oil with the cumin, stirring until fragrant, on medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook, pressing down to fit the pan and crisp the bottom, 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce and break up rice.  Add egg and vegetable mixture, tossing well to combine and heat through.  Add green onions and cilantro to garnish, if desired.  If you abhor cilantro, sweet basil works well, too.  You will now have a heaping skillet full of fried rice goodness.  Add more soy sauce to taste, and grab some chopsticks and enjoy.  Who am I kidding?  A fork works just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm....

    Your food photography is awesome, Whit. Makes me want to dig right in.