vegetable fried rice
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Chinese takeaways are the best - and I’m a cheap date when it comes to choosing my dishes: I will go for special fried rice. That’s it, nothing else. Special fried rice, or number 112, or chao fan.
I like the fact that it always tastes different. Of course I know it’s a dumping dish - but so what? Using up leftovers is noble and leftover-based dishes are often tastier than what they were born as. Special fried rice is just - special.
I don’t cook rice often but when I do, it’s in double quantities. I used to be slightly worried about those mysterious deadly spores that were born in boiled rice standing around - but you’re safe if the rice goes to the fridge pronto and gets reheated only once, the very next day.
Fried rice is a freewheeling recipe: anything you fancy goes. Those tiny dried shrimp - gorgeous. Just scallions and beansprouts - why not? A shop-bought stir-fry packet - hell yes. My suggestion below is just a few veg and, what’s more important, the sauce ingredients. That’s not so much freewheeling but feel free to experiment - or go with mine, it’s tasty.
It’s also got the best in the world recipe for fool proof, fluffy rice. Stick to the timing, don’t lift the lid and get your chopsticks ready!
vegetable fried rice
- 200g brown rice
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 300ml water
- For the stir fry:
- 1 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 2 small carrots, shredded (with the julienne side of a peeler)
- 1 broccoli stalk, shredded (with the julienne side of a peeler)
- 3-4 leaves of romaine lettuce or napa cabbage
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2-3 spring onions, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp. chili bean sauce (or another chili paste)
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
For fried rice, cold leftover rice is the best but here’s a fool proof method for cooking fluffy rice.
Rinse the rice with cold water, place it in a pan and cover with more cold water to cover it. Leave for half an hour. Drain the rice, add fresh water in about 1 ½ volume of the rice, like above in grams; if you’re measuring in cups, it will be 1 ½ cup water for each cup of rice. Add the salt and oil and bring to a boil.When it’s boiling stir well, cover tightly with a lid and turn the heat to minimum. Leave it to cook, covered all the time, for 25-30 minutes depending on the type of rice: brown cooks longer than jasmine or basmati. When the time is up, don’t lift the lid; place the pan on a wet dishcloth for five minutes. Uncover, fluff up and serve.
To make the fried rice, prepare the shredded or chopped vegetables of your choice; the egg, the spring onions and the sauce mix in a small cup.
Heat up the groundnut oil in a wok until shimmering and add the vegetables. Stir fry for a minute, add the peas (give them a minute at that point if still frozen), spring onions and the rice. Stir fry for a minute, make a well in the middle of the wok and pour in the egg. Scramble it with chopsticks and stir into the rice. Make a well in the middle again and pour in the sauce. Stir fry for a minute to combine, then serve.