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Fried Rice

November 12, 2010

Laura’s Blog Entry

This week I was trying to come up with a recipe to use up some vegetables we had on hand as well as use up half a pork loin recipe I was planning to try. (It was delicious, BTW. Found it on Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen site. Someone got me hooked on this blog. You know who you are.  The recipe says not to use tenderloin, but I did anyway. Take that!)

Anyway, I suddenly thought of fried rice. I’ve tried making fried rice before, but it has usually been so-so. Not sure why I felt this time would be different, but I was wildly optimistic on menu planning day!

Well, it actually was fantastic. I liked it even better than the Chinese take-out place. I didn’t measure anything because I didn’t really plan on blogging it. That’s OK. It’s a clean-out-the-fridge kind of thing anyway. Below is a good basic version that you can play with. You definitely need some sort of onion. Other than that you can do any vegetables you like. Broccoli would be good, don’t  you think?

Here’s the kicker… as I was putting everything together and wondering if this would be yet another ho hum batch of fried rice, a little bottle of Chinese Five Spice blend spoke to me from my spice rack. It said, “Hey, I know you have hated me in the past. My blend of cinnamon, chilies, cloves, anise, fennel, allspice and licorice root – yes I know that is eight spices, I don’t write my own labels – talk to Spice Island – would add the most lovely little aromatic touch to this dish. Let’s be friends; what do you say?”

Because I am a forgiving gal, who isn’t distressed by talking spices, I gave it a whirl. Wow! What a difference. It went from bland to fabulous!

I totally think I was brave enough to try this because I’ve been hanging out with my friend Tony, who is a flavor specialist. He concocts new flavors for companies and is always talking about cool projects he is working on. I especially love being a guinea pig for things like herbal teas and flavored chocolates. I bet spice blends talk to him all the time.

Hopefully I haven’t built this up too much for you. I wouldn’t go out and buy the spice blend. I’ve had a jar for a while that I bought for some long forgotten flop of a recipe. I’m glad I now have a way to use it! You can sprinkle in anything you like – a little ginger or cinnamon would pep it up. Just go sparingly.

Enough babble… here you go…

Fried Rice

3/4 cup uncooked rice (I especially like Trader Joe’s Jasmine brown rice, but any will work)
Peanut oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
1/2 cup onion, diced (yellow onion or green onion – whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup frozen peas
Approximately 1 cup of cooked, diced meat (leftover pork tenderloin, chicken, turkey, steak, just about anything)
[This can be made completely vegetarian with the addition of a cup of any other vegetable you like – zucchini, peppers, etc instead of the meat]
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
soy sauce

Cook rice ahead (according to package directions) and let it cool. This is a good  way to use up leftover rice! You end up with about 2 cups of cooked rice.

Heat a wok or very large saute pan on medium high. Add a good dollop of oil and saute onion, carrot and any other vegetable that are raw – EXCEPT PEAS. Peas are added later. Cook, stirring often until they begin to soften. If you like lots of crunch, don’t cook too long.

Remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Add a bit more oil and add the egg. Stir to cook and separate into curds. Don’t overcook at this point. Add the vegetables back in as well as the rice, peas, garlic and meat. Sprinkle with the Chinese Five Spice. You might try just adding a little bit at a time and taste. This is an intense blend. A little of this goes a long way. Stir and continue to heat until warmed through.

Give everything a shake of soy sauce and stir to combine. This is totally to taste. Use as much or as little as you like.

Done! Enjoy!

This makes about three servings.

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