Thursday, March 5, 2009

Recipe: Fried Rice

Most Asian Americans I know grew up with their mothers making some variation of fried rice. My mother made fried rice with bacon bits, scallions, and a couple of egg omelets cut into small pieces, so you would see flecks of brown, green, and yellow in the dish.

In my version, I substitute tempeh for the bacon and, taking a cue from my college roommate, add peas and carrots. While cold rice (leftover from the night before) is preferred, you can use freshly cooked rice. I've done so on many occasions. Freshly cooked rice will be stickier than cold rice and, therefore, more difficult to stir in a pan or in a wok. Using either, though, will yield an equally satisfying meal that is easy to prepare (one pot) and is delicious.

Fried Rice
Serves approximately 3 as a main course

5 cups cold rice (preferably cold - I used leftover jasmine rice)
1 package tempeh cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (or a mixture of frozen peas and carrots) thawed
2 eggs beat
6 scallions finely sliced
soy sauce (I use low sodium)
2 tablespoons oil (I use canola)

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and fry the pieces of tempeh until they turn light golden brown. Add the rice and stir until it is heated and the grains of rice are separated. (If using freshly cooked rice, don't worry about the grains of rice separating - it won't happen.) Add the scallions and the peas. Next, pour the beaten eggs over the hot rice and continue stirring until the scallions, the peas, the tempeh, and the egg mixture are evenly distributed throughout. When the egg mixture is done cooking, stir in approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of soy sauce. The rice should turn light brown in color. Add more soy sauce if necessary. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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