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Monday, December 21, 2015

Fried Rice for One

I love Chinese food. There’s something about how practical it is, using whatever is in the kitchen, how quick it is, oh, and how fried it often is, that I find irresistible.

2 dried shiitake mushrooms
½ cup long grain rice (brown or white, whatever suits you)
1 TBLSP peanut oil (or olive oil or sesame—whatever you’ve got)
1 TBLSP minced carrot
¼ cup chopped cabbage (green or red)
1 stalk of broccoli, chopped, stem and all
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ inch peeled fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup tofu (I like to use name age, a baked purchased product, but raw is good too)
1 TBLSP soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
A slosh of rice vinegar
Peanuts for garnish
  1. In a small pot, cook rice in 1 1/14 cups water, bringing it to a boil, covering, and lowering the heat. You can also use about 1 cup of cooked left-over rice.
  2. Place the shiitake mushrooms to soak in enough water to cover for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Chop the carrot, cabbage, and scallion, mince the garlic and ginger. Destem and chop the mushrooms when they’re soft enough.
  4. Once the rice is finished cooking, set it aside.
  5. In a frying pan or wok, heat the peanut oil and fry up the carrot and cabbage. When it’s starting to soften, add in the mushrooms, scallion, garlic, and ginger.
  6. Add the rice and give it a good stir. If it’s yesterday’s rice, keep stirring until it’s heated through. You may need to add some water or oil to keep it from sticking to the pan.
  7. Toss in the tofu, and when it’s heated, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Garnish with peanuts, as liberally as pleases your palate.

Devour with the rapt attention of a thousand wild dogs.

  • You can use whatever veggies you have on hand—just put the longer-cooking vegetables in the wok first (like squash, yellow onion, or broccoli), and work your way to the things that need less heat.
  • Frozen veggies will do well in this dish too, if that’s all you’ve got.
  • Try it with a different kind of grain, like quinoa, farro, or bulgur wheat.

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