It’s that time of year. Lots of Christmas leftovers, or maybe you just don’t feel like going to any trouble in the kitchen but you still want something tasty.
Fried rice is one of my go-to comfort foods – endlessly able to be varied, and can be made to suit vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. Eat it on its own, or as a simple side.
All of this will be based on guess-timation. That’s the joy of this dish. You work with what you have to hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and for the recipe to taste different each time you make it!
- cold cooked rice – at least one cup per person. Use your favourite here – brown, basmati, jasmine, white – it’s all good! (if you have only just cooked the rice, spread it out on a lightly greased tray and place in a moderate oven for ten minutes to dry it out so your rice won’t be gluggy)
- soy sauce (you could also use tamari, which is gluten-free, or Bragg Liquid Aminos)
- sesame oil
- a non-stick frypan, lightly sprayed with cooking oil, or a well-oiled heavy bottom frypan
I like to work with a ratio of about 1 cup rice and 1 and 1/2 cups throw ins. You can add more throw ins if you are in the mood for lots of herbs and vegetables etc. Choose your additions based on your dietary preferences, and what’s in your fridge, pantry or garden. Obviously if you are vegan you won’t be throwing the leftover Christmas ham in! Suggestions include any of the following:
- Freshly diced ginger and garlic – or you can use bottled or tubed if that’s all you have. Use as little or as much as you like. It adds a beautiful dimension to this dish, but you can do without it at a pinch, so I’ve listed it as optional.
- Diced ham, bacon, turkey, or other cold roast meats
- Peeled prawns (shrimp!), crabmeat or other cooked seafood
- Shredded omelette (whisk a few eggs with some salt and pepper and a dash of water, tip into your hot greased frypan and allow to set into a thin cake. Slide out onto a board or plate to cool -roll up and chop into slices)
- Tofu or tempeh
- Raw cashews or other nuts of your choice
- Diced raw capsicum (peppers)
- Seeded red chilli
- Green shallots
- Fresh coriander or parsley (save some to garnish)
- Fresh or tinned sweetcorn
- Mushrooms – fresh or tinned
- Cherry tomatoes
- Finely sliced raw onion, raw carrot
- Snow peas (mange tout)
- Frozen or fresh peas or sliced green beans
- Broccoli, cauliflower or broccolini in small pieces
- Pineapple – tinned or fresh
Heat up your big frypan with a little oil, toss in the garlic and ginger (and chilli if you like it spicy) and cook until aromatic. If you are using ham, bacon or tofu/tempeh add this in next and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add in the vegetables that take more cooking time, as well as any other meats. Keep tossing around. Then add in your smaller vegetables and dump in your rice. Break up any lumps and keep stirring until it is well heated through.
Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a good slug of sesame oil. Stir well to coat the rice and then add in the cooked egg and fresh herbs, stirring to combine.
Dump into bowls and add a flourish of fresh herbs over the top. Eat and enjoy!