Chicken Fried Rice
I’m a glass half empty kind of a girl. I don’t know why. By and large, I’ve led a charmed life in relative comfort and am now married to a man who loves me to pieces. And yet, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. This amuses and bemuses my husband, because he is quite the opposite, my eternal optimist. It’s a good thing I suppose. It would probably be a real bummer being married to a fellow buzzkill.
Now just imagine a month where everything goes wrong – the kind of month that would reinforce the disposition of a girl like me. Things that could go wrong did go wrong; things that I was totally unprepared for happened; so much time was wasted trying to resolve the said things; and I was busier than ever. I’m not trying to be cryptic. I just don’t want to bore you with the details. I will just say, it involved negligence/incompetence by an attorney (no, it wasn’t yours truly ). And we’re still in the process of resolving it.
When sh*t hits the fan, last thing I want to do is cook. I want to be left alone to brood. But I did manage to eek out some meals at home. One of the dishes I managed to make was chicken and vegetable fried rice. It’s one of those dishes that feels like a big hug, and a there-there with a comforting pat on my back. Much needed, I must say.
I tried to make it similar to the fried rice my mom used to make for me when I was a kid. As with most things here, it is very quick and simple to make. This probably makes about 3-4 servings, but we polished it off, just the 2 of us. And of course, lots of wine was had. Some hangovers were suffered. And my eternal optimist saw the brighter side of things.
Me? I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop and hoping for a more peaceful (if not mundane) April.
Fried Rice Recipe
Makes enough for 2 hungry people
1/4 onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 button mushrooms, sliced thinly
~3 1/2 cups day-old rice (or long-grain rice)
1-2 TB tamari
1 TB butter (optional)
1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
1/4 – 1/3 cup frozen peas
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
salt & pepper
canola or grapeseed oil for cooking
green onion for garnish
ketchup and/or sriracha
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add chopped garlic, onion, and carrot to the pan and sauté. Add a pinch of salt.
- Once the chopped onion becomes translucent and the carrot softened, add the mushrooms. Increase heat and sauté mushrooms until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add a pinch of salt. Make sure the heat is high enough to prevent “sweating” of the mushrooms. Add peas and chicken. Stir until heated through, just about a minute.
- Add rice and mix until well combined. Spread out the rice mixture thinly on the pan. Let it sit until the rice turns gold brown, just couple of minutes. Once golden brown, mix well. If you are not using eggs, go to the next step. If you are using eggs, push the rice to the edge of the pan, making a well in the middle of the pan. Add a drizzle of oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the beaten eggs. Let it sit until it JUST sets. When it just sets, break up the egg with a wooden spatula and mix the egg into the rice.
- Add 1-2 TB of soy sauce, and butter if using. Mix well. Add green parts of the scallion and a healthy dose of fresh black pepper. Remove from heat immediately. Mix to combine.
- Divide among 2-4 bowls. If needed, add salt to taste. Drizzle with ketchup and/or sriracha if desired.* Serve while hot.
I use brown rice for this recipe for added fiber. But regardless of color, rice should be drier and not too sticky when cooking fried rice. I have used just-cooked, long-grain brown rice when I didn’t have any cold rice available. They are naturally drier in texture.
You can use either ketchup (for kids) or sriracha. I usually mix the two. You can adjust the proportions depending on your preference. Use more ketchup, if you want the sauce to be sweet. Use more sriracha, if you want the sauce to be spicy. You can also mix in some gochujang, in lieu of sriracha, if desired. When I was a kid, I used to enjoy ketchup with a little bit of worcestershire sauce mixed in.