Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Use Up Your Chometz, Pt. II (Chicken Fried Rice)














A couple of years or so ago, my youngest child brought home from school a recipe from his cooking class. Fried rice. His repertoire up until then consisted of cold cereal and Wacky Mac (usually not together), so this was quite a step up. He has made it himself at home a few times, but he eventually decided that "mom makes it better," which translates to "I don't wanna cook let mom do it." I've since tweaked the recipe to include leftover chicken (originally cooked plain or lightly sauced so as not to overpower this dish), ginger, scallions and sesame seeds. 














Never use freshly-made rice to make fried rice! It will stick to the bottom of the skillet and/or turn into mush. Cold cooked rice stays firm throughout the cooking.  The easiest way to do this is: whenever I make a rice dish, I make more rice than I need then freeze the excess. Just be sure to defrost the rice overnight, rather than dumping the frozen block into the frying pan. If you aren't as efficient as I am ;-) , make the rice in the morning, cool then refrigerate it until almost dinner-making time.

The amount of chicken used in the recipe depends upon a) how much leftover chicken you have, b) how chicken-y you like your fried rice,  c) or substitute your favorite meat, and c) or leave out the meat completely if you want to make this parve/vegan.

You can use powdered garlic and ginger, but this dish is MUCH better with fresh.  Conversely, frozen peas work better here because fresh peas aren't heated enough to get cooked.  Unless you like the taste of fresh uncooked peas in fried rice, then, knock yourself out.

Use the largest frying pan or skillet you have.  The ingredients don't sound like a lot, but the sum is greater than its parts, and in a too-small pan you'll have food thrown all over the stove.  The way I cook, anyway.

Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 4-6, plus leftovers to take to work the next day

2 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, halved then thinly sliced
1/4 Tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
3-4 cups cold, leftover rice
2 Tbs. soy sauce, or to taste
1-2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces, about 2 breasts (or omit completely to make it parve/vegan)
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 green onions, chopped (optional)
2 Tbs. Sesame seeds (optional)

Place a large frying pan or skillet over a medium-high flame.  When the pan is hot, add 1 Tbs. oil, let it heat a few seconds, then pour in the beaten eggs.  Tilt around the pan to spread out the eggs.   When the edges start to curl up a tiny bit but the middle is still underdone, flip the eggs over using a spatula. Cook for a few seconds then lift out with the spatula onto a plate.  Cut it up into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside both the eggs and the spatula.














Add remaining oil to the skillet, let it heat for a few seconds, then add the onion, black pepper and garlic.















Stir-fry until the onions soften a bit but not too brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove the onion mixture to a covered dish and set aside.

 Toss ginger into the skillet and stir-fry 30 seconds. 

Add the rice and continue to stir-fry for a couple of minutes to heat it, breaking up lumps if any.  Pour the soy sauce over the rice, and stir to evenly coat the rice.















Add the onion mixture and chicken and continue to stir.  As long as the spatula you had to use to flip over the eggs has already been "dirtied" use it to help you move around the mixture.  Add the peas, and stir until everything is heated up.  Add cut-up egg and stir in gently.

Plate the fried rice, and top with scallions and sesame seeds.

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