Fried Rice

Today is my Mom's birthday! So, in honor of her birthday, I thought I'd post a recipe that I learned from her. Fried Rice! It was a favorite dish of mine growing up and I ate it a lot when I left the nest. It was a "taste of home" and was pretty easy to make! What I'm about to share is really more of a method than a recipe (as usual!), but that's because I make it so often that I don't measure, also as usual!

Oh, and I should note that I have not made this dish since going soy free. Like I said, I grew up with this, so I'm very used to this dish tasting a certain way. I thought I'd give my taste buds a long break from it before attempting to make it again. Maybe then, they will forget and I'll be able to enjoy a new, soy-free version! And, it's totally possible. Instead of soy, you can use a bit of fish sauce (careful!!! It is extremely potent!), maybe a bit of oyster sauce, or try looking up a recipe for soy-free soy-like sauce. There are several recipes floating around out there consisting of Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, etc.

First things first, it is best to start with cold, hard rice. So, make it the day before and then refrigerate overnight. You can make this dish with fresh rice, but the rice will be a bit mushier/stickier.

Really, the hardest part of fried rice is dicing everything. I usually use shredded carrots, minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, sliced green onions, sliced beef (I use the cheapest I can find, then slice against the grain to make it tender) or you can use ground meat. Oh, and I add egg. You can totally customize this to your liking, leaving out some things, adding anything else you like - diced bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. And, I use a very large wok to cook this, but I think a dutch oven or deep skillet would work, too.

So, to start cooking, put some oil in the pan (vegetable, corn, or some other neutral flavored oil is best here - not olive oil, that's the wrong flavor for what you're doing here - you can even a bit of sesame oil in there - just not too much as it is very potent). When the oil is hot, add garlic. Let it sit for just a few seconds, then add in your meat. Cook until pink in the middle.

Next, add in your rice, stir around until warm. Then, add in your veggies. Stir in. Then, add in your sauces. This can be whatever you have on hand. I used to use soy sauce, a small dash of fish sauce and a mushroom soy sauce - check to make sure it's GF!!!! Most are not. But you can use whatever sauce you can find - a bit of teriyaki is good too. I don't have an exact amount as I've been making it so long, I just eyeball it. But, start small - less is more with soy sauce. And, of course, you can always add more, but not take out. You just want enough to flavor the dish, not to coat the rice or to make the dish soupy. Anyway, stir some more. Add any spices that you want to add. I love garlic, so I usually add a bit of garlic powder and I also add some ground pepper. You probably will not need any salt as the soy sauce is salty enough. Also, this is where many restaurants add in A LOT of butter. Probably like 1/4 cup - seriously. I sometimes add in a tablespoon or so, sometimes none. That's why mine never tastes as good as the restaurants - but is much healthier! ;) If you want that restaurant flavor though, add A LOT of butter and that'll probably do it! Stir some more.

For the egg, I break 1 or 2 into a bowl, scramble it with just a touch of the soy and some garlic powder for flavor.

After the sauce, veggies, rice and meat have all been stirred a bit and allowed to sort of mesh together, make a big well in the middle of the fried rice, exposing the bottom of the pan. Then, pour in the egg. Stir just the egg around (like you would normally scramble it in a pan) until it's about 2/3 cooked, then mix it in with the rice and stir it all around some more (notice a pattern here? ;) ). This is how you get tiny streaks of egg throughout the fried rice rather than chunks of it.

Keep stirring intermittently until the egg is all cooked and everything is mixed well.

Add sesame seeds for garnish, if you'd like.

All done! I promise this sounds like it's hard, but it's not. It just takes some time to prep all the meat and veggies and then everything is sort of layered in when you cook.





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