Summer or winter, sometimes we crave comfort food. But that doesn't have to mean something heavy and cheesy - instead, some of my favorite comfort dishes are those that hold childhood memories. Fried rice is one of those. My mom used to make it as an easy dinner that everyone liked and that could do double duty as lunch (and dinner) the next day. It's always delicious and makes me feel right at home.
Traditionally, fried rice is a dish that is made from leftovers. Much like Spanish paella, Chinese fried rice is an ingenious way of using what you have left in the fridge before it goes bad. So don't forget that you can have fun with this and make use of whatever you've got lying around - who says you can't play with your food?
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes.
Ingredients for about 4 servings:
- 3/4 - 1 cup brown rice
- 1 head of broccoli
- 6 medium sized mushrooms
- 3 cups of kale (about half a bunch)
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 medium sized red or yellow onion
- cayenne pepper (or regular pepper if you don't like extra spice)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- preferred cooking oil
- Set rice on to boil. For brown rice, use a ratio of 1(rice):2.5(liquid). For this recipe, I used 1/4 cup soy sauce as part of the liquid to add some extra flavor.
- While your rice is boiling, chop away at those veggies. Have you noticed that being vegetarian is half playing with your food and half chopping it up?
- By the time you're done with all of that chopping (whew!), your rice should be almost done cooking. Set a large pan (or wok) on the stove and begin to heat up your oil. Be sure to coat the bottom of the pan!
- Onions go in first, always. Let them soften and brown a bit before adding the purple cabbage. Sauté on medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Add broccoli and mushrooms to the mix along with 1/8 cup soy sauce. I like to put a lid over my pan at this point so that these can steam a little bit - it makes for a softer consistency and helps to keep everything from burning. I let it steam/sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is a rich green color and the mushrooms have shrunken and browned a bit.
- Add your cooked rice and kale to the pan. Sprinkle the seasonings (salt, pepper, and the remainder of your soy sauce) on top of everything, then toss. I like to do the fancy pan toss, especially if I'm cooking in a nice, big wok! It's really fun, but I understand that it can be difficult. An energetic stirring will work, too. Alternate between stirring and letting everything brown for 5-10 minutes, making sure that the cabbage doesn't turn into a mushy mess.
- Serve in bowls, because everything is better eaten out of a bowl! Add green onions to the top, and nom away.
Now this is a hearty meal. You will certainly feel satisfied after gobbling it down out of your lunch jar at work tomorrow. You'll feel healthy and energized, too! This particular combination of vegetables gives you a great range of different vitamins and nutrients, and the brown rice rounds it out perfectly. When you play with the veggie combinations for this dish, just keep in mind that the more colorful your plate is, the happier your tummy will be! Well, that's what works for me, anyway. You do you!
If you do need some extra oomph, say, after an intense run or yoga class, you can top it off with a fried egg. And for you lovely vegans, just add tofu!
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