For years my family had a weekly tradition that we all looked forward to. One night a week, usually whatever day ended up being the roughest for my hard-working parents, Dad would ask me to place an order at the local Chinese restaurant. Over the years, our order would change to accomodate developing tastes and adventurous streaks, but there was always an order of shrimp fried rice in the mix. Fried rice was something we all always agreed on.
Flash forward to last week, when I came across Easy Fried Rice on The Kitchn. As something of a fried rice connoisseur, I have always shied away from making my own, lest it not live up to my salty, delicious memories. But I must have been feeling brave, because I cast my fears aside and followed Mark Bittman’s sage advice, which boils down to, “Make what you like to eat.”
The recipe, though definitely easy, does have quite a few steps. And each of those steps seemed to take longer than I had ever expected. First, you have to scramble the eggs, then cook the tofu, then fry the rice. I succeeded in covering my stovetop with bits of egg, splashes of soy sauce, and a few (hundred) errant grains of rice, but was (luckily) able to keep enough ingredients in the pan to create a yummy dinner.
So, here are my thoughts: the fried rice was good, but it wasn’t exactly a blast from my past. It was lighter (and likely far healthier) than what I’m used to, so it didn’t exactly fulfill my craving. Maybe it could’ve used more soy sauce or some peanut oil? Or perhaps some oyster sauce? Any fried rice fanatics out there, please feel free to chime in with your go-to fried rice components. I’m all ears.
Easy Fried Rice via The Kitchn
Makes 2-4 servings
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 block tofu, cubed
1-2 cups cooked rice, white or brown
2 handfuls bok choy, stems and leaves sliced thinly
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
4-5 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Optional extras: 1/2-inch freshly grated ginger, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, splash of sesame oil
Place a skillet over medium heat and add a teaspoon of oil or butter. Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small curds. When the eggs are just barely cooked, scrape them into a clean dish and set them aside.
Increase heat to medium-high and add another teaspoon of oil to the pan. Sear the tofu on all sides, stirring only occasionally and cooking until the tofu is golden-brown on all sides. Remove the tofu from the heat and set it aside in a clean dish.
Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan and stir in the rice. Make sure all the grains of rice are coated with a little oil, then spread the rice into a thin layer across the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for a few minutes, then gather it together and spread it out thin again. Continue until the rice is toasted and beginning to brown.
Add two tablespoons of soy sauce and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar (and ginger and garlic, if using), and stir. Add the bok choy and cook until the green parts of the leaves are wilted. Add the peas and carrots, cooking until they are warmed through. Stir in the eggs, tofu, and spring onions.
Taste and add more soy sauce and rice wine vinegar if needed. Hot sauce and sesame oil can be added here, or sprinkled in each individual bowl instead.