Fried rice is a great dish when you’re running low on food, you want to clean out the vegetable drawer, you’re broke, or you don’t want to do a lot of dishes. It’s not complicated and has pretty basic ingredients, but it’s really delicious. Tonight we had a little bit of the first and the last happening. We didn’t want to make anything super laborious, but we wanted a homecooked meal since we’ve been getting a lot of takeout due to Charlie’s hectic work schedule. I even got those green onions that I showed you that are growing in the garden.
Charlie tells me that his mom always used to make this when there was leftover rice in the fridge. It was often a meal made for breakfast, but sometimes for dinner. Tita* often made it after making something like pork chops, where there were lots of drippings left in the pan. This version is vegan, but if you feel like it, you can fry an overeasy egg and throw it on top, letting the yolk get all gooey in the dish. It can stand alone as a meal, as we had it tonight, or be served as a side dish.
This dish is a little healthier than your standard fried rice because we used brown rice and a TON of vegetables. When we make fried rice or stir fry, the vegetables to protein & starch ratio is pretty ridiculous. We probably had about 6-7 cups of veggies, a scant 3 cups of rice, and I don’t know what you’d call a package of tofu, 2 cups? Anyway, the important thing to note about this is that fried rice is like stir fry and stone soup. Almost any vegetable you have will do. I’ve written down what we used in what quantities so that you have an idea, but certainly, if you have 4 cups of broccoli and 2 cups of snow peas and no carrot and you have no idea what a kohlrabi is, just go with it. My advice on this matter is to try to cut everything to roughly the same size, unless you know that it cooks drastically differently, and to separate your vegetables into two bowls: Stuff That Cooks Slowly, and Stuff that Cooks Really Fast. It will be awesome, I promise.
*That’s what I call Charlie’s mom – it’s the Tagalog word for “aunt,” but it’s used as an affectionate term for female family friends or other ladies who are around your parents’ age.
5 (or more) garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
Veggie Prep Bowl 1:
2-2 1/2 cups of broccoli, finely chopped (about 1 large floret)
1 1/2 cups of carrots finely chopped
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and finely chopped
Veggie Prep Bowl 2:
1 cup of snow peas, cut in half
1/2 cup yellow squash or zucchini, chopped a little bigger than the other stuff since it’s softer (you could do more, but Charlie likes it less than I do)
Total Vegetables: about 6-7 cups, chopped into small pieces
2-4 cups cooled white or brown rice (day old rice is perfect for this)
1 block of extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
a generous handful of green onions, snippped into pieces with scissors
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder (optional)
Heat a large pan (nonstick is best) for a few minutes until it is hot, then add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place the tofu cubes into the pan. Flip and stir frequently. Cook until the outside texture is crispy and brown. Remove the tofu from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
Drain some of the oil from the pan, leaving just a coating. Saute the garlic and the onion for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the broccoli, carrots, and kohlrabi. Do not add the squash and snow peas yet or they will get soggy. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, depending on the size of your pieces, stirring occasionally. Add the squash and snow peas, cooking for 2 minutes or until the snow peas are bright green and the squash is soft. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes or until it is heated through. Add pepper and soy sauce to taste. If necessary, add salt and garlic powder to taste.
Garnish with the green onions.