Fried Brown Rice with Edamame (With Bonus Leftover Idea)
I have been making fried rice for years. I have analyzed the techniques of the master chefs (you know, at Benihana) and come to the conclusion that the best fried rice recipe has no real recipe at all. The whole point is to use the ingredients that you have on hand. This is a brilliant meal when you have lots of things in small amounts — a carrot, an onion, an egg, leftover broccoli, or pretty much any little thing you want to use up. Except of course, maybe that old container of cottage cheese. No, that won’t work.
However, almost anything else is fair game. I have marked this recipe vegetarian because that’s how I made it last night, but it is also great with meat in it if you are so inclined. Chicken, pork, or ham are all great in it. I have done versions with leftover barbecued pork rib meat, leftover corn cut off the cob, and a bit of hoisin sauce to make a “summer barbecue fried rice.”
The key is to cook your rice up as far in advance as possible to let it cool so it is firm and not sticky. Think ahead — maybe make some rice as a side dish on a Monday and make a double batch, use half that night and fry the remainder on Wednesday. Last night, however, I didn’t figure out what we were having until 4:48 PM (like most nights). If you find yourself in that position (especially with brown rice b/c it takes 50 minutes to cook), try this: cook the brown rice completely, fluff it, remove from heat and let it steam dry without the lid for 5-10 minutes, and then spread it on a cookie sheet and park it in the fridge. Mine was cool and not sticky after about 15 minutes. That had us eating by 6:30 (with two glasses of wine to slow me down). You can also certainly use white rice as it takes less than half the time to cook — but brown rice is obviously much healthier because it includes the bran portion which gives you more fiber and more vitamins and minerals.
Fried Brown Rice with Edamame (Serves 4 as a main dish with leftovers)
2 cups of long grain brown rice (I used Organic Brown Basmati)
1 T chopped ginger
1 T chopped garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 package frozen edamame
Other veggies or meats (or eggs) or your choosing
Olive or vegetable oil for cooking
Sesame Oil for flavoring
Salt and Pepper
- Cook two cups brown rice according to package directions. (Usually takes about 50 minutes)
- While rice is cooking, cook one package of frozen edamame (soybeans) for about 5 minutes. I used frozen edamame from my CSA last year, so this is a guess, but it probably amounted to about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shelled edamame. Shell the edamame and set aside.
- Chop one onion, a couple of carrots, a tablespoon of fresh garlic, and a tablespoon of fresh ginger. Prepare any other veggies or add-ins at this point. (Ideas: green onions, corn, broccoli, leftover meat or shrimp, one or two eggs, peppers, cilantro, etc.)
- When rice is done, fluff, and remove from heat and steam dry without lid on for 5-10 minutes. Spread on cookie sheet and put in fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- While rice is cooling, get out a big wok or saute pan and heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.
- Quickly saute garlic and ginger (about 30 seconds) and then add in carrots and slow cooking vegetables. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until carrots begin to soften.
- Add onion and quick cooking veggies (like peppers) and stir fry all for a few minutes until onion begins to get translucent.
- If you want to add eggs, whisk one or two eggs in a bowl. Spread veggies to side of pan and pour in eggs to scramble them. It doesn’t matter if the veggies get mixed into it.
- Get cooled rice from the fridge and add to wok or pan. Stir well so all veggies, eggs, etc. are incorporated. If you are using stainless steel or cast iron pans, the rice will probably stick — but it’s really no big deal.
- Start seasoning with soy sauce (do about two tablespoons at first and then add more to taste), salt and pepper (won’t need too much salt b/c of the soy), and a bit of sesame oil.
- Add edamame and any other “barely cook” veggies (like green onions, corn, cilantro or other herbs) and any precooked meat or shrimp if you are using it. Stir it all until well mixed and keep tasting and seasoning until it’s good!
- For the grown-ups, it’s great served with Asian Hot Sauce (like Sriracha or the Rooster) or Chile Garlic Sauce.
It’s a complete meal with whole grain and protein (even my vegetarian version), it’s cheap, it cleans out your refrigerator, and it’s easy. What more can you ask for?
OK, so how about a bonus idea for leftovers?
Reheat some leftover fried rice, slice some cabbage (you know cabbage is one of my go-to veggies for family cooking), mix together with some olive oil and Sriracha Rooster Sauce for a fantastic Spicy Fried Rice Salad.