Not Your Typical Fried Rice
Fried rice is such a good dish to make when looking for something quick and easy, and you can pretty much add any flavor combinations you desire - every culture has a variety, and now you can have your own combo too! It does not really require any complicated cookery of vegetables - the hardest part of fried rice is actually the rice itself. As this dish is typically made with leftover rice, if you do not have any, that already puts a damper on the plan. Then, if you decide to cook rice, it can be challenging to get that perfect texture without it becoming mushy. So why not leave it out altogether?
Or, why don't you use a riced vegetable like cauliflower or broccoli? This is my new strategy, and I don't think I want to go back to the more traditional approach. Not only does this make the dish lighter and healthier, but it gives you many more options to choose from as your base. And if you choose a vegetable with a bright color, it will make your dish even more stunning!
I always have cauliflower rice in my freezer, so that is where I start. Then, I pretty much search through my fridge for any vegetables that make me smile that day and get them ready to cook. Don't be afraid of this next step - chopping. This part requires the most work, but if you are not great with a knife, that is okay. You can choose to make each vegetable uniform, or you can choose whatever shape you like. Just remember, if you cut them in different sizes, they will require different cooking times, so you will have to stagger their additions to the pan.
When it comes to the sauce, you have so many options. A classic choice is soy sauce, packed with umami, but it is fairly salty and can overpower the rest of the dish. Gochujang sauce is a fun way to kick up the spice level, but don't add to much if you can't handle the heat! Lately, I've chosen a mix of rice wine vinegar, coconut aminos, and toasted sesame oil. The acidity keeps the dish fresh and the aminos and sesame oil add some depth, all while letting the vegetables shine too.
We have arrived at the egg, my favorite part, and you have numerous techniques at your disposal! Scrambled, poached, over easy, sunny-side-up, soft-boiled, medium-boiled, hard-boiled, coddled - you name it, you can choose it. Poached egg is my current selection because the runny yolk creates another layer of sauce and richness, and I always enjoy cracking it open and watching the yolk run out. Plus, I just received a sous vide machine and it works great for this purpose! Don't forget to season it with just a little salt and pepper so the delicious flavor does not get lost!
Lastly, we have the garnish, which is where the herbs come in. I don't like too add them too early for they lose their color quickly and get a cooked green taste, which is not what this dish needs; I toss them in at the very end when the dish is ready to be eaten. Cilantro ties in well with the Asian theme, but a little basil or lemon verbena adds nice variety. Even oregano, rosemary, or mint would work great, it just depends on what you like most and what flavor you desire. And now for the final touch - toasted sesame seeds. Their tiny size and crunch goes a long way! If seeds aren't your thing though, try some toasted nuts or even croutons to add a little more texture. Toss them in a few spices and use as your secret ingredient for even more flavor!
That's it! A scrumptious meal that is great immediately, and if you have leftovers, it will be just as tasty the next day - I definitely recommend making a large batch so you have that option.
Below I have outlined the ingredients and procedure to which I gravitate, but as I said before, utilize them as a guideline as you make your own! Bon Appétit!
Riced Vegetable Fried Rice
Cauliflower Rice | White Onion | Ginger | Garlic | Celery | Carrots | Broccoli | Red, Orange, and Yellow Peppers | Radishes | Rice Wine Vinegar | Coconut Aminos | Toasted Sesame Oil | Lime | Egg | Cilantro | Sesame Seeds | Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Salt | Pepper |
Roast the cauliflower rice in the oven until golden brown.
In the meantime, in a medium-sized pot, caramelize the vegetables in a little bit of oil, cooking the larger, heartier ones first so they become as tender as the rest and the smaller ones don't burn. Make certain not to overcrowd the pot so the vegetables do not steam and can get a little color.
While the vegetables are cooking, bring a small pot of water to a simmer with a little bit of white vinegar to help solidify the poached egg. If you happen to have a sous vide machine, set it to 63°C and let the water come to temperature.
Toss the cauliflower with the other vegetables and season with the sauce ingredients along with salt and pepper. Squeeze in a little lime as well to boost the acidity level.
Swirl the simmering water and drop in the egg, continuing to swirl as it begins to set so the whites form a round shape. Poach until it reaches the desired doneness. For the sous vide, cook the egg in its shell directly in the water for 45 minutes.
Add the herbs (chopped or whole, however you prefer) and the seeds to the vegetables. Save a little of both to garnish on top.
Plate the vegetable mixture in your bowl of choice. Place the egg on top and garnish with the remaining seeds and herbs.
#vegetableforward #notyourtypicalfriedrice #healthycooking