It’s been an I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking kind of week. Even after making a special trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy a few simple ingredients for the night’s dinner, I was thisclose to ordering take-out.
And after last Friday’s fabulous 9-course tasting menu birthday dinner at The Ritz (thanks, Jay!), who could blame me for being in a bit of a cooking slump? When am I ever going to have sashimi, quail egg, abalone, veal, lobster, quail, and foie gras again during a single meal? On the other hand, if I ate like that on a more frequent basis, I’d only be able to eat twice a week – that’s how full (and satisfied!) I felt afterward.
After feeling full all of last weekend, this week has been a week of relatively simple eating. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and easy-to-put-together dinners. I’ve been loading everything with fresh produce, and fried rice – despite its greasy-sounding name – is no exception.
Did you know that fried rice can be delicious comfort food without being overly oiled-up and unfresh? It can also be loaded with your choice of fresh veggies, rather than smooshy peas and carrots of the frozen variety. I’ve stuck with the basics here, but have been known to toss in some asparagus and watermelon radishes, among other unexpected veggies, from time to time. So experiment with whatever you’ve got in the fridge, whatever is on sale, or whatever looks interesting at the farmer’s market. You could even use that bag of peas and carrots in your freezer, as long as you promise it wasn’t purchased and used several times for icing a pulled hamstring.
But whatever you do, don’t leave out the egg. Scramble it if you must, although the fried egg on top is traditional Korean-style. It’s also a prettier way to serve the fried rice, and a more fun way to eat it. I might be a tad obsessed with breaking eggs over things, but in this case, the rice wouldn’t be quite the same without the occasional bites dripping with eggy creaminess.
This fried rice is often requested by Jay, and seeing as it’s relatively quick and easy to make (and that I can “hide” extra veggies in it), it’s a good recipe to throw together mid-week when I’m lacking the time and energy to put into a dinner that takes more than 30 minutes of prep and cooking time.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. carrots, diced
1 1/2 c. red onion, diced
2 tsp. salt, divided
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 tsp. ginger, minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. green onions (including white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter, divided
3 c. cooked rice
6 eggs (only cook as many eggs as people you are serving because, unless you choose to scramble them, the fried eggs don’t hold up well for leftovers)
soy sauce to taste (I think I used 1/4 c.)
1/4 c. cilantro (or parsley), chopped
(If not using leftover, already-cooked rice, pour the appropriate amounts of water and rice into a rice cooker and set to “cook.”)
In a large pan over medium heat, saute carrots in olive oil until cooked but still slightly crunchy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add onions and 1 tsp. salt, stir, and continue to cook until onions are cooked through, approximately 4 minutes. Pour carrots and onions into a large bowl, and set aside.
In the same pan using remaining oil from carrots and onions, saute chicken, 1 tsp. salt, ginger, and garlic for 5-6 minutes (stirring periodically) until meat turns white and is cooked through. Pour chicken into the same bowl as the carrots and onions, and set aside.
In the same pan, melt 1/2 Tbsp. butter, and saute green onions for 2 minutes until softened. Pour green onions into same bowl as chicken, and set aside.
In a smaller, nonstick pan, melt remaining 1/2 Tbsp. butter, and fry eggs over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, until egg white is no longer runny (but yolk still will be runny; cook longer for a firmer yolk). Meanwhile, return carrot-onion-chicken mixture to large pan, stir in cooked rice, and add soy sauce to taste. Cook for just a couple minutes over medium-low heat to re-heat the vegetables and allow soy sauce to be absorbed by rice and veggies. Remove from heat, and stir in the fresh cilantro or parsley, if using.
Scoop hot fried rice into shallow bowls or plates, and top each dish with a fried egg for a pretty presentation. Before eating, have your guests break the egg yolk over the rice, and mix the egg into the dish.