Thursday, March 17, 2011

Broccoli and Fried Rice

We had a cold snap awhile back. For all my friends up north who are laughing at me, no, really, it got cold. The temperature was in the low 20s for a few days and there was just enough "snow" to cancel work and school. This is all to say, I had to harvest my garden. And by my garden, I mean these two stalks of broccoli. One of which probably should have been harvested a week earlier.

You keep your broccoli in a podiatry mug, too, right?

How do you feed two measly stalks of broccoli to two adults for dinner? Fried rice, of course! I made rice as part of a meal earlier in the week and planned ahead so we'd have some leftover. Fried rice (and really stir fries in general) is one of the easiest ways to get a vegetable-filled dinner on the table fast. Most of the time will be spent chopping vegetables, which means if you can get moderately efficient with your knife skills (check out some videos on youtube), you can make this meal in about twenty minutes.

The fried tofu was surprisingly eggy.

Most fried rice recipes call for 2 parts rice to 1 part vegetables/protein. We like to increase the amount of vegetables, so we usually do a ratio of 1 part rice (often brown rice) to 1 part vegetables. You want all your vegetables to be chopped about the same size. You don't see broccoli in stir fries very often, but it's actually a great use for it. All the tiny bits of broccoli mingle with the rice, and you can use every bit of the stem.

Vegetable-Filled Fried Rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, any size, chopped
2 cups chopped vegetables [see note]
fried tofu, in cubes or slices (optional)
2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or sake
salt to taste

Heat oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat. We'll be adding all the food in shifts, and you'll want to keep stirring as you cook everything constantly. Add chopped onions and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chopped vegetables starting with those that are hardest and need the longest cooking times, like carrots. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables turn a bright color. If you're using spinach, bean sprouts, or scallions, add them just before you add the rice in the next step. Add the rice and the tofu, if you are using it. Cook 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the rice is heated through and slightly crispy. Add the soy sauce and mirin or sake and cook a minute longer. Season to taste and serve.

A note on vegetables: The thing about fried rice, and stir fries in general, is that any vegetable works. Use whatever is hanging around your fridge or freezer. Carrots, bell peppers, greens, scallions, broccoli, corn, peas, turnips, celery, green beans, asparagus, sweet potato, lima beans, greens, sprouts. Any vegetable that's generally cooked will likely work. Hard vegetables like carrots should go in first and quick-cooking vegetables, like many greens and bean sprouts, can go in briefly at the end until they wilt or warm. Alternatively, use a frozen vegetable mix that includes carrots, peas, green beans, and lima beans.

You can chop the vegetables any way you like, so long as they're all chopped the same. Cubes are easiest, but other shapes, like julienne, are fun for a change.


panda with cookie said...

Well, now I will be keeping my broccoli in a podiatry mug!

mollyjade said...

It's the only way to store your broccoli, really.