Like many people, I’m trying to eat less meat. I’m not a vegetarian (though I could see myself taking the plunge eventually), but I do have strong feelings about factory farming. I only eat ethical, sustainable meat, as far as I can control it, and certified humane eggs. I also don’t eat baby animals — no chicken wings or lamb for me.
All these rules make eating meat hugely expensive — certified humane eggs (which are MUCH harder to come by than packaging would suggest. If you don’t know if your eggs are humane, don’t trust the carton: I’ve found the cornucopia institute to be very informative, providing good transparency and the process by which they arrive at their scores) cost almost $5/dozen where I live. And forget organic, humane milk. $8/gallon, anyone?
So eating less meat (and dairy, unfortunately) is a great decision for my wallet and my health. And how better to use up leftovers, reduce waste, reduce your waist (har), and enjoy your meals than fried rice?
“Wait,” you say. “Isn’t rice a starch?” Well, yes. Yes, it is. So use brown rice, and limit the quantity. Starch isn’t terrible for you, it’s just when all of your calories come from that and meat that you have a problem. Unless you’re allergic to rice. In which case, you may want to not look at this recipe.
This isn’t the fried rice you order from the Asian-inspired takeout place down the road, anyway. (Though I’ve been known to use leftover rice from takeout for my friend rice!) This is healthy and deliciously flavorful.
“Wait,” you say. (You sure have a lot of questions…) “Doesn’t fried rice just mean throwing everything you have into a pan or a wok with some rice and frying it up?”
Well yes. But mine’s awesome. Read on, and ye shall be converted.
- 1 bag organic frozen veggies, or fresh veggies of your choice (yes, organic is more expensive than conventional, but fried rice is cheap enough that it’s worth it!)
- 2 cups white or brown rice, preferably a day or more old
- 1/4 c hot water
- 1 green tea bag
- 1-3 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons fish oil or vegetable bouillon (fish oil edges over into “meat” territory, of course)
- 2 cloves diced garlic
- Knuckle-sized chunk fresh grated ginger
- Pepper, salt, chili powder, etc. to taste
- 1-2 eggs (optional)
- Steep the tea bag in the 1/4 c hot water: This will produce a strong, flavorful tea. (I’m obsessed with green tea broth lately!)
- Heat a large frying pan. When hot, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and allow to melt. When oil coats the bottom of the pan, throw in the garlic and ginger, as well as onions if you are using them. Watch out – the pan will sizzle! Don’t add the garlic and ginger while the pan is cold; I get much better results tossing my fragrance spices into hot oil and stirring.
- Add your vegetables. If using frozen veggies, dump the whole thing in and stir.
- If using fresh veggies, add in order from toughest to tenderest. For example: carrots, pause for a minute or so, then broccoli, pause for a minute or so, then mushrooms/tofu, pause, then green peppers. If you’re using leafy vegetables, add them at the end.
- Stir for about one minute after adding your last vegetable, or until most of the vegetables have at least touched the coconut oil.
- Pour about half of the concentrated green tea over the veggies and cover.
- Let cook over a lower heat for a little while. How long? Just wing it. Probably not more than 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and check the carrots: are they soft enough? If they are, proceed. If not, cover again and let sit.
- When the carrots are the desired texture, add the rice and stir. Add pepper, salt (I leave out salt entirely), chili powder, as desired and stir. I added a squeeze of lemon in this step.
- Pour the rest of the concentrated green tea and the buillion or fish sauce over the rice and veggies. If desired, add another teaspoon of coconut oil and stir in, coating the rice.
- Add the egg(s) if desired, and stir until the egg is scrambled into the rice and veggie mixture
- Let stand over low heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Makes 4 servings.
I really love this method of preparing fried rice because the coconut oil makes everything taste like it’s smothered in sweet butter, when in fact it takes a small amount of coconut oil to achieve the effect. The green tea adds additional flavor and an antioxidant boost, and it’s an endlessly customizable formula. What’s not to love?
Stay healthy and caring, my friends!