Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Clean out the fridge night: Fried Rice

Tonight we made Mark Bittman's Fried Rice recipe using all kinds of odds and ends we had leftover from our CSA box and other leftovers from the week. I love that he gives a recipe for basic fried rice, then says "the list of things you can add to fried rice is longer than the list of things you cannot". That really gives me confidence to play around with it ad use what I have on hand to create something unique.

We had one small kohlrabi about one cup of cauliflower florets from our CSA. Add to that about 3/4 cup of diced ham leftover from when we made the pea soup, and of course all that rice from the stuffed baby squash.

We also had half a head of cabbage from the CSA and the leafy tops of the kohlrabi. I didn't think those would go all that well in the fried rice so I sauteed those separately in a little oil and added some chopped almonds and sesame seeds at the end.

Fried Rice with Shrimp and Pork
Serves 4

1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 medium onion (he says to roughly chop it, but I like smaller onion pieces so I did more of a small dice so mine were about the size of the peas)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped (instead of this we used the kohlrabi and cauliflower, and it was more like 1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces small shrimp, peeled (optional: we didn't do this because we didn't have any)
8 ounces diced roast pork, Chinese sausage, or other cooked meat (optional, we used ham)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (we used the stuff in the jar)
3 to 4 cups cooked any long-grain rice (start with about 1 1/2 cups raw), preferably basmati or jasmine and preferably chilled (i.e., leftover rice)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, sherry, dry white wine, stock, or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil (we used toasted sesame oil, not dark)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallion or fresh cilantro

For this recipe, it's best to have everything prepped before you start, because once you get going things move pretty fast.

If you are using frozen peas, put them in a bowl of cold water so they defrost. Give them a stir after a few minutes in case any remain stuck together.

Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over high heat. Once heated, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to brown. If the mixture starts to stick and looks like it's starting to burn, lower the heat a bit. Transfer the mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

(I had to add a bit more oil at this point) Add the shrimp, if using, and cook over a high heat until they turn pink. Add the pork (or other meat) and cook until it browns slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add it to the bowl with the vegetables.

Drain the peas if you had to defrost them, and add them to the skillet. Shake the skillet while they cook for about a minute, then add them to the bowl with everything else.

Put the remaining oil in the skillet, then add the garlic and ginger. Cook for just 15 seconds, then start adding the rice, a little at a time, breaking up the clumps with your fingers and stirring it into the oil. After all the rice is added, push the rice away from the center of the pan to make a well to add the eggs (if using). Stir them until they start to scramble, then mix them into the rest of the rice.

Add your bowl of meat and veggies back to the pan and stir everything together gently. Add the rice wine vinegar, stir and cook for about a minute. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary (ours didn't need any). Off the heat, stir in the scallion and/or cilantro, and serve.


  1. I really like reading your thought process of your cooking. You guys each with such a variety (that's a compliment). What is the CSA box you're talking about? It sounds like something with fresh food...but I' mvery curious!!!

  2. Hey thanks!

    CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture". We signed up last summer for the first time and LOVE it. One farm in our area started doing one over the winter, which is not as bountiful as the summer harvest but still good.

    Basically you sign up with a local farm, pay them up front in one or two payments for the whole season (in the summer the season runs 22-26 weeks), and each week they give you a box of produce - a nice variety of all the different crops they are harvesting that week. I love it because I know I'm directly supporting a local business and I like knowing that my food didn't have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get to me.

    It works out to about $16 a week and it's already put together for you to take home - even quicker than the Saturday market, which sometimes I hate going to because it's so crowded and I never know what to buy. This way it's decided for me and so all I have to do is put it in the fridge and plan my weekly menu around it.

    I went to this website to find a farm to sign up with:


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