Monday, January 18, 2010

Turning Brain-Fried into Pan-Fried (Rice)

It’s day one of cooking off the meal plan! Without even starting classes, I can already add one dish to my go-to meals list. The best part: it requires limited preparation and has a methodological and satisfyingly therapeutic cooking process. It’s the kind of meal that you know is going to pull through in the clutch. It’s going to be predictably delicious, forgiving if you want to dress it up with something new, and will have you reconsidering the true value of soy sauce.
After the many long nights of working or studying, we all feel we deserve a night off and some perhaps entertainment. Sadly, cooking often suffers the boot as we choose restaurants over our own free ranges. While not as thrilling or overpriced as the Japanese and Chinese restaurants that sell their fancy flame and knife work shows as well as their food, making chicken fried rice in the comfort of your own place may in fact be just as tasty and prove fairly simple. If they make a show out of dicing up vegetables and frying them in front of you, cut out the middle man: produce the show yourself.
Today’s grocery store gem was a whole chicken – an excellent buy, nearly 2 lbs of good meat to be saved for later, and the rest of my $6 chicken’s bones and giblets became broth that I will use for the next few weeks. After sectioning off the meat parts: breasts, thighs and legs, I was trying to decide what to do with the dark meat, i.e. thighs and legs, beyond deep frying them. Chicken fried rice fit the bill quite nicely. It was your typical throw-together meal; meaning I checked the pantry and fridge, found some staples willing to be sacrificed, and added my own personal touch, lemon juice, to create a great meal.
The recipe, while probably far different from the actual Chinese fried rice, serves as the necessary base on which you can expand upon and add to what you will with a plethora of options – substitute shrimp, red peppers, green onions, celery; use white wine or teriyaki; add Chinese rice noodles for a nice crunch, etc. Time to experiment!
Chicken Fried Rice
1 chicken thigh, cut into small pieces
1 chicken leg, cut into small pieces
1 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
Salt and Pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
½ onion, chopped
¼ C frozen peas
1 egg
2 T soy sauce [to taste]
½ C hot rice, cooked
1. Debone and cut up chicken.
2. In sauce pan, cook ½ C rice and 1 C water 15-20 min.
3. In 10-in skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
4. Brown chicken pieces, lemon juice, s&p
5. Take out chicken, put on plate.
6. Add garlic, carrot, onions and peas to skillet. Cook 5 min, until tender.
7. Take out vegetables, put on plate with chicken.
8. Keeping the skillet hot, crack egg into skillet, scramble.
9. Add chicken and vegetables to egg. Put in about 1 T soy sauce. Fry for about 1 min.
10. Add hot rice, mix. Add more soy sauce if needed. Fry for 2-3 min.
Makes about 3-4 C of meal. NOMS: 6.5


  1. Looks delicious! I'm going to be envious every night as I read what YOU had versus what we ate.
    Tell us - how long did it take to fix this?

  2. I love the chicken plate - CUTE!

  3. It took about 20 min to prepare and cook. Not too long at all. Very simple dish