Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Veggie Meals for a Meat Lovin' Husband: Egg Fried Rice

It is always a rare and magical moment to set down a dinner composed mainly of vegetables and watch the smile spread across Aaron's face. This recipe has continually delighted us and comprises the long awaited second installment of my Veggie Meals for a Meat Lovin' Husband series!

Egg fried rice is the winning meal described above, because it is completely vegetarian, yet provides protein in the eggs and incomplete protein in the rice. I have discovered a few tricks along the journey of making it that I will share with you. Aaron found the original recipe on line, but as I did not have a few of the ingredients, I have modified it into a dinner tailored to our taste buds.

The original recipe recommended that cooks thoroughly cool the rice before mixing it into the stir-fry, a suggestion which I follow when I have the time, although I have made it with warm rice before and it has been edible. This time, I did have time! I cooked the rice in the morning, spread it over a cookie sheet, and let it cool in the fridge until the evening. I made two cups of rice, which provides two people with a generous dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.

That evening, I switched on our stove and cooked the eggs first. Some recipes will tell you to cook the veggies first, and then cook the egg in with the veggies, but I have found that makes the eggs stick to every crevice in the vegetables and I think that is disgusting. So I started scrambling the eggs first, and then stir in the veggies. You could even cook them separately, and add the eggs to the veggies once the veggies are cooked through. The recipe calls for two large eggs, but I added two more because I did not want to skimp on the main source of protein in the meal.

Next it was time for the stars of the meal: the veggies! Any kind of vegetables can be used, and I usually use broccoli and brussels sprouts, as those are our favorite vegetables. I also added a new pepper I found at the store, the name of which I cannot remember, but you can view it below. It wasn't too spicy, but rounded out the overall flavor well.

Vegetable heroes!

I have used carrots in the past, and I would like to try bell peppers and snap peas. The season and maybe your wallet is the only limit to what vegetables you use! I chop up enough vegetables to fill two heaping cups. Two tablespoons of vegetable oil gets the cooking process started, although I sometimes add more when the rice goes in if food is sticking to the pan. It's important to stir fairly continually, especially if you scrambled the eggs first, so that no part of the meal burns or sticks to the bottom of the pan.

I used my largest frying pan.
After the vegetables have softened (the recipe says that point comes after four minutes, but I usually cook them for longer to make sure), it's time to add in one tablespoon of soy sauce. Soy sauce adds a punch of flavor to the meal, even if you use a low sodium version as I did. After the vegetables have cooked in the soy sauce for about a minute or two, I add in the rice and more soy sauce, and often pepper as well. (I forgot that this time.) The pan is nearly overflowing by this point, so care is needed to evenly distribute vegetables and soy sauce throughout the rice. 

We love this meal! It is quick and simple to prepare, perfect for busy midweek evenings. I love vegetable stir-fries and Aaron doesn't typically enjoy them, but this is a compromise meal that makes both of us happy. This recipe comes from the Cooke Family Canon, and I hope you all enjoy it!

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