Monday, May 7, 2012

"Fried" Brown Rice

I LOVE Chinese food.  When I say's because Chinese food is everything I love about my favorite foods.  It's salty, filling, satisfying, bad for you (even healthy chefs can admit their weaknesses, right?) and most of all, reminds me of being a kid.  When I was little, we used to take family trips with my cousins to Hunt Valley Szechuan (anyone remember that place?).  No meal was ever complete without veggie lo mein and fried rice.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW BAD FRIED RICE IS FOR YOU?  Seriously, any idea?  For that matter, do you know how unhealthy most Chinese food is, in general?

Oil, on top of salt, on top of fat. Yikes.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, trying to perfect Chinese recipes with a healthy DNA.  So far, I've done a pretty good job!

So, here is my recipe for "fried" brown rice.  I don't use any oil other than nonstick cooking spray and I don't use white rice.  Trust me when I say this recipe is worth trying.

Ingredients (4 servings):
- 3 eggs
* I sometimes even add a few extra whites in here because everyone knows eggs are one of the world's most perfect foods
- 2 packages of prepared, frozen brown rice; cooked according to package directions (why would I do all that work cooking dry rice if someone else has already done it for me?)
- 1 handful carrots, sliced finely
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic, finely pressed
- 2 cups fresh or frozen stir-fry veggies (to save time, you can sometimes find these in the produce aisle already chopped- I used green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, water chestnuts, peas)
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar (don't omit this one)
- Canola oil nonstick cooking spray
- Freshly cracked salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste

- Spray nonstick skillet or wok with nonstick cooking spray; heat on medium-high
- Add all 3 eggs at the same time; scramble in pan very quickly.  Be sure to break them up finely.  Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add onion and carrot; saute until translucent
- Add brown rice and stir "fry" on high for about 5-7 minutes
- Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes (don't burn it!)
- Add veggies and eggs back to pan
- Add remainder of ingredients
- Continue to cook on high until the veggies are heated through and have a little bit of caramelization (do not overcook or you will have soggy veggies!)

*Note: I sprayed the rice a few times during the cooking with a little bit of the nonstick cooking oil to add a llittle sheen without actually frying the rice in a puddle of oil like they do in Chinese restaurants.

Look at all those eggs...mmmmmmm...I had to pry myself away from the pan

Finished product!  I served our guests' fried rice with shrimp tonight, but you could use chicken, tofu, lean steak...whatever you want!

  Happy healthy Chinese cooking!!

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