This month is the one-year anniversary of Wok Wednesdays. I can’t remember how I initially found Grace Young, Matt Lardie (co-founder of the group ), and the Wok Wednesdays crowd, but however it happened, it surely was a stroke of luck for me. From the moment that I ditched my non-stick wok in favor of a carbon steel one, I knew this was going to be fun. After learning how to season and care for my wok, I began to stir fry with gusto.
I’ve made vegetables, shrimp (to die for), several chicken dishes and I’m contemplating tofu. Although I’ve looked at stir-fry recipes by other chefs and cookbook authors, my mentor is Grace and my bible is her book, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge.
Now that I've made many of Grace's recipes, I am ready to spread my stir-frying wings (so to speak) with my own stir-fry recipes. For my first one, I decided to stay with a simple, family favorite. When our kids were young and we "ate Chinese," my daughter Eleanor would always order fried rice. Although she usually didn't eat a lot, if dinner included fried rice, she ate like a champ. Remembering how she concentrated on finishing a huge bowl while the rest of us grazed off of many other dishes brings a smile to my face even now. I decided that re-creating "Eleanor's fried rice" was the right way to celebrate Wok Wednesday's anniversary.
Fried rice is simple to cook yourself and you can make it in a large pan if you don’t own a wok. (Though I hope you’ll consider getting a wok – it’s infinitely better and not expensive.) In this recipe, the garlic and ginger shine through, but the overall taste is not spicy. This is really more of a template than a true recipe. You could substitute vegetables; just keep in mind, that all vegetables should be chopped into small pieces of similar size and that “hard” vegetables (such as carrots, celery and onion) that take longer to cook should go in before those “softer” vegetables (such as mushrooms) that take less time. If you've never made fried rice before, check out my 5 Tips for Great Stir-Fried Rice.