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.
Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice
2 servings Cost – $2
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- 1 medium-large clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
- ¾ cup of diced carrots, celery and onions
- ¾ cup of diced mushrooms
- 2 cups of cold, cooked rice, broken up so there are no major clumps of rice stuck together
- ⅓ cup frozen peas (If you have fresh peas, see note under step # below.)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of peanut or other high-smoking point oil (I used safflower)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Small bowl
- Vegetable peeler
- Knife (sharp)
- Cutting board
- Spoon (to peel ginger)
- Measuring spoons
- Four tiny bowls for the tablespoons and teaspoon of oil and for the soy sauce
- Measuring cups for solids
- Flat metal spatula
- Small plate
- Fork and knife
- Beat the egg lightly in the small bowl.
- Peel and chop the vegetables, including the garlic and ginger (except the peas.) Here is a tip on how to easily peel fresh ginger with a spoon.
- Measure out the oil into 3 separate bowls (2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) and the soy sauce into a 4th bowl.
- Set up the ingredients next to the wok in an order that makes sense to you, so they are easily reachable as you cook. My order was rows beginning with the oil for the items in that row. Consider this the Chinese equivalent of mise en place.
- Heat the wok on the stove top until a drop of water beads and rolls around when dropped into the hot wok. If the wok is smoking, it is too hot – let it cool down just a bit before testing with the drop of water and proceeding.
- Add the teaspoon of oil, swirl it around and then add the beaten egg. Let the egg cook for 30 seconds to one minute – stirring only slightly, so that it becomes pancake-like rather than scrambled eggs. Remove the egg from the wok, onto the plate and after it has cooled a bit, cut it roughly into small pieces.
- Re-heat the wok (use the water drop test), add a tablespoon of oil, and swirl it around.
- Add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the diced carrots, celery and onion. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the diced mushrooms and continue stir-frying for another minute or so until the mushrooms begin to wilt. If you are lucky enough to have fresh peas instead of frozen, add them with the mushrooms instead of the rice.
- Add the final tablespoon of oil by swirling it down the sides of the wok (don’t pour it into the vegetables) and add the rice and frozen peas in the middle of the wok, stir-frying them to heat and mix into the other vegetables, 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the soy sauce, add back in the chopped egg, and serve.