Thursday, November 03, 2011

What We've Been Eating - Chicken Fried Rice

My husband loves this dish. He's a big fan of rice so it is right up his alley. I got it from a magazine but have made changes to it to fit our tastes. Steve would probably eat it every month, but I refuse to make it that often. It's not a difficult dish to make, no fancy steps, everything is pretty easy to do; but it's a little time-intensive, you do a lot of things to get to the end result. It's worth it, though, just not every-month-worth-it. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Fried Rice
Olive oil (you could use any oil, but this is what I use)
1 yellow onion, chopped/diced
6-8 oz ham, diced (I've used turkey ham and it was just as tasty)
bok choy, chopped/sliced/cut up into bite-sized pieces*
1 red bell pepper, medium-diced (you don't want overly small or large pieces)
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely diced - trust me, use the fresh stuff
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated
2-3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 dab of butter
4-5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
4 c cooked and cooled bismati rice - about 2 cups uncooked.
low sodium soy sauce, to taste (I like low sodium because I add salt to the other ingredients)
salt and pepper, to taste

*I use all of the top, leafy part and part of the lower stalk. I cut off a healthy part of the bottom stalk because I find it to be too fibrous and I don't love it. The recipe says to use the whole dang thing. Also, I only use 3-4 stalks because otherwise the bok choy kind of took over the dish. Do what you want, though.

1. Get the rice going. My bag of bismati rice calls for a cooking time of 20 minutes, so it's good to do this first. That said, I often forget to do it until halfway through the recipe since it's not listed as the first step in the magazine. Cook the rice according to the package directions.

2. Add about 1 T of oil to a saute/frying pan (a large one), when the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and ham, add a dash of salt/pepper. Cook for a couple minutes then add the bok choy. Cook until leafy parts have started to wilt, about 3 minutes, then add the diced red pepper and cook for a couple more minutes, just to get the red pepper a little softer. Add the ginger and garlic, stir, cook for a minute, making sure not to burn these delicate flavors. Add another dash of salt and pepper (I don't know about you, but my veggies don't come pre-seasoned), then remove everything from the pan and put in a big bowl - seriously, a big bowl - you'll need it for latter steps!

3. Add about 1 T of oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Then throw in a dab of butter (approx. 1 T) and let it melt. When the butter is melted, add the diced chicken, sprinkly with a good dose of salt/pepper. Spread out the pieces, then leave them alone for a bit so they'll get nice and brown. Once browness has been achieved, turn the pieces over and let the other side get the same way. Remove chicken from the pan and put in the big bowl with the veggies.

4. Check on the rice. If your timer hasn't gone off yet, check the rice anyway. If it has gone off by this time, hopefully you didn't wait until this step to check it. Whenever it happens, once the rice is cooked to the consistency you want (soft, fluffy, doesn't chip your tooth when you bite down on it), spread it out on a cookie sheet to cool until you need it. Note, though, that I've used the rice straight from cooking it, still hot, and the dish has turned out fine.

5. If there isn't leftover oil/butter in the pan after you removed the chicken, add a little more butter to it and let it melt. Scramble the eggs and add them to the hot pan, don't forget to add salt and pepper! Cook them until done. If you tend to like your scrambled eggs on the runny side, that won't work for this recipe, you'll want them to be on the firmer side. Don't let them get brown like some people (my husband) do at times. When the eggs are fully scrambled, remove them from the pan and add to the big bowl with the veggies and chicken.

6. You don't want to do this next step until your rice is ready (cooked, not necessarily completely cooled unless you're more awesome than I tend to be). If your rice is ready to be used, please proceed. Add 1 1/2 T of oil to the pan along with the curry powder. You can add a tad more curry powder if you really like curry powder, which I do. Mix the two ingredients together and heat over medium high heat for 30 seconds or until you can really start to smell the curry. Don't burn! Add the rice, stirring it so every bit gets covered in the spiced oil. Gently press the rice down to cover the entire pan and leave it for 4-5 minutes so the bottom layer gets a little crispy.

7. Stir all the other ingredients into the rice and add the soy sauce. The recipe calls for 2 T, but Steve and I like a good deal more. I usually put in 4 T, then we add more to our individual portions. Before you call the dish finished, give it a good taste to see if it needs additional salt/pepper. If you've added decent amounts throughout all the steps (veggies, chicken, eggs), then you should be okay, but please add some if needed to avoid bland food. Thank you.

That's it! Like I said before, no step is very difficult to accomplish, there's just a lot of things to chop and throw together in different steps. It takes me about 40 minutes to do everything, depending on when I remember to cook the rice. It's totally worth it to see how much Steve loves eating it!


1 comment:

Mellissa said...

It does sound tasty, but I'm with you, it better be fantastic if I'm going to put extra time and energy into it. Plus, I have to know my kids will eat other, otherwise it's a waste of time.