We ordered take-out Chinese food several nights ago from a great little restaurant called “Rainbow China” on State Line Road. They offer a selection of “Diet” entrees consisting of steamed vegetables with either shrimp or chicken. They also serve either white or brown rice, so this is Chinese food you can enjoy without having to remove all your rings before going to bed.
Rainbow China is generous with their portions–I had a full container of leftover brown rice the next day. If you’ve ever made fried rice from an actual recipe, you’ll know that the best fried rice is made with leftover cooked and cooled rice, because the cold grains don’t stick together.
You don’t need an actual recipe to make a really good, healthful bowlful of fried rice. What you do need are some veggies (I had a half a bunch of kale left from when I made minestrone, a red bell pepper, some mushrooms, onions and scallions).
You can stop there and make a strictly veggie rice dish, but if you add protein this becomes a more substantial dinner. I keep a bag of shrimp from Costco in the freezer, which I defrosted in a couple of minutes in a bowl of water. I cut each big shrimp into three pieces.
Eggs are a standard fried rice ingredient. I sprayed a 10″ nonstick skillet, poured in two beaten eggs and let them set on one side. Then I carefully tipped the pan and rolled the cooked eggs into a cigar-like roll and tipped them out onto a cutting board. When they were slightly cool I sliced them into thin ribbons.
When you’ve got everything lined up on the counter, heat up your wok or large skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté your veggies. Add the shrimp and cook till it’s pink; add the rice and toss everything together until it’s all evenly heated. If the mixture seems dry add a few drops of water. Gently fold in the egg strips, season with low-sodium soy sauce and red pepper flakes and serve. If you have toasted sesame oil, a splash of that will add flavor depth.
If you don’t have leftover take-out rice, you can still make great fried rice with freshly cooked rice. After it’s finished cooking, spoon it out onto a baking sheet and allow it to cool and dry out a bit. Then it won’t clump together when you add it to the rest of the ingredients.
Oh, and remember my fondness for farro? You can substitute farro here as well, but then it really won’t be Chinese but more like what they call fusion cooking. The whole idea is to create (yes, you can be creative in the kitchen, don’t be afraid!) healthful meals that center on whole grains and vegetables with meat as the side attraction.
Final note: ask your favorite Chinese restaurant if they serve brown rice and if they don’t, request that they consider adding it to the menu. And always ask that they prepare their stir-fried dishes with a minimum of oil. Most restaurants are finally getting wind of the our national need for moderation.