Fried rice is not typically considered to be an appropriate choice for those of us looking to lose weight. A mainstay of Chinese restaurants, it’s fried in a wok with a good quantity of peanut oil. OK, “good quantity” is a euphemism…it’s downright greasy. Again, not a dish for dieters.
Here’s an alternative, made with brown rice (don’t fret if you’re brown-rice phobic, there’s an easy, foolproof method below). This recipe has a small amount of oil and is crammed with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, even the protein of your choice. All the healthy food groups in one fell swoop!
Saveur Magazine provided the recipe for “perfectly cooked brown rice,” and it’s true to its name. Brown rice requires longer cooking than white rice in order to soften its outer bran layer. Most recipes tell you to simmer it with the lid on for at least 40 minutes. Results aren’t always optimal, to say the least.
In this recipe the rice is boiled and drained like pasta and then steamed in the small amount of moisture that remains in the pot. Perfectly moist, tender rice every single time. This is the way to cook brown rice.
I used leftover diced rotisserie chicken, but feel free to toss in cooked shrimp or lean ham, or just go with the scrambled eggs. You can cook the brown rice just before making the final dish or use leftover cold brown rice from the fridge. If pressed for time, you can even use a package of pre-cooked brown rice.
3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp. ginger powder)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cups Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice*
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken, ham or shrimp (optional)
2 eggs, scrambled (optional)
2 green onions, slices
Sriracha (or other hot) sauce for serving
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok and add onion, garlic and carrots. Cook until onions have become translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in corn and peas and cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in rice, pineapple, chicken (and optional eggs) and soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Garnish with green onions and serve with hot sauce.
To scramble eggs for fried rice, heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and pour in two beaten eggs. Allow the eggs to set on the bottom, gently lifting at the corners to allow uncooked egg to go beneath the cooked egg. When they are just about done, remove the skillet from the heat and wait a moment, then gently roll the egg from one side of the skillet to the other into a log. Remove from pan and slice the log into thin slices.
WW Points per serving (with chicken) 10
* Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice
1 cup short, medium or long-grain brown rice
Kosher salt to taste
Rinse rice in a strainer under cold water for 30 seconds. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rice, stir it once and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour rice into a strainer over the sink.
Let rice drain for 10 seconds. Return it to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork and season to taste with salt.
Makes a generous 3 cups of cooked rice.