Wednesday, January 18, 2012

'leftovers' Fried Rice Dinner

I love family, not so much.  Rather than listen to moans and groans, I've decided to start repackaging them as something brand new.  After scoping out the contents of the refrigerator, leftover rice and chicken paired nicely with the remains of a crudite and shrimp cocktail.  Voila!  A one dish dinner in no time at all.  And everybody's happy, especially me.

'leftovers' Fried Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, divided
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups cooked chicken, shrimp and/or pork, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups assorted fresh or frozen vegetables (such as broccoli, snow peas, carrots)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cooked rice
1 to 2 tablespoons oyster sauce or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder (optional)
3 green onions, sliced

Toss chicken/shrimp/pork with 1 teaspoon grated ginger and 1 clove garlic; set aside.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet and saute vegetables with remaining ginger and garlic over medium high heat about 4 minutes or until tender crisp, stirring frequently. Add chicken/shrimp/pork to skillet and cook 2 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Add eggs to the skillet and cook until almost set, then stir and cook stirring frequently until done; remove and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet, add rice, oyster sauce and 5 spice powder  and cook stirring frequently 4 minutes or until rice is hot.  Add vegetable mixture and eggs to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until heated through.  Garnish with chopped green onions.

tidbit:  If you want to make this vegetarian, simply leave out the chicken/shrimp/pork.  You can add some tofu that's been browned with ginger and garlic or add some shelled edamame with the veggies.

 Chinese Five Spice Powder

Chinese Five Spice Powder is readily available in the spice section of your supermarket.  If you don't have it and don't want to purchase it, this rice will still taste delicious.  But you might want to give this ingredient a try.  It's kind of like the "secret ingredient" that adds a wonderful, complex flavor to dishes. 

While it’s commonly believed that the name originated because it contains 5 spices, the number actually refers to the 5 elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In traditional Chinese medicine, an imbalance in these elements is said to be the cause of disease. Various herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years to restore balance to these elements which is how 5 spice powder came into being.  While blends vary, Chinese Five Spice Powder is typically comprised of cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves. It makes a flavorful addition to stir-fry's, marinades, rubs and even baked goods.

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