Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quinoa Fried Rice

While I'm sure you never need a last-minute meal that you can throw together when nothing sounds good or you haven't been to the store in a while or you just don't have 1+ hours to make arroz con pollo, I always like to have a few options up my sleeve (besides ordering pizza). While I plan out our weekly meals far in advance, sometimes things don't go quite how I thought.  I wasn't able to get to the farmers market, I have less time to cook, things come up, etc, etc.  It's always nice to have a plan B.  Preferably, a delicious plan B.  My go-tos for some quick alternate meals are probably pasta (preferable with roasted veggies and marinara), breakfast food, and stir fries.  And this quinoa fried rice is pretty tasty and easy so it falls nicely into this category.  I love that it's versatile, using whatever veggies and protein you have on hand.  And with any stir fry, once a little prep work is done, it comes together in just a few minutes.
Of course, feel free to use rice instead of quinoa.  Although rice is clearly more traditional, I like the additional nutrition you get from quinoa.  If possible, I try to make my quinoa ahead of time (the day before, the morning of, or right when I get home from work) and then refrigerate it.  It's actually better for fried rice if there's less moisture in the quinoa so cooling it helps to get rid of some of the moisture.  But if you can't, just make the quinoa while you prep the rest of the vegetables.

Quinoa (or Regular) Fried Rice
Taken from: Steamy Kitchen
Serves 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided (coconut or canola oil are good options)
  • 4 cups previously cooked quinoa or rice
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks scallion or green onion, minced (I used about 1/4 cup of red onion instead
  • Add-ins: I used a chopped bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, 1 grated carrot, 1/2 cup frozen peas, and about 1/3 pound of cooked and shredded chicken.  Feel free to use any vegetables or protein (shrimp would be excellent) you have on hand or are in season
  • 3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (I probably used closer to 1 tablespoon)
  • Optional: sriracha for serving
  1. Prep any vegetables or protein beforehand (it's important to have everything on hand because stir fries go very quickly).
  2. Heat a wok or large sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is hot enough for a bead of water to instantly sizzle and evaporate, add only 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat pan.
  3. Now add any vegetables (or shrimp, if using), quickly spreading out around the pan.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and then  remove from the pan onto a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and let the pan heat up again. Pour in the eggs, stirring in a quick motion to break up and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are almost cooked through (they should still be slightly runny in the middle), dish out of the frying pan onto the same plate as the cooked vegetables.
  5. Use a paper towel to wipe the same wok or sauté pan clean (no need to wash) and turn to high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, swirling to coat. When the oil is very hot, add the green onions and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add in the quinoa/rice and stir well to mix in the onions and garlic throughout. Spread the rice all around the wok surface area and let the rice heat up, about 1-2 minutes. Use the spatula to toss the rice, again spreading the rice out over the surface of wok or pan
  6. Drizzle the soy sauce and fish sauce all around the rice and toss. Add veggies, the cooked eggs, any protein and sesame oil, tossing to mix the rice evenly with all of the ingredients. Let everything heat back up again, until the rice grains are so hot they practically dance! Taste and add any additional soy sauce, fish sauce (use sparingly) or sesame oil if needed.


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