I know, I’ve been posting a lot more frequently lately, but I find that cooking is how I de-stress. Since this is the middle of the craziest part of the quarter, I’ve been cooking a lot. I’d like to note that, despite the common stereotype of eating a lot of nasty food when stressed out, the beauty of cooking to de-stress is that you are (hopefully) choosing to make healthier options. Today is one such day. Homemade Chicken Fried Rice is a great way to control what goes into it (none of that MSG crap), is filling, and is absolutely delicious.
- 1 cup white rice
- olive oil
- 1-2 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 cup of frozen vegetables
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- salt and pepper
Let’s start by boiling the rice. Put one cup of rice and 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to keep the rice from sticking. As soon as it has boiled, pull the temperature down to low (simmer), covering the pot to keep the moisture in. You will need to cook it for about 10-15 minutes, depending on fast the rice cooks. Stir occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.
Now, pull out your wok. If you don’t have a wok, I understand. That is definitely not the most common cooking utensil out there. In that case, use a large skillet or pan. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the wok/pan and heat to medium. Next, crack two eggs into the pan and start stirring around. You are going to want to “scramble fry” the eggs, but NOT COOK THEM ALL THE WAY. (Eventually, we will be adding them back in at the end to finish cooking them).
Transfer the partially cooked eggs to a plate and set aside. (Don’t forget to check on your rice and make sure it’s not sticking and burning!)
Now let’s chop up some peppers. I decided to add red and yellow peppers to the dish. While it’s a terrible color choice (boo, U$C >.<), they are absolutely delicious. I also added mushrooms and onions, although they are not present in this picture.
Let’s also prepare the garlic! Mince it, dice it, whatever you prefer is fine. The more garlic, the better, I always say!
Lastly, prepare the chicken by cutting it into small, bite-size pieces. (Once again, check your rice!)
A note about the rice: what you’re looking for is “DRY” rice. The drier the rice, the better your fried rice will turn out. From what I understand, many people use day-old rice as it will have dried out just enough to make the rice less “sticky” later on. For consistency, I would recommend cooking until you can see very little moisture in the rice. Don’t burn it, however!
Now, add 2 tablespoons of oil back into the wok (which should have been empty and turned off while you prepared ingredients) and heat back on medium heat. Add some frozen vegetables, as well as all of your fresh vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic). Stir fry for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
Add in the chicken now, so as to let it cook simultaneously with the vegetables. Stir around and cook until the chicken pieces are almost cooked through (maybe the tiniest bit of pink left to them). I would guesstimate that this is for another 5-7 or so minutes.
Once the chicken is almost cooked through and the vegetables are no longer frozen, we will add in the rice, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and partially cooked eggs. Stir well, allowing the sauces and rice to mix well with the veggies and chicken. Also, add salt and pepper to taste at this point.
Note: water might accumulate at the bottom of the pan from the frozen vegetables and oil. BEFORE adding in the rice or condiments, drain that water out carefully first. This will keep it from being soupy in the end.
Now, oyster sauce is not all that unusual, but I can see how you may not have it in your pantry, or care to purchase it. You don’t NEED it for Chicken Fried Rice, but let me assure you that this dish is far more delicious with the oyster sauce included.
Once you have added these ingredients, however, you can cook for maybe 2 more minutes, and then serve! It is wonderfully delicious!