One of my favorite things to order from the Chinese restaurant is chicken fried rice. They always ask if I want “small meat” or if I mean the veggie kind with a slab of fried chicken leg on top for protein. I always say “small meat”. Something about all the veggies and salt and rice combined makes for a very delicious, if insanely unhealthy treat.
Now, I am NOT a health freak, but last Thursday, I got so sick it lasted through Sunday morning. Everything in my system was in an uproar – and I made sure to document and beg for sympathy on Facebook the entire time! LOL. Anyway, at the end of the nightmare, I was only allowed certain foods: crackers (ew), soup (okay) and rice. My first full meal was a nice big bowl of rice soaked with the goodness of a chicken lime soup. My energy level was instantly boosted, and I knew that rice and I were destined to be best of friends.
Scratch to Wednesday. After three days at work, I’ve definitely earned the right to enjoy something other than a grilled chicken burger with no cheese or mayo (kill me). I woke up Wednesday with a craving for Fried Rice. I remembered during my lowest moments, as my sweet Pookie soothed my brow and gave my tummy lots of cuddles and kisses, I turned to him and in a low, growly voice said…”I swear I am so hungry I could murder a fried rice…I don’t care if I spend all night on the potty!”
Well, I finally decided to murder one. And oh. Boy. YUM. Of course I didn’t BUY one, I made one. It’s easy! Ch-ch-check it out!
Lots of yummy veggies. It’s really a stir fry – and that can mean peppers, onions, garlic, cabbage, scallions, carrots, broccoli – but Pookie hasn’t graduated to broccoli, so I traded it for cauliflower instead. I had some corn on the cob, so those were put to cook in some salted water – some kernels would be sliced for the stir fry and the rest would be eaten on the side. One of my most memorable moments with a friend in Cayo was when she headed home from work and went straight to their freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen leftover rice to throw in a stir fry. I thought it was a nifty idea. I’d been putting rice away for a while, and the morning of the great stir fry, I looked in the fridge, threw out stuff (as one is wont to do) and saw the rice. I decided ick ick ick…threw it out and well, it was fresh rice for the meal. (Best idea ever)
While the yummy fresh rice cooked over low heat, I chopped a beautiful rainbow of peppers (speaking of which, I buy red and yellow peppers at the greenhouse from the discount section…one piece of the pepper goes bad, so they cut it out, bag two together and instead of $12 a pound I pay $3.50 for two decent peppers). Anyway, chop gorgeous green, red and yellow peppers. Chop some onions and garlic. Chop up some cabbage, and while you’re at it, guess what? Chop some cauliflower too! I use my vegetable peeler to “peel” off slices of carrot and it works just great. The carrot ends up nice and thinly sliced, and it cooks at about the same time as everything else.
After all the veggies are done, and ready, turn to the chicken. I took about 3 halved chicken breasts (Pookie is a big boy and he loves meat, lots of it) and chopped it into nice chunks. After washing and rinsing with lime juice, I poured a nice ¼ cup of teriyaki sauce plus about a tablespoon of soy sauce. A lot of this was measuring by eye. After mincing two cloves of garlic, I threw in a few bits in the chicken, mixed the whole lot up and let it marinate for a bit. The next time I make this, the first thing I’ll tackle will be the chicken, so it marinades and soaks up even more of the sauce.
I heated up some oil, about 1 tablespoon on a hot frying pan. I have no wok, or extra large fancy schmancy special stir fry pan, but my non-stick frying pan worked just fine! :) The first veggies I sautéed were the peppers. While still crisp tender, I took them out and added the onion and garlic and bits of sliced scallion – those got the same treatment, and I followed suit with the cabbage, the carrots and then the cauliflower, adding a few extra drops of oil as needed.
The cooked corn drained and cooled, then I sliced the kernels off two half cobs (1 full ear of corn), and that gets mixed in the pan as well. After all the yummy items were mixed up and cooked, I put those aside and added fresh oil to the pan. When it got to almost smoking heat, it was time to drop in the chopped chicken. Oh the smell!! Heavenly! :) I didn’t stir or mess with it, instead opting to let it caramelize on one side, before using a spatula to flip it to caramelize the other side. The teriyaki and soy sauces did a beautiful job of adding color and so much flavor to the chicken.
After cooking the meat through, about 7 minutes of proper cooking, I took the chicken out of the pan and into the veggie mixture. And next, it was time to deglaze the pan. I made a small liquid mix of more teriyaki, a splash more of soy, and the best part – I had Hoisin sauce in the fridge. Two tablespoonfuls of those got thrown in the pan as well, and on the medium flame, magic started happening. All those delightful asian flavors melded together, thickening slightly of their own accord, and then, it was time to make the real mix.
The cooked fluffy rice was added to the veggie and chicken mix, and gently tossed and mixed through. After, I poured the Hoisin/Teriyaki/Soy sauce all over the stir fry, and then, for added measure, a few remaining bits of chopped scallion went in.
The end result? Pookie sat, took a bite, and smiled his happy smile. “Booboo, you found yourself a winner with this! It’s delishy!!”
Case closed; time to open up my Food Shoppe. I think I’ll call it Pookie’s. “Fry rice? Small meat?”