However much we are passionate about food and cooking there are those days when you just want a ready-made meal! But unfortunately other than going out and eating there is really no way one could get a ready-made (edible &tasty) meal (we don’t consider ready to eat packaged food really edible :)). The next best option is a quick-to-make meal. And I would like to think that this is probably the reason why fried rice was invented! It’s really an assembly job -if you have your veggies chopped and rice already cooked.
So one evening, as usual, we were wondering what we should have for dinner that is quick and doesn’t dirty too many dishes. Since we need to do our own dishes- the lesser the better. And this is how Nikhil decided to make the quintessential Chicken & Egg Fried Rice. The best part of making this is that you can put any sort of vegetables or meat in this. There are no rules. I am pretty sure everyone has their own version of fried rice and this is just how we like it. This is also good for people who don’t usually get the time to cook and once in a while like to try easy and simple things in their kitchen. One thing I usually do is stock up my freezer with frozen veggies such as shredded/cut carrots, cut beans, corn, shredded cabbage etc. This is for those days when I just don’t feel like chopping and it does come in handy for the fried rice. The only chopping then I do is chop the ginger, garlic & green chillies- that I don’t mind :). But that is me. Nikhil on the other hand doesn’t mind chopping on most days so the fried rice he made had everything chopped from scratch.
So this is how he made it-
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 2 chicken thighs or breast pieces, small cubes (I personally prefer the thigh pieces because they are juicier)
- 1 egg
- 1 small whole dried red chili
- 1 small star anise
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- ½ a teaspoon chopped green chilies
- 1 tablespoon spring onions plus some for the garnish
- ½ a cup chopped carrots
- ½ a cup chopped beans
- a handful of sugar snap peas
- ½ a cup corn
- ½ a cup green & yellow bell peppers
- salt & pepper to taste (you could start with a teaspoon of each salt and pepper and then adjust accordingly)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups cold cooked rice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (you can adjust this up or down depending on your preference)
- 1½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- a dash of sesame oil
- fresh coriander leaves (can be substituted with parsley)
- Put a big wok or a frying pan on high heat. Once the wok is hot add 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Sauté the chicken for about 8-10 minutes (you could substitute chicken with small thinly sliced beef if you prefer).
- Once the chicken turns brown and crispy, push the chicken to one side of the wok and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on the other side. Add the red dried chilli, garlic, ginger, star anise, spring onions, cracked black pepper and sauté for a minute.
- Then add the egg and scramble it well with the chicken and spices- this only takes about a minute or so to cook.
- Add in the chopped veggies - carrots, beans, corn and bell peppers or any other veggies of your choice. Sauté for about 6-8 minutes
- Add in the 3 cups of rice and mix well. Cold cooked rice works best for this recipe. (If you have fresh cooked rice just stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes.)
- Add soy sauce, white vinegar, ground cumin and salt to taste. Mix well again and cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
- Add finely chopped spring onions and mix. This is to get the fresh and crunchy flavour of the spring onions without cooking it.
- Once the rice is ready, add a dash of sesame oil. This gives the rice that nutty flavour and the authentic Asian taste.
- While serving garnish with some fresh cut coriander.
It looks like a lot of work but believe me, you just use one big wok/ pan, a knife and a chopping board and you have this fresh, crunchy eggy chicken fried rice! And the best part- because it has so much flavor you don’t need a gravy to go with this and did I mention that it is pretty healthy too?
Do tell us if you have a different version that you make and we can share it with all our friends & family!