Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ham Fried Rice

Fried rice is my go-to for quick weeknight dinners. It's super duper easy, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it's pretty tasty. My fried rice is totally not the greasy Chinese take-out version, but I love it so much. I crave it. 

For the rice, you can either used leftover rice, you can throw some rice on to boil when you get home from work, or you can even pop into the takeout place on the way home and grab a little carton of cooked rice. Don't judge, but I have a secret. I'm in love with Trader Joe's microwavable frozen individual brown rice packets. It seems more like real food than some of those other pre-cooked rice packets. And I love the nutty flavor and toothsome chew of brown rice. I try to keep peas in the freezer at all times too. Not only are they perfect for tossing into rice, but also pasta! And I mean, got a black eye or sore muscle? Instant ice pack! Can I tell you another secret? I also keep un-cooked bacon in the freezer, and then when I make fried rice, I just cut off a few chunks from the frozen slab o' bacon and throw it in. Add an onion, garlic, egg, some soy sauce, and lots of black pepper… and that, my friends, is dinner.

With Easter just around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about fried rice, since you can totally throw some of that leftover Easter ham in there. Yep, Easter-ham fried rice. It's a thing. At my house anyway. And if you bake your ham with brown sugar, oh man. That sticky sweet sugary ham is puh-erfect in fried rice. I would even go as far as to recommend stashing a hunk or two of ham from your guests just for this purpose. You'll thank me later. 

Ham Fried Rice
Serves 2-4

Unlike some fried rice recipes, I like to mix the raw egg in with the rice, so that it almost coats it and cooks all around it, versus having chunks of scrambled egg. Check out my 'technique' in the instructions. 

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup cooked, diced ham
3 cups cooked rice
Fresh ground black pepper

In a small bowl, add eggs and soy sauce, and beat until combined. Set aside.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high, and add coconut oil. Once the oil is shimmery, add the onion. Cook onion until just starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes minutes (don't let garlic burn). Add peas and ham, and cook for a minute or so, until warm. Add rice and stir so everything is combined and rice is warm. 

Push rice mixture to outer edges of the wok and pour the egg in the middle. Let it sit for a minute or so, so that it's starting to cook on the bottom but is mostly still liquid, then start stirring, mixing the cooked egg into the raw egg. Slowly start stirring the edges of the rice into the egg mixture, until eventually there's no longer a well in the middle of the wok. Stir until everything is combined. Then sort of flatten the rice out, let cook for a few minutes, and flip it (with a spatula). Flatten once more and cook for another minute or so. This ensures that the egg is cooked, and it makes a nice crispy crust. 

Season to taste with black pepper and sriracha. I love lots of black pepper in mine! 
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