Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chicken Fried Rice

I said last week that the cast iron skillet nachos were the last of my little camping series, however, as I started working on this post I thought I'd add it in too to show the diversity of meals you can make while (car) camping.
This year on our camping trip one of the families made a fantastic vegetarian fried rice over the campfire. Since fried rice works best with leftover or day old rice, she pre-cooked the rice at home and prepared everything else at the campsite over a screaming hot fire.

When we returned from our camping trip my husband asked if I could try to make more oriental style type foods at home.  I'm not that great at making Chinese or Japanese foods, but I have tried off and on over the years.  I think one of my challenges is that I'm southern, and by default, all vegetables should be cooked until they no longer have any crispness to them.  It's a bad southern habit and one many of us are trying to break ourselves of.

I'm also a little intimidated by all the different sauces and oils and seasonings.  It's difficult for me to look at a recipe and make adjustments to make it my own.  But I'd made a copy cat version of PF Chang's lettuce wraps recently to reasonable success, so I thought I'd give something else a try.  At first I was going to do a stir fried chicken and broccoli dish, but then I realized I'd still want rice with it and I didn't know how I'd pull off both fried rice and a stir fry.  So I thought I'd start with just a main fried rice dish instead.

When faced with trying to figure out how to do something, I turn to my good friend Mr. Google, and for fried rice, this was no exception.  A Google search turned up this cool video from PBS.

My resulting recipe is inspired by the recipe at the end of their post that accompanied this video.  Another thing I discovered is that many people believe the key to good fried rice is toasted sesame oil, which I fortunately happened to have.  Play with the sauces to get the right flavor for you.  I was too conservative with the soy the first time around.  Also if you like it spicy, a little Sriracha would be great.  I'm tagging this as gluten free, but obviously if you have gluten issues, you'll have to use a gluten free soy sauce or tamari.  Dice all your vegetables in small bite sized pieces. Choose an oil with a high smoke point.  I prefer coconut oil.  If you don't have a wok, you can use a large skillet.

Chicken Fried Rice

1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 egg white
1 cup diced raw chicken
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced broccoli
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced shiitake mushroom
1/2 cup diced water chestnuts
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cups cooked leftover rice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, one inch dice

In a medium bowl mix together corn starch, rice wine vinegar and egg white until corn starch is dissolved.  Add in chicken and marinate in the refrigerator at least one hour.

In a wok or large skillet, preheat oil over medium high heat.  Stir in onion, broccoli, carrot, mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger.  Cook about a minute, stirring frequently.  If needed add a couple tablespoons of water to help the vegetables cook.

Drain the chicken and stir into wok.  Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently.

Stir in the leftover rice, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.  Cook and stir about 10 minutes.  Just before serving add in green onions.

Serves 4 as a side dish and 2 as a main meal.

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