Breakfast Fried Rice
I love breakfast food. I could eat it morning, noon, and night. Our family has shifted from sweet to savory, eating fewer scones and muffins and more eggs and oatmeal. For the month of January, I will be featuring frugal, simple breakfast options to kick start your mornings.
Starting with fried rice! Which might seem like an odd place to start for breakfast, but I promise it is a good one.
I once read that fried rice is like the Asian spin on casserole. You’re using up bits of leftovers to create a new dish that blends all the flavors together. And as an added bonus, it all comes together quickly in one skillet. You saute some vegetables, crack in a few eggs and scramble them right in the pan, then add the rice and meat, and stir in a little sauce. Done. In less than 15 minutes, you could clean out the leftovers in your refrigerator and have a frugal, filling breakfast on the table.
Fried rice is frugal cooking at its best. You are using up what you already have, while still delivering a filling dish full of flavor. Once you have the steps down, you can make endless variations (or better yet, teach your kids to do it for you). I prefer to keep my base fried rice recipe as simple as possible, then add whatever odds and ends I happen to have in the refrigerator.
For vegetables, you could saute some carrots or peppers, stir in some peas or spinach. You can keep it simple or pack it full of color.
Leftover rice is actually the best, since you want the base to be more dry than gummy (learn How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice here). You’re going for light, individual kernels of rice, not a sticky, heavy clump. My favorite is the organic short-grain rice sold in big bags at Costco (find other essentials I get at Costco here). Long grain white or brown rice would also work great. That dry rice in your Chinese food take out containers? Perfect.
The sauce is simply some sesame oil and soy sauce. If you are gluten-free, the soy sauce is the only thing that might trip you up. There are several gluten-free options on the shelves, but from what I understand, naturally fermented soy sauce often isn’t labeled gluten-free but doesn’t have gluten present in the final product. Does that sound right? Set me straight if I’m off.
Add some leftover meat like diced ham, bacon, sausage, or chicken. Or skip the meat!
It’s your leftovers. It’s your party. It’s a good breakfast.
Breakfast Fried Rice
adapted from Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (Amazon)
4 T. sesame oil, separated
3 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. cooked brown rice, at room temperature (How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice)
3 T. sesame seeds, toasted
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
4 oz. cooked, chopped meat (pork or chicken)
1/2 c. edamame, frozen peas, chopped carrots, diced peppers
1 T. minced fresh ginger, chopped parsley or grated lemon zest
- Heat 3 T. sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic, cooking until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Decrease the heat and crack the eggs directly into the pan, scrambling as they cook.
- Add the rice, sesame seeds, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, soy sauce, and any meat or vegetable additions. Crank the heat to high and stir, until everything is evenly coated and heated through.
- Serve in bowls sprinkled with extra sesame seeds or green onions.
I have had the cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon (Amazon), on my shelf for awhile now. Her photographs are beautiful, and her recipes use basic, fresh ingredients. It’s one of those cookbooks you can reach for on a Saturday morning and actually cook out of without heading to the grocery store first. It would definitely recommend it!
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