Spice in the Kitchen: Easy Breezy Vegan Fried Rice


I'm a "not much for following recipes" sort of person. I like to see what I have on hand and go with how the day is going. Like today. I need something easy, hot, nutritious and quick to prepare. I'm not even going to give you a measurement recipe, but a "Hey, do as you please, here are the principles, put your own spin on it!" recipe.

What you'll need:

  • Cooked rice (Brown or white, however you roll) Tip: You want it a day old. A bit more on the crunchy side than on the freshly cooked mushy side. This will give you more restaurant quality rice. About 2-4 cups should do it. Figure 1 cup of cooked rice per person if a main dish.
  • Assorted veggies Shredded cabbage (a must in mine!), shredded or cubed carrots, small broccoli florets, peas, cubed or thinly sliced celery, and if you are feeling fancy, you can do snow peas, green beans, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and peppers. Now I don't eat garlic, mushrooms or onions, but you could also throw those in there if you are of that persuasion.
  • Tofu Best is to do the vacuum packed silken kind and a pre-marinated hard tofu. But even the tofu is not necessary; you can just mix the veggies with the rice and skip this all together. If you don't have silken, regular tofu will work.
  • Ginger Lots of fresh grated ginger. If you do not have a microplane grater, pic one up, they do wonders for ginger.
  • Oil Sesame gives a nice flavor, peanut is great too. Olive oil woks as well. If you use sesame, cut it with another oil when frying. Fry in peanut, but give a couple of drops of sesame for flavor only.
  • Sesame Sauce If you use a gluten-free variety, this is a gluten-free AND vegan dish! You can also use Bragg's Liquid Aminos.


Steps

  • Cut up your veggies small, set aside.
  • Fry up your plain and drained (firm or silken) tofu in oil of your choice. Mush it up like you were making mashed potatoes or scrambled tofu. I like to use a potato masher as I am frying. Fry that sucker hard. Get some good brown edges. You can't really get silken super brown, and that's OK too. No soy for you? You could skip this step all together and just add the veggies to the rice.
  • While your tofu is browning, Start sauteing your vegetables. Get your oil of choice going on medium, add a few drops of sesame oil, add your ginger (a TB? 3 TB? I like LOTS!). It will sputter when you add the ginger, watch out! Hardest texture goes first. Start with carrots, saute for a few minutes, add the next hardest thing, like the broccoli, and keep moving down the line with your veggies of choice until they are as crispy or as mushy as you like them. Add your diced marinated tofu, saute for another minute. Set aside.
  • Now that your tofu mush is ready, add your cooked rice to it and saute on low a for a few minutes. Add some soy sauce until the rice gets somewhat brown. Don't overdo it or your finished product will be too salty.
  • Add your veggies to the rice/tofu mixture, stir well, saute for a few more minutes to let the flavors get to know one another. I like to let the bottom of the mixture "brown" a bit and then scrape those brown bits into the mix.Voila! You are done. Easy breezy. Offer with love and chow down!

Notes:

  • Using a cast iron skillet makes this even better. Or use a wok. Just stay away from that toxic non-stick stuff. Yuck!
  • To make it super easy, you can use pre-shredded, pre-diced everything. Trader Joe's has tons of pre-shreded cabbage, broccoli slaw, stir fry veggies that make your job even easier. My kids love the pre-marinated tofu there too. Now one will think you're a slacker, time is of the essence, specially at this time of year!

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