Oh my goodness, fried rice. It’s like my all-time favoritest Asian restaurant food. But oh my goodness gracious is it UNHEALTHY!
I still occasionally indulge in some Thai fried rice, with shrimp (and make it last for 2 meals). But by occasionally, I mean once or twice every two months. A certain article I saw about the amount of oil used, and the post I did on MSG, really slapped my fried rice loving face.
First of all, if you are going to eat restaurant fried rice, for the love of pete make sure it doesn’t come loaded with MSG (see my informative post here).
Second of all, it’s oil city. And if you’ve eliminated MSG from the equation, this is what makes restaurant rice soooo much better than homemade fried rice.
Third of all, the rice may be genetically modified rice. If it’s golden rice?-You bet it’s modified. How do you know though? Ask. Two birds, one stone! Call ahead and ask if they use MSG and if their rice comes from a reputable source or if it’s organic. Call in the parking lot and use a crappy British accent even.
And lastly, you really can’t make it the same at home. It’s not you and it’s not the seasonings, it’s the fact that you don’t have a pipe dedicated to pumping insane heat into your stove and huge wok to mix the copious amounts of hot oil, etc.
As proud as I am of this fried rice recipe, it’s no restaurant Thai fried rice. But I would rather whip this up than drive on over to the restaurant, so there’s something! By no means is it a poor substitute, it’s just different. Unfortunately the fat, sugar and sodium additions in the Standard American Diet (SAD) are what keep most of us coming back for more, despite our best efforts. So if you’re jonzing for some fried rice that doesn’t even need meat, then give this a whirl.
20 Minute Vegetarian or Vegan Fried Rice (serves 2-3)
- 1-1 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 T olive oil + 1 T olive oil-later
- 4 carrots sliced
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 2 shallots (the small purple parts, not 2 whole unpeeled shallots)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 head broccoli flourets
- 1 yellow pepper chopped or sliced
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 T chili paste
- 2 T cilantro chopped
- Optional: 2 eggs sunny side up or whatever you like.
- Cook rice either the day before or right before you start your veggies. Most fried rice recipes online say the trick is to cook the rice the day before. Fried rice is traditionally a “leftover” meal, but I’ve used fresh cooked rice with no problems. If you don’t already have a rice cooker, GET ONE! It’s the best $15 you will spend, plus it cooks quinoa!
- Rice cooker rice takes about 15-20 minutes, so once you’ve started your rice, you can prepare and begin to cook your veggies.
- Heat 1 T oil in a large pan or skillet on medium. Add your carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and 1 T olive oil and saute until the veggies are your desired consistency. If you want super soft veggies, 10 minutes oughta do it. But if you like them with a bit ‘o crunch still then 6-7 minutes should do. Grab a pepper or carrot and gauge cooking time from there.
- Once your veggies are perfect, add your rice, chili paste, sesame oil and cilantro. Mix until combined and serve. Yields about 2 cups cooked fried rice per person (2).
- **If you’re using an egg, you can cook it after step 4. I cooked one as a last minute addition and my rice was still flaming hot. So don’t stress if you’re not even sure you want one until the end.
Nutrition Facts? Oh boy! You get everything except Vitamins B-12 and D!
Homemade compared to Panda Express Fried Rice (I adjusted to accommodate equal serving sizes):
Total Fat 19.2 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Panda: 177 mg (yes I checked multiple times!)
Sodium 242.2 mg
Panda: 970 mg
Potassium 754.4 mg
Panda: Not on the grid!
Total Carbohydrate 85.8 g
Panda: 97 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Panda: 1 g
Protein 12.6 g
Panda: 14 g
Vitamin A 327.2 % and Vitamin C 151.5 %
Panda: Yeah, right!