09 April 2009

Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

If you are anything like me, you love Chinese take-out. Love it, could eat it every weekend, crave it during the week. But I don't love all the salt or all the grease and I especially don't love the next-day water retention. So, I created a recipe that uses a healthy oil and brown rice and that tastes even better than take-out, while not making me swell up like a puffer fish. The best part of this recipe is that you can add any vegetable you like, switch out the chicken for pork or beef, or leave out the meat entirely. It's all about finding recipes you like and making them your own. It's a rare occasion when I make a recipe exactly as written. For this recipe you will need:
pre-cooked brown rice, about a cup
oil (your choice: olive, canola, whatever)
frozen peas
2 eggs
low-sodium soy sauce
skinless, boneless chicken breasts (one per person)

Start by chopping up enough onion and carrots to feed your brood. I use two handfuls of baby carrots and one large onion and chop them into tiny bits in my Handi Chopper. (Good tip for feeding vegetables to kids is to chop them so tiny that they go unnoticed in the food.) Add about 2T of olive or canola oil to a skillet (doesn't have to be electric) and cook your veggies until they are almost, but not quite, tender.

Clean and chop boneless, skinless chicken breasts (one for each person) and add to pan. I use kitchen shears to chop up my chicken. It is easier than using a knife and you don't have to fool with sterilizing a cutting board after using. Cook the chicken until no pink remains in the middle. I usually put a top on the skillet for a good 5-10 minutes to help the chicken hurry up. But don't leave it on too long or all of the moisture will leave your meat.

When your chicken is mostly done add 2T (or more to taste) of a low-sodium soy sauce. The low-sodium is key to avoid the next-day bloat. To be honest, I don't really measure anything in this recipe. I shake on the soy sauce until the chicken looks halfway covered, but it feels like about 2-3T.

I don't measure the frozen peas either-about 3 handfuls. And maybe an extra one. I love peas. You definitely don't want to add them with the rest of your vegetables or you will have pea mash. Not tasty. Add your peas with your already cooked brown rice. About a cup. I like to cook my brown rice with a couple of low sodium chicken bullion cubes and 1T of olive or canola oil. (Smart Balance has an amazing new oil that is a mix of olive, canola, and soy oils--for those of us who think olive oil has an aftertaste.)

Now the fun part. The eggs! Look at these cuties...straight from our chickens in the backyard. Thank you Smores and Eragon!

If you don't have backyard chickens, store bought eggs will do. :) I use two, but you can leave out this part, add more eggs, or just use one. Cook to your taste! Whisk the eggs and either push the food to one side and cook them in the same skillet or use a clean frying pan and scramble them. I use the same skillet...I think it gives the eggs extra veggie and soy sauce flavor.

Once the eggs are cooked, mix them into the rest of the food and serve. This homemade fried rice is not the same thing you get from fast food Chinese. It has a softer texture and a lot more moisture. But my family chooses this dish over take-out every time and I love that they are getting healthier ingredients. The brown rice in particular is amazing. You could definitely substitute white in the recipe, but brown rice adds a nutty, extra layer of flavor that stomps all over white rice.

The most important thing is to tailor this recipe to your taste. If I was making it just for me, I would add snow peas, cabbage, green peppers, and maybe even some zucchini. I get outvoted on those ingredients when making it for the family, though. Although next time...maybe I could sneak in the cabbage...if it was really small....


my recipe card:

Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

See Homemade Chicken Fried Rice on Key Ingredient.

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