Exotic doesn’t mean difficult. That’s the lesson this bowl of fried rice taught me.
You see, I’ve been dreaming over my best friend’s mom’s fried rice. It marked every holiday, big and small, and it was legendary. Crispy veggies, just the right amount of salt from the soy sauce, flavorful chunks of pork — it was authentic, unlike the bright yellow, semi-mushy stuff served at my local Chinese restaurants.
With a leftover pint of white rice from my last General Tsao’s binge, I set about to recreate her classic. She doesn’t divulge her family recipes (bummer!), so I relied on memories, online searches, and trial and error. I was beyond intimidated. Plus, I don’t own a wok, and most of the recipes I’d seen online insisted on one. So I tried to make do with a standard old frying pan.
Fried rice is so easy to make I don’t know why learning to make it isn’t a requirement for college admission! Seriously. It has just the right mix of vegetables, protein, and carbs to satisfy, it takes one pan to make, AND it uses up those takeout leftovers before they grow moldy and start crawling out of your mini-fridge! Victory, friends, victory!
Takeout Takedown: Bacon Fried Rice Without a Wok
Utensils required: Cutting board, sharp knife for slicing vegetables, frying pan, stove top (or single burner), mixing spoon, bowl and fork for beating the egg
1 green bell pepper
½ yellow onion
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pint cooked white or brown rice
4-6 strips turkey bacon, cooked
3-4 packets low sodium soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons, plus a splash for the egg)
- Cook the turkey bacon in the frying pan over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes, or until the bacon has reached your desired level of crispiness. Let it cool on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Rinse bell pepper, then slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Dice into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Peel off any dry, papery layers of the onion half, then chop it into similarly sized pieces.
- Pour the oil into the frying pan and turn the stovetop back on to medium heat. Add in the vegetables, stirring occasionally to keep the onions from sticking to the pan. (The leftover bacon grease, though minimal–it is turkey bacon, after all–adds a smoky note to the vegetables.) Cook until the onions have turned a brownish, translucent color — about 8-10 minutes. Remove vegetables from the frying pan; you’ll add them back later.
- Crack an egg into a bowl and beat it lightly to break up the yolk. Add 3-4 drops of soy sauce, then stir it together with a folk until the egg mixture is a warm yellow color with a brownish tint. Pour into the frying pan and cook over medium heat, scrambling the egg while using a mixing spoon or spatula to break the egg into bite-sized pieces. Once the egg has been cooked enough that it’s no longer runny, stir in rice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetables, bacon, and remaining soy sauce. Stir so that the soy sauce coats the rice. Let it cook for an additional minute or two until everything is warmed.