Southern-Style Savory Fried Rice
Break Out Your Wok and Make a Delicious Rice Dish
Fried rice is a dish that seems to be an afterthought in some restaurants. The staff in an eatery may concentrate on the main entrées while fried rice is ranked in the "little bit of nothing" category. There are a few restaurants that care enough to elevate fried rice to a higher status, but they seem to be few and far between. The procedure normally goes like this: add some oil to a pan, toss in the rice, toss in peas or carrots and add a dash of soy sauce to make it look "authentic." Doesn't that sound delicious? With a procedure like that you might end up with nothing but glorified mush with a few vegetables to add a bit of color.
This savory fried rice recipe has been a "family favorite" for many years and its wonderful flavor speaks for itself. It can be used as a side dish or served as a main entrée along with a salad. It's easy to prepare, economical and it will cause your taste buds to stand up and sing.
- 1/4 pound bacon
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 cup white or yellow onion (small to medium dice)
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper (medium dice)
- 3/4 cup yellow squash (medium to large dice)
- 3/4 cup zucchini (medium to large dice)
- 1/4 cup carrot ) shredded
- 1 large egg
- Soy sauce (to taste)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
- A wok or a large skillet (cast iron works well)
- Vegetable peeler
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- 2 or 3 bowls (to hold ingredients after dicing)
- Dice all vegetables and set aside. Keep onion and bell pepper separate from the other vegetables.
- Dice bacon (cut strips into pieces about 1/2" in width)
- Heat wok to medium/medium high and fry bacon until brown, but still slightly soft.
- Siphon off bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons and the bacon in the wok.
- Add onions and bell peppers to wok, stir fry until crisp-tender (4-5 minutes).
- Add remaining vegetables, stir fry about 4-5 minutes.
- Add rice 1 cup at a time, tossing after each addition.
- Reduce heat, make a "well" in the rice and add beaten egg. Cook egg until done, gradually mixing it in with the rice until incorporated. (Use your spatula to chop it up while it's cooking.)
- Add soy sauce and pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
The approximate cost to make this dish (using the regular retail grocery price for each item): $2.25. That's pretty good for a meal that can be used as a main dish. Toss in a homemade salad to go along with the fried rice and you can have a meal for 2 people for under $5.00. You may serve up to 4 people for a meal but it would be advisable to double the recipe if you decide to do so. Your family and friends will definitely be returning for a second helping.
Additional Tips & Tricks
- Any white or brown rice may be used for this dish but it's a good idea to cook the rice a day before (or you can just use leftover rice). The overnight refrigeration helps to congeal the starches on the rice and it will be easier to incorporate. If you cook the rice on the same day you decide to prepare the dish, use Jasmine or Basmati rice (converted rice will also work well).
- If you don't want to use bacon, simply omit the bacon and use 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
- Use the same amount of firm tofu (same procedure, but use 2 tablespoons of cooking oil instead of bacon fat). "Spam" is also surprisingly good in this recipe.
- If you use pre-cooked meat, add it after you have stir-fried the vegetables.
- Use both red and green bell peppers (1/4 cup each) to add extra color to the dish.
- Other great items to add or use as a substitute: cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery (go easy on this one), cauliflower (blanched), broccoli (blanched), bean sprouts, water chestnuts, green onion and kohlrabi.
There are a lot of fun variations to try with this dish. Stick with making the dish as instructed above in order to try it, then you can experiment using whatever vegetables you like. This recipe is fun and easy. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days but it probably won't last that long. Once you introduce this recipe to your personal menu, your family will be begging you to make Savory Fried Rice on a regular basis.