Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quinoa Fried Rice



When it comes to fried rice, my stomach simply knows no bounds. It's been a favorite take-out staple for me since my wee early days and I've grown to love all sorts of cultural iterations through the years. It's quite unlike me to veer too far from the original components (i.e.: rice), but in the spirit of trying new things, I thought, "Why NOT quinoa?" My experience with the superfood has always been positive and I've found I enjoy it best warmed through - just perfect for this application!

As with any fried rice, there's wide berth as to what goes in it; it's the perfect fridge clean-out dish. My version is particularly loaded with eggs and scallions (both cooked and raw) because those two ingredients happen to be my favorite in any good fried rice. Feel free to use what you have and let me know what combination works best for you!

PS: I would emphasize that eggs are probably the one MUST item for any good fried rice dish. Without, it's just a bit sad. ;)

Quinoa Fried Rice
Serves 2

2.5-3 cups cooked quinoa (follow package directions), cooled (it's important you start with cooled quinoa - stick in fridge for 30 minutes if necessary)
2 tablespoons neutral oil (vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.), divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 shallot or small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
4 scallions, divided: 3 scallions, minced for cooking + 1 scallion, minced for garnish
1 cup diced ham or cooked meat (including Spam for you Asians out there!)
2 teaspoons soy sauce (use a light hand if your meat is salty)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Salt and (lots of) black pepper, to taste

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high with 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. When shimmering, add eggs and scramble to small pieces quickly. When almost cooked through, remove eggs from pan and set aside.

Return pan to heat with last tablespoon of oil. Add aromatics (shallot or onion, garlic, ginger, scallions), season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant and edges crisp up, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked ham or meat and toss together until everything is warmed through. (I personally like when every component has a crisped, slightly browned edge, YUM!)

Decrease heat to medium-low. Add cooked quinoa and scrambled eggs, mixing slowly and carefully until evenly tossed. Add soy sauce, fish sauce and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Taste and adjust saltiness with touch of salt or more soy, depending on your preference. Toss and plate, top with scallion garnish. Enjoy a big bowl alone or as a component of your dinner!

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