With Seitan, caramelized onions and fresh corn.
Here’s a good, quick Fried Rice. In Hawaii, there’s always someplace to get good local-style Fried Rice, but not here on the Mainland. So, you can make this at home with whatever you have on hand. This time, I used one of our favorite combinations of grated carrot, caramelized onion and fresh corn kernels. Some considerations with Fried Rice, which is in essence a Stir Fry, are the order in which you add things to the pan, how finely ingredients are chopped, and most importantly, the seasonings. I’ve tried using more shoyu (soy sauce) to get more oomph, but it backfires every time. The key is subtlety–have some balance, keep it simple, not too much oil, and of course, use REAL rice! If you’ve ever lived in Hawaii, you know that a common joke is to accuse someone of using “Uncle Ben’s” rice. Yes, the rice must be actually cooked, by you, but you can use a rice cooker, of course, as most Hawaiians do. I grew up having white “sticky rice” at every meal, but now I like brown rice, and for Fried Rice, I use short-grain brown rice, and it’s delicious. This photo is not garnished because I didn’t have any green onions on hand, but they are important in this dish. The protein i used this time was the General Tso’s Vegan Chicken from Whole Foods, cut into quarters, and sauteed with the rice toward the end. But you could press and cube tofu and cook it beforehand, use nuts, etc.
VEGAN FRIED RICE – LOCAL STYLE
Make rice one day ahead. Rice must be cold. Freshly cooked rice will just make a sticky mess.
Serves 3 to 4 people
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1/8 tsp fine sea salt, or Hawaiian salt
4 Cups cold cooked rice (real rice only)
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, grated
½ C fresh vegetables, chopped fine
A protein, such as diced seitan or pressed-and-cubed tofu or shelled steamed soy beans, or nuts, etc.
2 Tablespoons Tamari sauce
1 Tablespoon Black Bean Sauce (my personal secret ingredient)
For garnish: green onions, sesame seeds, etc.
Whisk together the Tamari and Black Bean sauces, and set aside.
In a large, non-stick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
If using tofu, fry it until firm or slightly browned, and set aside.
Heat the remaining sesame oil.
Add onions, carrot, the salt, and sauté until onions are a bit caramelized.
Add other vegetables now, if you have not added them with the onions.
Break up lumps of cold, cooked rice (with your hands) and add to pan.
Stir until rice is heated and grains are separated.
Stir until thoroughly heated and mixed.
Sprinkle Tamari sauces mixture over rice and mix evenly through.
Sprinkle with black pepper if desired.
Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, etc.
Note: If using heavy, raw vegetables, chop them finer and add them earlier; when you add the onions, so they have time to really cook. They key with this dish is to chop things somewhat uniformly. We like our vegetables to be chopped pretty fine so it’s a more married dish. When the fresh, local corn is ripe, we like it in this dish.