Fried rice is one of those foods that Kim & I have made at least once every two days for the past three months. “Why,” you ask? Well, it’s easy to make, leftover veggies can be tossed in willie-nillie, there’s little prep work involved, it’s filling, and it’s cheap. We always buy the same kind of rice – white Thai Jasmine – and we recently discovered that we can buy a 10 lb bag at a local Asian supermarket for $10! Shit is bananas, and, I’m willing to bet that there’s one near you that offers a similar deal.
Questions are always raised at the mention of rice, given the lectin-limited nature of this blog, so let me stake my argument on behalf of rice.
For one, it’s cheap (did I mention that already?). For two, white rice contains no lectins, as they belong to the bran and hull, which is removed in the process that converts brown rice into white rice. For three, when rice is cooked with a touch of oil and then thoroughly chilled – for at least 5 hours in the refrigerator – all of its simple carbohydrates turn into resistant starches… you know, the gut bug friendly starch that doesn’t spike blood sugar levels? For four, the resistant starches created by chilling the rice don’t convert back into simple carbs when reheated, i.e. you don’t have to eat cold rice just to get the benefits of this culinary trick. For five, rice can be eaten with Hispanic food, Asian food, American food; rice knows no culinary boundaries. For six, rice can be cooked in a hundred different ways – I’m talking rissoto, sushi rice, fried rice, infused rice, rice pudding, congee, you name it & rice has probably done it.
For more information about how rice’s simple sugars are converted into resistant starches, check out the content in this link.
Despite the grain’s bad wrap by the media (this poor guy needs a better marketing agent), cultures who eat rice as their staple food regularly live into their 90s & 100s. On top of that, these cultures have been eating white rice – not brown – for generations, which is something to consider when making your purchasing decisions.
What did we come here for again? Ooohhh, food, that’s right. Yes, about the fried rice!
Making fried rice isn’t nearly as hard as it may seem. In fact, all you need to make fried rice is a pan, cooked rice, tamari, and a little bit of oil. The rest, truly, is up to you. I say that to let you know that this is just one of the many ways we cook fried rice in the house – it’s super savory, robust in garlic flavor, and laced with onion throughout – but you can throw any vegetables and seasonings into your rice with spectacular results.
However, in good No Eggs or Ham fashion, this is a relatively traditional take on Chinese/Thai style fried rice, as that’s what we most often eat. As mentioned above, we cook our rice with a little bit of coconut oil, which helps to keep each granule of rice separate from one another, as well as add a subtle, sweet coconut-y-ness. Then, for saltiness & depth of flavor, tamari sauce is added – an element that I advise you add to every fried rice you make. To balance out the saltiness, we add a touch of rice vinegar, which is acidic & subtly sweet – this is the one vinegar we always keep on hand. For its distinct nutty flavor, we use toasted sesame oil to fry the veggies and rice in.
Because this particular variation contains red onion, toasted garlic, scallions, and cilantro, it has all of the seasoning it needs. Although, that’s not to say that on a lazy night (i.e. most nights) we wouldn’t sub out the garlic for garlic powder, add some extra bang in the form of cayenne, or lend an herbal uplift via dried oregano.
Before I continue, I’d like to take a moment to shed some light on tamari. While it’s often seen as soy sauce’s hipster little brother, that’s not the case – this is a case of mistaken identity. Tamari is traditional soy sauce – i.e. the only ingredients in a bottle of organic tamari are soybeans, salt, water, and alcohol as a preservative. Soy sauce contains wheat – among other grains – which have been added in recent years as a filler ingredient to lower production costs. Traditionally, tamari was the thick, dark liquid that accumulated on top of miso during fermentation. Eventually, someone tasted it and realized that it was delicious, thus people in central Japan began to ferment batches of miso with more water just to collect the tamari. Unfortunately, because fermenting miso is a very long (6-18 months) process, commercial manufactures started adding grains and adjusting the ways the made this “soy sauce” to fit higher demands, quicker turn around times, and more profit.
On a brighter note, when soybeans are fermented and turned into things like miso, tamari, and tempeh, their lectins are neutralized – made harmless – by the bacteria and fungi responsible for transforming them into said products. For this reason, fear not the humble soy bean, as she can add a whole lot of flavor to your cuisine when treated with the respect she deserves.
Back to the matter of fried rice – as I said before – it can be made with any pan, albeit I’ve come to realize that a wok is the strongest weapon in your arsenal for this battle. Reason being, with the amount of surface area that woks provide – along with their outwardly expanding shape – moisture doesn’t have a chance to build up in the rice, which prevents the rice from becoming gummy (an issue we ran into when using a regular frying pan). To add to matters, woks make it particularly easy to toss rice into the air and back into the pan with the flick of the wrist, which makes integrating all of the ingredients an easy task. And easy integration is important because too much abrasive stirring can break up the rice granules, thus creating gummy rice. So, for restaurant level fried-rice, a wok is the way to go, but don’t let that prevent you from making it in your best non-stick frying pan – you will still be overjoyed with the results.
I hope this post has you bustling at the edge of your seat – mouth watering – excited to make our favorite savory meal. All in all, this fried rice is garlic-y, sesame-y, onion-y, umami-y, salty, and savory.
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Eat,
Ryan & Kim
Garlicky Fried Rice
Resistant-starch rice fried in toasted sesame oil, seasoned with red onions & cilantro, and topped with crispy, toasted garlic.
- 2 1/2 cooked Jasmine rice (about 1 dry cup)
- 7 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds
- handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (stems & leaves)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (bottom inch and flimsy tops removed)
- If you haven’t cooked your rice yet, thoroughly rinse 1 cup of dry Jasmine rice in a fine mesh strainer for 2 minutes, stirring the rice as you go. Transfer to a medium pot, along with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of coconut oil.
- Clamp on a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as a boil is achieved, drop the heat to low and set a timer for 15 minutes. Don’t stir until the rice is fully cooked, as it creates gummy rice.
- Kill the heat, remove the lid, drape a clean towel over the top of the pot, and reset the lid on top of the towel. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes – for excess moisture to be absorbed – before frying.
- Heat sesame oil in a large non-stick wok or frying pan over medium heat until the oil shimmers; about 1 minute.
- Add in the garlic and let it fry until it’s golden brown and crispy; about 3 minutes. Transfer using to a clean bowl or plate using a slotted spoon (you want the oil to stay in the pan, not with the garlic). Set aside for later use.
- Crank heat up to medium high and add in red onion plus a small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden (which wicks away excess moisture), until the onion begins to brown around the edges; about 3 minutes.
- Add in 2 1/2 cups of cooked Jasmine rice plus rice vinegar & 2 tbsp of tamari. Slash the rice with your spoon and fold it over itself to incorporate the ingredients. You want to avoid any mashing or abrasive stirring motions as these too can make the rice gummy.
- Once the tamari & vinegar are completely mixed in, add in sesame seeds, cilantro, and most of the scallions & crunchy garlic – reserving a little bit for topping.
- Continue cooking – stirring constantly – until the rice is piping hot; 1-2 minutes. Taste for saltiness – add more tamari if necesary.
- Distribute among two or three bowls and top with remaining garlic & scallions! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat in a wok or saute pan over high heat until hot to liking.