Easy Fried Rice with Leftovers

Fried rice is the perfect dish for using up leftovers, that’s basically how it came into being; traditionally in china fried rice was made with the leftover ingredients from other meals, now it’s pretty much one of the most popular street food out there with nearly endless meat and vegetable variations. You can use really anything you have in your fridge, peas, corn, celery, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, shrimp, chicken, or beef.  I happened to have leftover cabbage from fish tacos, and a few leftover slices of ham, add a carrot and a few green onions and you are set! Even the rice need to be a day old for it to work, if you use freshly cooked rice it will just steam instead of stir fry. That’s what gives the rice the perfect chewy texture.  

I’m adding my method for cooking the rice because it adds a lot of flavor to the finished fried rice.  For everyone cup of dried rice you will need 1 tablespoon butter and 1 large clove of garlic (chopped). In a pot add rice, butter and garlic, cook on medium/high heat for about 3-5 min. add a good dash of salt and pepper. (My culinary instructor taught me this “ancient Chinese trick” for cooking rice perfectly without measuring the rice or the water. Using your finger, just touching the top of the rice fill with water to the first knuckle joint of your index finger. This works every time for me!) add water and fallow cook times on package of rice.

Fried rice is best cooked in a wok, to get that crisp chewy texture you want high heat but you need to move it constantly, a wok accomplishes this perfectly. If you don’t have a wok, (like  me) use a cast iron pan or something with a heavy bottom that retains heat really well.

 

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Fried Rice

  •       4 cups cooked rice (see above)
  •       3 green onions (sliced)
  •       1 cup chopped cabbage
  •       1 medium carrot, grated
  •       1 cup chopped ham
  •       2 eggs
  •       2 tablespoons soy sauce
  •       2 tablespoons oyster sauce (don’t skip this it makes it!)
  •       2 tablespoons cooking oil
  •       2 teaspoons sesame oil
  •      Salt and pepper to taste

In a hot wok or cast iron pan, stir fry cabbage, carrots with 1/3 of the cooking oil reserving the rest for later, add ham and cook for about a min.  Add in another 1/3 of the cooking oil and add rice, stirring constantly cook the rice for about 2-3 min. add soy sauce and oyster sauce and salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper stir to combine and cook another 2 min.  make a well in the center of the rice and pour in the remaining 1/3 cooking oil, crack in your two eggs and scramble and cook the eggs being sure not to incorporate the rice till the eggs are almost cooked. Remove from heat and drizzle on the sesame oil, (sesame oil should only be used as a finishing oil, you destroy the delicate flavor with high heat) sprinkle on sliced green onions stir one last time to incorporate the sesame oil and onions and enjoy! Sunnyside up egg optional! Serves 3-4 (in my house barely two teenage brothers.)

What variations would you come up with?

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Lacto Fermented Sauerkraut

This recipe belongs to my wonderful mother!  She is the genius behind the best sauerkraut I have ever had.  My favorite part about this recipe is that it uses lacto fermentation as opposed to a vinegar pickling.  Lacto fermentation is a little trickier, but much healthier as it is loaded with good probiotics (like yogurt) and good bacteria that help promote gut health.

A few key things to know before we get into the recipe: 1. don’t use any metal when making lacto fermented anything, it can react with the acid and end up tasting bad. No metal bowls or spoons, I used a glass bowl and a wooden spoon. 2. Don’t use salt with iodine or anti-caking agents in them, it can prevent/kill the fermentation process altogether, I used sea salt. 3. Make sure to use filtered water (if you end up needing it) for the same reason as the salt, chlorine and other water additives can slow down or stop the natural fermentation. 4. You always want your sauerkraut submerged in liquid, it keeps it crisp and fresh. If you notice your sauerkraut looking dry on the top as it ferments add a few tablespoons of lightly salted water to the top until it covers all the cabbage.

Sauerkraut is one of my favorite foods!! I eat it with breakfast all the time and I basically can’t eat hotdogs without it anymore! What things would you put sour sauerkraut on?

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Sauerkraut

  • 1 medium head of cabbage

  • 1 medium onion

  • 4-5 cloves Garlic

  • 1 ½ tablespoon Sea Salt

Using a round cutter cut out 2 circles from larger outer leaves of cabbage, set aside. Thinly slice the rest of the cabbage and place in a non metallic bowl. Add salt and stir using a wooden spoon till salt is all mixed in, set aside to rest for about 10 min. to allow salt to draw out moisture. Chop garlic and onion finely, add to cabbage and stir together. Using a clean and dry quart mason jar, fill with cabbage mixture about 1/3 of the way full and pack down using a blender tamper, make sure not to overly smash and just gently compact the cabbage (you want to begin to pull more juice out of the cabbage).  Fill jar another 1/3 and pack down again, repeat till jar is full, leaving 1 ½ inch head clearance at the top. Place your circle cut leaf on top and depending on juiciness add a little salt water to the top just till cabbage is covered. Screw on lid. Repeat with second jar.  Place jars on a towel (for possible leakage) on counter top, let sit at room temp (about 70 degrees) for 10 days. In the winter and colder temperatures it will take up to 2 weeks and in the summer when it’s warmer the time will be shorter. If you are not sure if it’s done just taste it, when it sours to your liking its done. Once it’s done it will continue to sour at a very slow rate in the refrigerator and as long as it is submerged in its liquid it can last up to 10 years!!! 

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Halibut Fish Tacos With Cilantro Avocado Sauce

I am a sucker for anything in a corn tortilla, but especially fish!  Fresh caught halibut lightly pan fried with crunchy cabbage, cilantro and onions, crisp radishes, sriracha aioli and cilantro avocado sauce makes this taco extra delicious.  I came up with this recipe after living in San Diego and tasting some of the best fish tacos of my life! I was instantly inspired, and came up with my own version of street tacos, after a few years of tweaking I have decided that this recipe is very nearly as good as the fantastic tacos I had in San Diego.

 

This fish taco recipe is super simple to make and you can easily substitute the halibut for cod, or any other white fish you enjoy. Just keep in mind cooking times will be slightly different for each fish.  Halibut is a dense and meaty fish that is very sturdy when cooing, it’s fairly easy to work with and has excellent flavor making it perfect for tacos! A few tips for cooing halibut are:  Make sure your pan is not too hot. I cook most fish at a lower temperature than other proteins, mostly because fish is very delicate and fast cooking; a rule of thumb would be watch the color: nothing darker than a light golden color on the batter is perfect.  To keep the fish crispy, place your cooked fish on a wire cooling rack for service.  The fish will continue to steam and if it’s on a plate the breading will likely become soggy form contact with the plate. Just make sure to serve it quickly as it will cool fast.

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Most of the prep for this recipe can be done ahead of time:

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Cilantro Avocado Sauce

  • 1 Avocado
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Clove Garlic (chopped)
  • ½ Cup Lightly Packed Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a food processor blend avocado and lime juice till smooth. Add in sour cream, garlic and cilantro, blend till cilantro is chopped and well incorporated. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Makes about 2 cups of sauce and will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

 

Sriracha Aioli

  • 1 Cup Mayo
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sriracha Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and mix thoroughly. Makes about 1 cup sauce (I usually double it) keep refrigerated for up to a month.

 

Halibut Fish Tacos

Breading: 

  • 1 lb Halibut
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch

Tacos:

  • ¼  Head of Cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro
  • ½ Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Radishes (thinly sliced)
  • 6-8 Corn tortillas
  • 1 lime for squeezing
  • 1-2 Tablespoon olive oil for cooking

Thinly slice cabbage and radishes. Chop onion and cilantro, in a bowl combine the onions and cilantro. Set aside. Warm tortillas in a pan or in the oven wrapped in tinfoil. (keep warm) Clean and portion fish into this slices about ½” thick, place in a bowl and add chopped garlic, salt, pepper and lime juice. Mix to coat fish in seasoning. Add in the egg and corn starch, mix gently with hands until a light batter forms around the fish. If the batter is to thick or thin add a tablespoon more of cornstarch or a drizzle of water according to need.  In a cast iron pan heated with olive oil to medium heat cook fish in two additions for about 3-4 min on each side being careful not to over crowd the pan. Remove to cooling rack and cook second addition of fish.

To assemble tacos place a piece of fish on a warmed tortilla, top with cabbage, cilantro onion mixture and radishes. Top with cilantro avocado sauce and sriratcha aioli, squeeze with lime juice and ENJOY!