Veggie Fried Rice (or how I survived NYC on 25K a year)
I make fried rice all the time. In fact when I was a broke as a joke and living in an apartment the size of my thumb and regularly crying myself to sleep (TMI?) I would make this and things would be ok at least for a little while. It would almost always be veggie fried rice because again I was poor AF and meat = money. I never thought to blog about it because well other things always seemed more pressing (usually donuts) and this was less of a recipe and more of way to keep me sustained until payday.
But recently one of my Instagram followers (btw I hate that we call people followers…it makes it seem like I’m a king or a prophet and that makes me cringe a lot) asked if I had ever posted a recipe for fried rice and I had to admit that I never had… UNTIL TODAY!
Now that my lifestyle is a little more stable, fried rice still makes regular dinner appearances, but mostly because it’s easy, not because rent is due soon. I love that this dish has a story for me, and that I’ve kept it as a reminder of those sometimes difficult but somehow still amazing early adulthood days. And now I’m so pleased to bring it to you, because maybe it will be an easy weeknight meal for when you’re too tired to think, or maybe you’re a broke as a joke 20 something living somewhere fabulous without a dollar to your name. Whoever you are though, I hope you enjoy this as much as I have for over a decade.
5 tips to make the best fried rice
When I say this is easy I mean it. Is it easier than making a piece of toast? Well no, unless you happen to burn a lot of toast, but that’s another story. But there are some things you should keep in mind to help you have the best fried rice ever.
- Use any veggies you’d like, but cut them pretty small. This applies especially to tougher ones like broccoli or carrots. Cutting them into small pieces gives them a chance to cook in the very short amount of time they see any heat.
- Use day old rice – or don’t. If you chose the second option, make your rice, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool down faster and pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will mimic the texture of day old rice, which is what we’re going for.
- Let your rice “fry”. No we’re not using an excessive amount of oil, but when you get your rice in the pan give it some time to crisp up a little bit. A lot of what makes this dish great is the variety of textures. Let the rice sit, undisturbed and you’ll get some chewy bits, some soft ones, and some crispy edges here and there.
- Once you’ve added your soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free) don’t cook it for too much longer. You want some of the moisture to evaporate, but soy sauce can burn and it won’t taste great if it does.
- Cook the eggs first. If you wait until the end and try to move the rice to the sides so you can scramble the egg in the middle, you’ll just end up with mushy egg and gloopy rice – this is not so pretty. So it’s worth repeating : cook your eggs first.
And if you’re looking for more easy weeknight meals, check these out:
This recipe was brought to you by…
The crippling debt of my 20’s…but more importantly by a friendly person who I encountered on social media, requesting a recipe for fried rice. Not that all requests will be honored (because that’s not what this whole thing is about) but when one comes down the pike that makes a lot of sense to share, I’m happy to oblige. So keep that in mind and if you’re struggling to find a great recipe for this, that, or the rare other, hit me up! I love a challenge and maybe I already have what you’re looking for just hanging out in some corner of my brain.
And I almost forgot…
Today is my blogiversary! Well technically it was on the 8th, but I’m counting it as today because one year ago today is the first day I actually posted a recipe and didn’t just rattle off a bunch of incoherent thoughts about my life and the internet.
Thank you so, so much for reading the blog, liking my posts on social media, making the recipes, and telling your friends. I have loved blogging this past year more than I ever thought I could and a lot of that is due to you brilliant people. So thank you again and I hope you stick around for another year of stories, recipes, and rants about the weather.Print
One Pan Veggie Fried Rice
This veggie fried rice is one I’ve been making for over a decade. It’s quick, easy, and super customizable for whatever veggies you happen to have on hand!
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 10 Minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: Asian
3 T soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten-free)
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
2 tsp sambal olek or sriracha (more if you’d like it spicier)
1 T toasted sesame oil
2 1/2 T oil (divided)
3-4 C veggies (all chopped into 1/2 inch dice or smaller – I used onion, red bell pepper, and broccoli)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 T ginger, minced or grated
3-4 C cooked rice
3 scallions, chopped
2 tsp sesame seeds
lime wedges and sriracha or more sambal for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, sambal, and sesame oil. Set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. Beat the eggs and add to the pan. Cook until completely set and transfer cooked egg to a plate. Chop the eggs roughly with a knife (or a spatula).
Wipe pan out with a paper towel and raise heat to high. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and when the oil begins to shimmer add your chopped veggies (not the scallions) and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Cook for five minutes, tossing frequently – they should start to take a little bit of color and soften just a bit. Transfer veggies to the plate with the eggs.
Lower heat to medium-high. Add the remaining vegetable oil. Saute the garlic and ginger in the oil for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the rice and spread into an even layer. Let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Stir the rice (using a spatula to scrape it up), pat down into an even layer again and cook for additional 2 minutes, undisturbed.
Add veggies, eggs, and soy sauce mixture to the rice and stir to combine, cooking for about one more minute. Season to taste with additional salt. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges and sriracha or sambal.
*It’s best to use day old rice for this. If not then make the rice, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool and stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes – this will mimic the texture of day old rice.
*Use tamari instead of soy sauce if you’re gluten free or omit the egg and sub out brown sugar for honey if you’re vegan.
*Use any veggies you’d like but just remember that they only cook for about five minutes, so for tougher veggies like carrots and broccoli, cut them small so they cook quickly.
Keywords: Easy weeknight dinner, vegetable fried rice, less than 30 minutes