There is absolutely nothing better than a hot bowl of chicken and vegetable fried rice. It is so easy, yet has a special place in our menu rotation. Unlike a biryani or pulao, a simple fried rice takes no effort at all, but puts a smile on everyone’s faces here. Is it the same for you guys?
Fried rice is so versatile, you can put absolutely any combination of meat and vegetables in it. You can plan ahead and buy all your favorite greens or simply throw in whatever needs to be used up. Kind of like what I did here. This one is almost like a ‘kitchen sink’ fried rice recipe. You know, the recipe in which you can use anything and everything but the kitchen sink!
Like you can see below, I used chicken, some broccoli florets that were threatening to tun yellow any day, green cabbage leaves and the last handful of green peas languishing in the freezer.
Now we come to the rice used in a fried rice recipe. Long grained rice works best always. But that should not stop you from using what you have on hand. Brown rice or even wild rice will lend a very earthy flavor here. I used basmati because it makes a pretty bowl of fried rice and I wanted it to look pretty since you guys were coming over! But usually, I just use leftover, day-old rice.
The chicken is lightly marinated in soy sauce and black pepper and stir fried in a hot skillet. Then the vegetables get stir fried in the super hot skillet, but not for long, you want them to retain their color, texture and crispness. One sneaky thing I do with broccoli (and also cauliflower) is that I microwave it for a minute and then stir fry it. But only because I really do not like a raw broccoli flavor in my fried rice.
The flavoring part is the most fun. I left this recipe at the most basic level with just some ginger, garlic and red chili flakes for heat. There is soy sauce for color and flavor. That’s it. You can use any number of sauces for flavoring fried rice like sriracha, oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce, or my childhood favorite – spicy tomato ketchup! As of now, I’ve outgrown adding ketchup to real food and simply serve some on the side!
Here’s the recipe. Hope you are hungry!
QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE FRIED RICE
You will need: (Serves 3-4)
For marinating the chicken,
- Chicken – 1 lb, boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into short, thin strips
- Soy sauce – 2 tsp
- Black pepper powder – 1/2 – 1 tsp
For the fried rice,
- Rice – 1 cup (I used long-grained basmati rice)
- Water – 1 1/2 cups
- Oil – 1 1/2 tbsp, divided (I used sesame oil for flavor, you can use any oil of choice)
- Red onion – 1/4 cup, finely chopped
- Ginger – 1 tbsp, grated or finely chopped
- Garlic – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
- Broccoli florets – from a small head of broccoli
- Cabbage leaves – 1 – 2 cups, shredded and loosely packed
- Green peas – 1/2 cup
- Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Red chili flakes – 2 tsp (or less, depending on heat level desired)
- Salt – to taste
- Marinate chicken with marinade ingredients and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Wash rice under running water. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a pan. Add rice and 1/2 tsp salt, reduce heat to low, cover and cook till done. Once rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and keep covered till ready to use. (You can also use 3 cups of already cooked, day-old rice. Gently re-heat it up in a loosely covered bowl in the microwave.)
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp oil. Shallow fry the chicken pieces, a few minutes per side till they are fully cooked. Remove onto a paper towel lined plate and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil. Add onions, ginger and garlic and saute till onions are translucent.
- Now add the vegetables and saute on high heat till they are tender-crisp, stirring all the while. Mix in red chili flakes and soy sauce and saute for a few seconds more till well combined. Add the chicken pieces and combine well.
- Mix the stir fried chicken and vegetables with the cooked rice and fold gently till combined well. Taste and season lightly with salt if needed.
- Serve hot as such or with ketchup and more soy sauce on the side.
- If you are using brown rice, you may add up to 2 cups of water per cup of rice to cook properly. Make sure the rice is cooked al-dente.
- Soy sauce has enough salt in it, so I do not find any need to season the chicken or vegetables. But use your best judgement and personal taste to determine if the stir fry needs additional salt.
- Always saute the vegetables before adding the sauce. If you add the sauce first, the vegetables will simply start to braise in the liquid and will not be crisp any more.
- I cook broccoli florets in the microwave for just a minute. This is a personal preference and not absolutely necessary.
- Feel free to replace the vegetables with ones of your choice. Carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, etc work well in fried rice.
- Replace chicken with your favorite protein like beef strips or jumbo shrimp. Vegetarians can use tofu.
Do you like fried rice? Do you have a go-to recipe? Do share.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn