Vegetable Fried Rice, With Fresh Flavors
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About five years ago, I was reflecting on how fried rice that I had eaten was often heavy and greasy. I thought that it would be a food that I would appreciate more if it could have a lighter feel and fresher flavors. I thought that it would also be fun to create it to have a strong, crisp, flavor profile. A little crisp texture would not be a problem, either, I thought.

Ultimately, I crated a recipe that uses some onion, garlic and scallions. However, the main flavors came from celery, lemon and ginger. There also were a few other ingredients to round out the recipe.

Though I sometimes make fried rice other ways, this is the recipe that I most appreciate. It is also the recipe that I like to enjoy in a large bowl, the kind used for ramen and pho.

To start, steam one cup of rice and allow it to cool. It is good if the rice can spend at least six hours in the refrigerator. There is nothing wrong with putting it in there the night before. You want the rice to be cooked and for the grains to be a little dry. This makes it perfect for being made into fried rice.

Start by taking a small onion and dicing it. Also finely chop a tablespoon of ginger. Take a large skillet, or a wok if you have one and pour in about a fourth of a cup of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium and allow the oil to heat up a little. At the onion and ginger. Stir fry until the onion becomes opaque. Chop two stalks of celery—if they are small, use three or four—and add them. After stir frying for a few more minutes, add a small amount of chili oil and a larger amount of sesame oil with two cloves of chopped garlic. Stir fry for one minute to combine the flavors.

Dump in the rice and use a spatula to fold the ingredients into the rice and get them mixed. When the rice starts to change color and become a little golden, add the zest and juice of half a lemon. Next, add soy sauce to taste.

Finely chop two scallions. A few minutes before you are ready to eat the rice, add the scallions. The idea is to get them warm without cooking them much. They will add flavor and freshness while still largely remaining crisp.


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