Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quinoa "Fried Rice"

I have been craving fried rice, but I quickly dismissed it, thinking it was just too carb-heavy. Even if I were to use healthy brown rice, it would just feel like too big an indulgence. Theeeeennnn I thought, "Hey, Self- what if we were to use quinoa instead of rice? It's chock full of protein and it's not even officially a grain."  I made a quick trip to the Google machine and it turns out I was not the first one to have this flash of brilliance. Whatever. I don't need that kind of press anyway. 

I had some sesame tofu from the ready-prep area of Whole Foods. I'm not a tofu fan, but if you're there when they have this stuff, try it. (I'm going to try to re-create it  soon, so stay posted.) I decided to use that as my "meat". Other than that, my plan was to use a ton of veggies and a combo of egg and egg whites. This whole process took maybe 20 mins because I had a bowl of leftover plain quinoa already cooked. But cooking quinoa only takes about 12-14 mins, so even if you have to do that first, this is a ~30 minute filling and satisfying recipe. 

The amounts I have below are what I used to make this giant bowl. I planned to eat all of it, but was pretty full after half, so I'll say it's good for 2 people or 1 really hungry person. It would also be good with the Asian Cucumber Salad recipe I posted under the Stir Fry recipe here. I chose the veggies because, well, they were what was in my fridge. Get creative and put in whatever you like. Bell peppers not your thing? Toss in some broccoli! It's your fake fried rice, do what you want!


What I used:
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 c dry)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided in half (SO much better than reg sesame oil. You need this in your home)
- Ginger- I have the jarred ginger, but fresh would be better if you have it on hand
- 1 large carrot
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 medium zucchini
- 3 stalks of ramps (they're in season right now, got some great fresh ones at the farmers' market...)
- 1 egg + 3 tbsp egg whites (equivalent of one egg)
- ~ 1/3- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted (fresh peas would be great if you can get 'em)
- One 8 oz container sesame tofu
- Bragg's liquid amino
- about a tsp of teriyaki sauce (I could  take or leave this addition... up to you)
- toasted sesame seeds and scallions for garnish

I wanted everything to cook evenly and I didn't want huge chunks in the quinoa- I was going for a more uniform dish. So I put the carrot, bell pepper, and zucchini in the food processor and gave it a good rough chop- not so much that it was in little bits, more like bite-sized. I did the carrot first by itself, then the zucchini and bell pepper together.

Scramble the egg and the egg white together and chop the ramp, using both the white and the green parts.

Heat your wok on a fairly high heat and added 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil. Here is a good time to mention that a good wok is a smart investment and can and will be used more than enough to justify the purchase :)

Once it gets good and hot, add in the bowl of veggies ( but not the peas). Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still crisp, about 5 mins. Add the quinoa and pour the Bragg's 2-3 rounds around the pan- about 1-2 tbsp. Also add the other 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil and the teriyaki sauce (if using). You could also potentially use fish sauce here instead- if you're into that kind of thing.

Create a well in the middle of the quinoa and add the egg. Stir constantly until curds start to form. Mix the egg into the rest of the concoction until cooked through. Toss in the peas and add more Bragg's to taste. At this point, you will also want to test for salt. If the flavors don't pop, add salt. It doesn't only make things taste "salty", it accentuates the flavors that already exist...

At this point, I added in my tofu. If you were using any other type of protein that needed cooking, I would suggest using a tad more oil and cooking that just about all the way before adding  the veggies. You may also want to marinade your protein prior to cooking to develop the best possible flavor. Then follow the recipe as-is.

Final step: Plate it up and try not to burn your mouth as you shovel it all in. AND feel no guilt... the recipe above has about 590 cals if you eat the entire thing, plus it's chock full of clean, highly nutritious foods. You can also save a few cals if you take out the whole egg and use egg whites only.  Enjoy!!

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