I’m here today to share with you all the recipe for Vegetable Fried Rice, Chinese-style rice cooked with various veggies.
The husband and I love Asian food in general, especially Chinese. I occasionally prepare Chinese fare at home, as always trying to make it as healthy as I can. This Vegetable Fried Rice is a hot family favourite.
Vegetable Fried Rice to usher in Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year, this time around, falls on January 25, 2020. The Year of The Rat begins on this day, an animal that is believed to signify intelligence, peace and contentment.
For the Chinese, the start of the lunar new year means eight days of fun and celebrations – good food, bonding with family, shopping, dressing up, cleaning up of homes and exchanging gifts. They are very particular about the things they do and eat on New Year day, as it is said to set the tone for the entire year ahead. Family is of utmost importance to the Chinese, and new year celebrations are incomplete without big family feasts.
Noodles, dumplings, oranges and pomelos, stir-fried vegetables and meat, fish, spring rolls and glutinous rice cakes are some foods commonly consumed on Chinese New Year. Fried rice is one of the dishes served in family get-togethers, too, typically made using chicken, pork or other types of meat. Some parts of China, though, follow the practice of eating only vegetarian food on New Year’s day, to usher in peace and harmony in the coming year.
Do try out this Vegetable Fried Rice to celebrate Chinese New Year. Supremely delicious and full of flavour, I’m sure you will love it! It’s so very easy to prepare, too.
My version of Vegetable Fried Rice
The Vegetable Fried Rice recipe I share here is made with minimal oil and lots of vegetables. I make it with naturally fermented soya sauce, as well as some white vinegar. Apart from this, I do not add in ajinomoto or any other flavouring agents. The rice is also not loaded with sauces, as is commonly done in several Indian restaurants serving Chinese fare.
I’m not sure if this is the exact way Chinese families cook Vegetable Fried Rice, but I have learnt it having watched it being made on several TV shows, documentaries, and demonstrations in reputed Asian restaurants.
I will reiterate here that I’m not a huge fan of packaged sauces or processed ingredients. This Vegetable Fried Rice is an occasional treat in our house, thanks to the use of soya sauce and vinegar, and not something we regularly indulge in.
Celebrating Chinese New Year at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
This Vegetable Fried Rice recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I’m part of. Every Monday, the bloggers in the group showcase recipes as per a pre-determined theme, which happens to be #ChineseNewYear this week.
Preethi of Preethi’s Cuisine suggested that we celebrate Chinese New Year virtually this Monday, to which the rest of us heartily agreed. Preethi is a very talented cook and blogger, with various vegetarian recipes from across the world on her blog. I’ve been eyeing her Greek-Style Potato Wedges, Shahi Tendli Masala and Achaari Matar Masala for quite some time now – can’t wait to try them out!
Vegetable Fried Rice recipe
Here’s how I make the fried rice.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
To pressure cook:
1. 1 cup rice
2. 2-1/2 cups water
Veggies to prep:
1. 1 medium-sized onion
2. 2 small florets broccoli
3. 2 medium-sized carrots
4. 1 medium-sized capsicum
5. 2 large pieces of babycorn
6. 2 tablespoons green peas
7. 4 button mushrooms
8. 4-5 beans
9. A small piece of cabbage
1. 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2. A 1-inch piece of ginger
3. 5-6 cloves of garlic
4. Salt to taste
5. 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns or to taste
6. 2 tablespoons soya sauce or to taste
7. 3/4 tablespoon white vinegar or to taste
8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
1. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water. Take the washed and drained rice in a large vessel, and add in 2-1/2 cups of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
2. In the meanwhile, we will prep the veggies required to make the fried rice. Chop the onion lengthwise. Chop the broccoli small. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Chop the capsicum small and the babycorn into rounds. Cut the button mushrooms into large pieces. Remove the strings from the beans, and chop finely. Cut the cabbage into long strips. Keep the shelled green peas ready.
3. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves. Chop the ginger very finely. Pound the garlic cloves roughly, using a mortar and pestle.
4. When all the pressure from the cooker has gone down, get the cooked rice out. Place the cooked rice under the fan, and let it cool down fully. Now, fluff it up gently using a spoon.
5. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add in all the veggies we prepped earlier, plus the finely chopped ginger and pounded garlic cloves. Add a bit of salt. Cook the veggies on high flame for about 2 minutes, or till they are cooked but still retain their crunch. Stir intermittently to prevent burning. If the veggies get too dry, you can sprinkle a bit of water over them.
6. Once the veggies are done, turn the flame down to low-medium. Add in the cooled and fluffed rice, salt to taste, coarsely crushed black peppercorns, dark soya sauce, light soya sauce and white vinegar. Mix well, but gently.
7. Cook on low-medium heat for about a minute more, mixing up the ingredients gently. Switch off the gas when the ingredients are well combined together.
8. Now, mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Your Vegetable Fried Rice is now ready to serve. Serve it hot.
Tips & Tricks
1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. For plain rice, I cook 1 cup of rice with 3-1/2 cups of water, on high flame for 4 whistles. For the Vegetable Fried Rice, since I needed well-cooked but slightly grainy rice, I cooked it with 2-1/2 cups of water for just 3 whistles.
2. Make sure the cooked rice has fully cooled down, before proceeding to fluff it up and make the Vegetable Fried Rice. If you have some cooked rice left over, you can use it instead, too.
3. You can use any vegetables of your choice. Make sure you cook them on high flame till they are cooked through, but still retain a bit of a crunch. Don’t overcook the veggies.
4. I used sesame oil to cook the Vegetable Fried Rice. You can use any type of oil you prefer, instead.
5. Use a large, heavy-bottomed pan to cook the Vegetable Fried Rice. Ensure that you do not overcrowd the pan with the veggies and rice.
6. You can use any variety of rice you prefer.
7. I usually pop a few tablespoons of black peppercorns into a small mixer jar, and coarsely crush them. I keep this ready for use in dishes like Vegetable Fried Rice, Ven Pongal, etc. I have used a teaspoon of this crushed black pepper here. You can use more or less pepper, as per personal taste preferences.
8. White pepper can be used in place of black pepper.
9. I use naturally fermented soya sauce by a Thai brand called Shoyu. You can use any variety of soya sauce you prefer instead, too.
10. Lemon juice can be used in the Vegetable Fried Rice, instead of vinegar. I prefer using white vinegar, as it gives the Vegetable Fried Rice a proper restaurant-type fragrance and taste. If you can get your hands on naturally brewed white vinegar, you can go ahead and use it. You may use any other variety of vinegar you prefer instead, too. Increase or decrease the quantity of vinegar you use, as per your taste preferences.
11. I like loading my fried rice with veggies. You may reduce the amount of veggies you use, if you so prefer.
12. Be careful while salting the Vegetable Fried Rice. The soya sauce we are using in it contains salt, too.
13. Typically, green onions or spring onions are used in Vegetable Fried Rice. However, I don’t use them since I’m not a big fan. I prefer garnishing the fried rice with finely chopped coriander, instead.
14. The key to a good Vegetable Fried Rice is non-sticky rice. Use a variety of rice that doesn’t clump together when cooked. Wash the rice well in running water before cooking, so that all the excess starch from it is removed. Make sure all the water is drained out from the rice before cooking. Cook the rice till it is done but still grainy, not mushy. The above ratio of rice and water and pressure cooking works perfectly for us.
15. Indo-Chinese versions of Vegetable Fried Rice are often made using a variety of sauces like Red Chilli Pickle, Green Chilli Sauce, Tomato Ketchup, and the likes. However, authentic Chinese-style fried rice uses only soya sauce, and that is the way I prepare it too.
16. Make sure you stir gently while cooking, so that the grains of rice do not break.
17. Some toasted sesame seeds can also be used to garnish the Vegetable Fried Rice.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!