Welcome to my Broke Betch Cooking series, which is exactly what it sounds like: cooking deliciousness on a budget! Living in NYC is expensive, as is ordering takeout for lunch and dinner every day. Other than Sushi Sundays, which is a long, beloved tradition for me, I try to cook most of my meals at home. Sometimes I’ll go to the grocery store with something specific in mind, but a lot of the time, I end up making something with whatever I can find in the fridge/pantry (I am the leftovers queen). I am a HUGE foodie, and strongly believe that a delicious meal is worth all the time and effort. I’m continuously surprised by how often people will reach out about the pictures of food that I post on Instagram (yes, I am that basic bitch), so I figured I would share my “recipes,” if you will, to spread the wealth! Enjoy!
Fried rice is one of my favorite dishes to make with leftovers! (Gotta savor those leftovers since it’s broke betch cooking, am I right?) Whether it is leftover Chinese food or just leftover rice, it’s so easy to throw a couple basic things into a pan and create a delicious meal.
There are a ton of different things you can toss into fried rice, but this how I like to do it. Here is what you’ll need:
- Base (this can be just olive oil, soy sauce or another liquid base)
- Rice (any kind!)
- Veggies (get creative–whatever you want…onions are a must)
- Protein (tofu, chicken, pork, whatever you want, or you can skip the protein)
- Eggs (scrambled, you can also skip this if you want)
- Spices/toppings: red pepper flakes or cayenne (if you want some spice), garlic, salt & pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions (if you’re feeling fancy)
(Keep reading to find out which of these ingredients majorly amped up my fried rice recipe.)
Here are the steps that I took this time around that you can use as a general guide:
1. Prepare the base.
I usually will pour some olive oil and let it heat up with some chopped garlic as my base. This time, I actually used some leftover Miso soup as my base (kind of an experiment, but ended up being yummy mixing in the seaweed and tofu bits).
2. Cook the veggies.
If you are using fresh (or frozen) veggies instead of leftovers, toss the veggies onto your base and let them cook through most of the way. This time, I did onions, green & red peppers, and some broccoli (cooked in a separate pan, chopped up into little florets).
3. Add the rice.
If you’re making the rice fresh, cook it fully in a separate pot. If using leftovers, just dump it in with your veggies and stir it all up. Now is when you’ll want to add your soy sauce and sesame oil. Sesame oil is a game-changer ingredient–you can do without it, but it really adds some awesome flavor that makes it taste like it came right from a Chinese restaurant. You only need a little bit, so the investment in a small bottle is totally worth it. Thanks to Whitney for introducing it to me!
4. Add the eggs & protein.
You can either scramble your eggs in a separate pan, or just cook them into your mix. Now is when you’ll want to add the cooked protein. If the protein and eggs are already cooked, you don’t need to leave these in for too long, but keep stirring.
5. Wait for that crisp.
This is where it gets good. It’s a little dance of adding olive oil and stirring until you get the right amount of crisp that you want. For me, I leave it on until I can see the rice getting really crispy and golden brown. If that isn’t happening, add some more olive oil. You’ll want to keep stirring so that the rice doesn’t stick to the pan and burn!
6. Add spices & toppings.
You’re almost done! Get creative with your spices and toppings, and keep tasting until it’s just right. I add a ton of salt (very guilty of being a salt addict), pepper, red pepper flakes (for that spice that I love) and/or cayenne pepper, more garlic if needed, and scallions if I’m trying to add some Gordon Ramsey vibes up in there.
That’s it! Bone apple tea, people.