I love fried rice. A lot. Actually, I love pretty much anything that contains rice or can be served over rice, but Chinese takeout still has a soft place in my heart despite the fact that I no longer buy it. I have fond memories of eating out of those little cardboard cartons on lazy afternoons or hot summer nights when the power went out. But MSG and I don’t really get along, and since I’ve been moving away from excess salt and oil, I find a lot of pre-prepared foods to be too heavy on both.
That is, of course, the problem with fried rice. It’s so…fried. Even recipes for homemade fried rice tend to use rather more oil than I’m comfortable with. Fortunately for me, Appetite For Reduction takes this into account with “Unfried” Rice.
Fried rice…with only a teaspoon of oil! I know, it sounded kind of weird to me too, but also a welcome change from the recipe I used to make, which used three tablespoons of oil. The recipe description bills Unfried Rice as being fresher and lighter, and it’s basically a template that you can add any combination of vegetables to. I added carrots, peas and nappa cabbage, but broccoli, zucchini, finely chopped bell peppers, mushrooms or anything else you’d customarily put in a stir fry would work just as well! I also threw in a spoonful of turmeric to give it the classic yellow color.
Hoisin-mustard tofu was the suggested accompaniment for the rice. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, mostly due to the fantastic picture in the middle of the book, so I had no problem whipping that up as well. The sauce is pretty basic with an option for less spicy or more spicy depending on how many hot pepper flakes you want to throw in. Being the lover of hot food I am, I went with the spicier version. It was the perfect complement to the rice, but I would also put it in tortilla wraps, sandwiches or, as the cookbook suggests, lettuce wraps. Or it’s be great on top of salad! It’s one of those recipes that would be nice to make on weekends to have around for quick lunches during the week.
Since there was nothing overtly green in either the rice or the tofu recipe, I cooked some kale to round out the meal. This in and of itself wasn’t a bad thing, but I somehow got the idea in my head to serve everything on a bed of kale. Not exactly what I was going for. On the side, kale would have been fine; but it was too basic a flavor to try and mix in with everything else. If I were to serve this with greens again, I would go with raw Asian greens of some kind. I can picture the fried rice served cold on a bed of bok choy or an Asian salad mix. Micro greens would probably work too…I’ve had a soft spot for pea shoots lately.
The Unfried Rice was a lot lighter than regular fried rice, but just as delicious! I’ll be making it again in the future whenever I’m craving that takeout-at-home experience…