Vegetable fried rice is one of those dishes that’s very simple to make and can be personalized in so many ways. But there are some dishes you simply can’t recreate (as you remember from your childhood) and to be quite honest I don’t even try, so in this recipe I’ll show you ‘my’ take on a wonderful rice dish. Growing up one of my favorite places to buy ‘chinee’ food was a spot on Mucarapo Street just past the old “Strand” cinema on the right side or the truck which sold food on the Promenade San Fernando (by the train engine). It still amazes me how the Chinese food in Trinidad and Tobago is so unique with it’s Caribbean taste and flavors. I’m still to come up with a recipe for the fried chicken you’d normally get with a combo, but rest assured I’m busy at work on it.
Our mom makes a deadly chicken and/or shrimp fried rice, but my sister is still the best when it comes to a tasty shrimp fried rice… something we look forward to when there’s a family gathering. In this recipe we’ll avoid meats in general, but with the layers of flavor we’ll build.. you’ll be amazed at how scrumptious this will be.
4 cups cooked rice (see note below)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large onion diced
3/4 teaspoon salt (see note below)
1/2 cup diced celery
Note: I used long grain brown rice as I much prefer this rice and it’s supposed to be a healthy rice to consume. I cooked it without salt and took it off the stove about 5 minutes before it was fully cooked. Additionally I allowed it to cool overnight in the fridge. These two things are the tricks to having a grainy fried rice, which will not clump or go soggy when you put the recipe together. You’ll notice that I used 3/4 teaspoon salt in the rice… since your tolerance for salt will be different than mine, do taste near the end of cooking and adjust accordingly.
Important: If you’re making this fried rice gluten free, do read the labels of the soy sauce and sesame oil to ensure they meet your dietary needs.
The first thing we need to do is to chop and cube all the vegetables we’ll be using in the vegetable fried rice. Try to keep the pieces uniform in size to allow for even cooking and try not to be too big as we need everything to cook fast.
Heat the vegetable oil on a med/high heat is a wide pan (I used my wok) then add the crushed garlic and ginger and give it a good stir. We’re trying to release all those wonderful flavors to use as abase for this vegetarian fried rice. That should cook for a minute or two, then add the diced carrots as this would be the one vegetable which will take long to cook. Give it a good stir and cook for a couple minutes.
Now add the diced onion, green pepper and celery. Allow that to cook for a couple minutes, then add the black pepper, soy sauce, salt and sesame oil. Everything will go dark, but have no fear.. once we add the cooked rice it will balance off.
It’s time to quickly add the frozen peas, give it a stir and start adding the rice. Remember to have chilled your rice in the fridge to achieve a grainy consistency when it’s all done. I absolutely hate fried rice which clumps together.
Keep stirring to make sure all the rice grains get coated evenly with the dark base we made. If you find that the colour is not dark enough for you, you can always add some more soy sauce at this point. I say at this point as we’ve not added the salt yet. Remember that the soy sauce is salty so if you add more.. adjust the amount of salt you add. Now is the time to add the salt, taste and adjust accordingly. All you’re doing here is basically heating through the rice, so within 4-5 minutes it should be done.
Turn off the stove, add the chopped scallions and give it a good final stir. Below you’ll find a video I did to use as an additional guide in making this vegetable fried rice.
There’s enough vegetable fried rice here for about 6-8 people and it goes well with the Shrimp Stir Fry recipe I put together a while back or just as good on it’s own.