Improvisation – Egg Fried Brown Rice

Weeknights tend to be those rushed nights when I have a scant few minutes after finishing work to come up with something for dinner. These are the nights when recipes memorized and hours spent poring over cookbooks fail me, and I fall back on technique to come up with something good to eat. Or, I call for pizza. But that’s so 2007.

At the moment, we’re all a bit under the weather to varying degrees – Jason has the worst of it with a nasty cold/flu, though he seems to be through the worst already. He and Christine opted for some quick chicken soup, leaving me to decide what to do for myself. I have some other ideas – those are for a future post – but tonight it was already to do anything requiring time, so I needed an ultra-fast alternative.

I came home from the grocery store with Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice (cooking time: 10-12 mins) that I’ve wanted to try in a few things. That, coupled with some leftover veggies, became a fairly quick egg fried rice. Once I do it a few more times, the total prep/cooking time should be about 15 minutes, and it can scale to feed any number easily.

Oh, and I’m working on the text-only nature of these posts. I need to get my wife the photographer more involved, or try and work a camera myself.

Egg Fried Brown Rice (serves 1)

  • 1/2 C brown instant rice
  • 1/4 C diced carrot
  • 1/4 C diced celery
  • 1/2 C diced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • soy sauce to taste

Prepare the rice according to the maker’s instructions. (Mine cooked for 10-12 minutes on the stovetop.)

Meanwhile, dice the carrot, celery, and onion. Heat a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until just smoking. Add onions, stirring constantly, until lightly colored but not brown. Add remaining vegetables and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the skillet and combine, stirring constantly. Beat the egg and pour over, stirring quickly to get only small curds. Season with soy sauce to taste and serve.

…. at least, I’d like to tell you that’s how it went. Here’s how it really went down:

Cook the rice per Uncle Ben’s instructions. Cut up the vegetables, but don’t start them so early that they finish before the rice. Put a skillet on the heat and conveniently forget about it – pre-heating is good here, anyway. Consider how a wok would look much cooler for this, and then I could make wok jokes like how I’m a Wok-it Man, and I think it’s gonna be a long long time ’til touchdown brings me ’round again to find I’m not the man they think I am at home, oh no, no, no.

Let the dog, who is running in circles in the bedroom, out into the back yard.

Remember the ginger root sitting in the pantry. Peel and grate some ginger to add on a microplane. Look at the pulp in the bowl, and wonder idly what all the fuss is about. Decide to leave out the ginger – there’s enough left to chance tonight anyway.

Heat the oil, and throw in the onions. Feel a touch of pride at getting a nice small dice on the onions. Sigh a little sigh that, for a Chinese dish, I started with mirepoix (2 part onion, 1 part carrot, 1 part celery), the most basic of French foundations. Promise to read up on real Asian cuisine next time. Throw in the celery and carrots.

Open the back door to let the dog in. Dog looks at me, wondering why I’m standing by the back door. Leave the dog outside.

Check the rice – nowhere near done cooking, despite having had 10 minutes like that lying bastard Uncle Ben said. Stir the vegetables and hope that they don’t overcook. Idly wonder how long the unopened bottle of soy sauce has been in the pantry – it only talks about refrigerating after opening – and decide that either it’s good or I’m likely about to get sick anyway. Give the rice another 5 minutes.

Open the back door to let the dog in. Dog still thoroughly confused as to why I’m interrupting such an important game of sniff-the-grass. Leave the dog outside.

Check the rice. Still hasn’t absorbed the liquid. Taste the rice. Decide that the rice has absorbed more than enough liquid, and that the problem isn’t cooking time but in the liquid the box said to use. Uncle Ben wasn’t lying, he just wasn’t ever taught to count past one, the rat bastard.

The veggies can’t wait. Drain the rice and add to the skillet, stirring. This meal might be able to be salvaged. Crack the egg and beat with a fork. Pour the egg over the rice and stir furiously. Watch in horror as the egg doesn’t curdle but instead binds to the rice, forming a bizarre rice-looking-omelette thing. Stir and hope it breaks down, which it kind of does. Kind of.

Season with soy sauce. Serve in a bowl. Taste. Add a bit more salt, and wonder why Uncle Ben didn’t feel he needed any salt in his rice. Sit down to eat, thankful that there are no more cameras around, and debate which version of the story to blog about.

Let the dog back in. Dog bounds happily through the back door.