I’m passionate about cooking, but since having three children and starting to home-educate them, I realised that I don’t have the time to make elaborate meals at home. While we were transitioning from public school to homeschooling, I thought about meal preparation often. I find I function best with a meal plan, and so I was wondering how to fit in all the cooking and baking I did when the kids were at school.
I took some time to think it over and wrote down a list of easy-to-make meals that could be quickly whipped up for lunches and dinners. I’m talking “I just have half an hour to chop, boil, stir and put together” kind of meals. In reality, it might take longer than half an hour, but the duration feels short to me – maybe because I used to cook more involved meals and now I’m trying to simplify.
One of those meals is the humble stir-fried rice, which we have at least once a week if not more. When I lived with my parents, I watched my father make countless stir-fry dishes…stir-fry vegetables, stir fry chicken and vegetables, stir-fry beef and broccoli and even stir-fry tofu. But his most famous dish was his stir-fry rice and stir-fry noodles. They tasted like the real thing! He worked for many years as a hotelier, and during this time, he learnt how to cook Chinese food straight from the Chinese chefs who worked there. Often we had people in our house who came to ask him and see how a proper stir-fried rice was made…no kidding!
The following is my recipe. It’s my “I’m-exhausted-the kids-are-cranky-we-need-some-dinner-in-the-next-half-hour-or-it’s-a-takeaway-tonight” stir-fried rice recipe. So in other words, it is not my father’s recipe! But it is tasty and it’s ready within half an hour to feed my family. If you notice, I haven’t given specific measurements because who has the time to do that?!
Assorted vegetables: wilted is good, I often find a cabbage rolling around in the fridge somewhere, some limp carrots that can be shredded, frozen peas, spring onions, 1 onion, a chopped knob of ginger and 2 cloves of chopped garlic (my husband loves fresh ginger in this recipe, he says the ginger really makes it.)
Cooking oil: don’t skimp on this as good stir-fried rice is not nice when it is soggy. It needs to be slightly crispy. I have used both vegetable oil and coconut oil.
Eggs: this is optional, but it adds more protein if you are looking for that.
Meat: any kind will do, preferably something that can be defrosted in two minutes! Sausages, beef, chicken, salmon, prawn, bacon or just eggs will do!
Seasonings: salt, pepper, oyster sauce (gives a sweeter flavour), soya sauce, sesame oil.
Rice: this is important. Ideally, your rice should be cooked in advance and kept in the fridge. Leftover rice works great because it is old and cold (and therefore works like gold(!) in your recipe). I have seen my father put cooked rice (at room temperature) into the fridge, so that he would have it ready to make the dish just before our guests arrive!
Instructions for my sausage fried rice:
- Fry the sausages in a bit of oil. Take out of the pan and cut into pieces. (If you are using eggs, the first thing to do is fry them. Crack them into a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper and whisk. Fry that in your pan/wok and then set the cooked eggs aside.)
- Meanwhile, chop an onion and finely chop the ginger and garlic. Put all this into your pan and let it sizzle. Add more oil if it’s sticking to the pan.
- Shred the carrots and add that (and any other vegetables) into the pan. I added chopped spring onions and peas. Once slightly cooked, add the chopped up sausages (and eggs from Step 1).
- Add your seasonings (I usually eyeball it, start small and taste/adjust) and make it your own! Next, add the rice and add more seasoning if required.
- Serve immediately!