Wednesday, October 17 Unfried Rice (Appetite for Reduction) and Spring Rolls Rating: 4

In keeping with our attempt to eat healthier, I made fried rice for dinner. OK, it’s only a little bit fried – you only use about a teaspoon of oil for it. AFR is far and away one of my favorite cookbooks, and not just because the recipes are healthy – they’re also really effing good and I’d make them even if I weren’t looking for low fat, low calorie meals. Seriously, if you don’t have a copy – get one. I had a moment of panic last night when I realized right before bed that I hadn’t pre-cooked the rice I would need. It’s not necessary that it be cooked the day before, it’s just my preference because it saves time. The recipe gives instructions for cooling the rice fairly quickly in the freezer so you can do it either way. It is imperative that the rice be cold when it goes in the pan, though or you’ll get a sticky, gooey mess. (which is how I used to make fried rice years ago before learning the whole cook the day before thing) Anyway, since I’d forgotten to do the rice on Tuesday night, I made sure to put it on to cook while I got ready for work in the morning and then I just dumped it in a container & stuck it in the fridge. Voila! Cold rice! The recipe is pretty paired down, and gives suggestions for veggies to add to bulk it up. We like our rice loaded up, so I added a bunch of stuff. I steamed some broccoli and carrots and set them aside. (Simple steaming method to minimize the number of dishes: put some water in the wok or pan, add the veggies and cover it for a few minutes. Easypeasy.) Normally, we use marinated tofu, but this time I went with seitan. I had two seitan cutlets in the freezer so I thawed them out, cubed them, and let them marinate for about an hour in a quick mix of tamari, mirin, mined ginger, pressed garlic and a splash of rice vinegar. After the broccoli and carrots were steamed, I put a little coconut oil in the wok and cooked the seitan until it was kinda crispy on most sides. (I use an old school one so I have to add oil to prevent sticking, but my mom had one coated with some kind of high-tech diamond surface that she’s in love with and it doesn’t need oil.) I mixed the extras (carrots, broccoli & seitan) in with the shallots, garlic & ginger the recipe calls for, then added the rice and some frozen peas I’d thawed out. (I said we like a lot of stuff in our rice, didn’t I?) It was really tasty and I like using seitan in place of tofu from time to time, just to keep it interesting (I could have let the seitan get crispier though). I really like the fact that this dish isn’t a big greasy mess like most fried rice is and it’s just as flavorful. As for the spring rolls, we like Ling Ling brand (clearly marked as vegan so yay!) and I just bake them in the toaster oven while everything else cooks. Just make sure you have some hot mustard for dipping!


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