This recipe comes from my book, EVERYDAY DORIE. Now, during these days of Coronavirus Isolation, I find myself cooking this dish often, but never the same way twice – I make it, as I always have, with whatever is at hand and with whatever leftovers need using. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have – xoDorie
For all the years that I’ve been frying rice, I’d never writ-ten a recipe for the dish — it was always something I’d make up as I went along. And it was never the same dish twice, because it always depended on what was in the fridge. I love cabbage in fried rice, but if I didn’t have it, I’d use spinach or odd salad greens. Carrots are a favorite, but sometimes celery stood in for them. At times there were scallions, peppers and mushrooms, and on good days, bok choy. On the best days, there were shreds of cooked chicken, cubes of leftover pork, diced cooked shrimp or squares of tofu. The fun of corralling all of this into a recipe was coming up with a dish I really liked that I could replicate . . . or not: Once a fridge-raider, always a fridge-raider.
As for the flavoring sauce — if you don’t have ponzu, a mix of citrus and soy, use regular soy sauce and, if you’d like, splash the rice with some lemon juice. If you don’t have gochujang, use Sriracha or another hot sauce (or skip it). The only thing you don’t want to skip is the ginger. Ginger is the liven-upper ingredient you count on here to make the dish taste fresh, bright and not at all like the toss-up of leftovers it really is.
GINGER FRIED RICE
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
3 tablespoons ponzu sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon gochujang
1 teaspoon honey
1⁄2 large bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-wide strips, or 4 to 6 baby bok choy, halved or quartered lengthwise
1⁄2 Napa (or other) cabbage, trimmed and sliced into 1⁄2-inch-wide strips
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped, rinsed and patted dry
1 to 11⁄2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (to taste)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, germ removed and finely chopped (to taste)
2 to 3 tablespoons peanut, grapeseed or canola oil (you need an oil with a high smoke point)
Fine sea salt
About 3 cups (about 510 grams) cold cooked rice; break up any clumps
Chopped or diced cooked chicken, pork, shrimp or (uncooked) firm tofu, for add-ins (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
You’ll need to have leftover rice—cooked rice is best if it’s had a little time in the refrigerator, so that it’s dry. You can use any kind of rice you’ve got, white or brown, long- or short-grained.
Mix the ponzu or soy, gochujang and honey together. Do the same with the vegetables, ginger and garlic.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or a large skil- let, preferably one with high sides, over high heat. When the oil is hot, add half of the vegetables and toss until some of the vegetables are charred, about 3 minutes (go by color, not time). This high-heat, high-color step is what gives the dish full flavor. Season with salt, add the rice and keep tossing, turning and stirring. If the rice sticks to the pan — and it probably will — add more oil as needed and/or add water, tiny splashes at a time. When the rice is hot all the way through, stir in the rest of the vegetables and pour over the ponzu mixture. If you’ve got add-ins, now’s the time to stir them in. Cook to get everything really hot, then taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.
S T O R I N G : Fried rice is best the instant it’s made, but it takes well to reheating. You can sprinkle water over it, cover it and reheat it in a microwave, but the best method is to refry it briefly in a little oil over high heat. Cooled and covered, leftovers will keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator.