Sometimes I get anxious about food – thoughts about dinner as I’m walking home from work can completely hijack my mind and I’m forced to confront the fact there’s not much I can do for dinner that night.
Although dinner is my favorite meal, it can be a lot of pressure to cook most nights. More than once a week, I want to throw my blanket over my head to surrender and order dinner from my warm and cozy laptop whilst in bed. Don’t lie – you know you do this, too.
But lately, I’ve been inspired by a childhood favorite and a dish most would know – fried rice. Aside from the obvious takeout option we are all familiar with, my mom would occasionally make this at home as well just because she can and because she is a rock star.
Since I like to break tradition from time to time, I made my own version with chicken, bell peppers, and onions; it is usually made with roasted pork, peas, and eggs. But here’s a secret about fried rice: you can really make it with anything you’d fancy and it’d still be absolutely delicious.
So the only rule my mom has for fried rice is this – do not use freshly cooked rice. Fresh rice is too fluffy and doesn’t separate as well as cooled or leftover rice. Whatever you have lying around in your pantry will do just fine to make up the other components of this dish, although finishing off with an egg wouldn’t hurt. But for now, I’ve got you covered with some sesame chicken, peppers, and avocado.
Dinner anxiety be gone!
Chicken Fried Rice
1½ cup diced chicken breast
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup uncooked rice (2½ cups if cooked)
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ onion, diced
5-6 shiitake mushrooms (1 cup), chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
Salt and ground pepper
Marinate and mix the chicken with sesame oil, soy sauce, and ground pepper. Cover and refrigerate the chicken – if you have time, you can do this a few hours before cooking so the flavors develop better.
Follow the cooking instructions for the rice – once cooked, fluff and leave uncovered and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Leftover rice works great, too.
In a large deep pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Throw in chopped onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper. Sauté and stir onions and peppers until soft and slightly brown, about 6-7 minutes.
Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Move the vegetables away from the center of the pan to create room and add the chicken into the center. After a minute, flip the chicken pieces and stir. Cook and continue stirring the chicken with the vegetables for another 6 or 7 minutes.
Add cooled rice to the pan and stir until everything is mixed together and has warmed back up. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Crack an egg into the pan and lower to medium heat; stir constantly so the egg cooks and mixes with the rice, about 1-2 minutes. Turn heat off, throw in chopped scallions and give one final stir.
Serve immediately and place some avocado slices on top. Drizzle sriracha on top for extra flash.