Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fried Rice With Fresh Tomato Coulis

Fried rice does not have a specific recipe nor does it need one; it is a great way of using up cold rice that might otherwise end up chucked into the compost bin. Amma made it Indian style - transforming plain leftovers into delicious dinners with just a few ingredients. Use leftover cold rice and whatever bits and pieces of veggies you might have on hand - that's it, really quite simple!

The basic ingredients needed to make good fried rice are: a large seasoned wok (overcrowding will not do - will result in messy as well as mushy results), leftover cold rice, a selection of vegetables, and some oil. The recipe below gives an idea of the types of suitable veggies for fried rice; use some, all, or others according to your taste. Your favorite cooked beans and/or tofu are welcome additions to boost the protein content. I often make browned tofu seasoned with a bit of garlic and soy sauce separately and either serve it alongside the fried rice or add to it.

I generally try to use a combination of veggies to please the eye as well as the palate - use what your family would like. Children especially enjoy choosing and chopping the veggies. As you probably know, children tend to eat what they prepare - a great device to help them enjoy their 5 servings of veggies a day! And it provides them with training for life-long healthy eating - as Amma would say, "if they don't learn by 5 they aren't going to at 50".

We particularly like warm fried rice with the cool, juicy, fresh tomato coulis (pronounced coo-lee) - a delicious combination! I got the idea of serving coulis because Amma always served Pulav/Indian fried rice with chopped salad and Keeshu wanted chopped tomatoes on his portion of fried rice. The coulis can be prepared with cherry tomatoes also.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 cup Rice, preferably Brown (about 3 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Peanut Oil
8 oz. fresh Mushrooms
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, finely grated
1 small Red Onion/Leek
1 small head Broccoli/Cauliflower
1 small Zucchini
1 Red Bell Pepper (capsicum)
1 Carrot
1 cup Sprouts or Corn kernels/Peas, fresh/frozen
2 cups Cabbage, shredded
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
A couple of pinches Sea Salt
Soy sauce to taste
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
Chili-Tomato Sauce to serve
Tomato Coulis to serve: 4 ripe Tomatoes, 1/2 lime, 4 Tbsp Fresh chopped Cilantro, 1 Tbsp Chili-Tomato Sauce or to taste

Method:

Cook the rice according to manufacturer's directions and leave to cool several hours or overnight.

Prepare the veggies: Wash and drain all the veggies. Slice the mushrooms and leeks; separate the broccoli/cauliflower florets into small pieces and slice the peeled broccoli stems into small bite-sized pieces. Grate or shred the carrots coarsely. Dice all the other veggies into similar size pieces.

Prepare the coulis : cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and gently squeeze to remove seeds and excess moisture from the tomatoes, dice them and place in a bowl. Just before serving add the lime juice, cilantro and the chili-tomato sauce to taste. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and serve.

Heat the wok until very hot.

Pour the oil and carefully swirl to coat the wok; the hot oil covers the surface of the wok and this step insures that the wok will not get sticky during the cooking process.

Add the mushrooms and cook with a pinch of salt until their juices evaporate and they are slightly browned.

Stir in onions/leeks, garlic and broccoli/cauliflower and stir-cook until they are softened.

Mix in the bell pepper and the zucchini and stir-cook until hot.

Add sprouts/corn/peas and stir cook until softened and warmed through.

Now stir in the cabbage and grated carrots and cook stirring until the cabbage wilts slightly.

Stir in the rice (break up any lumps with wet hand - moistened with cold water) and cook stirring until hot.

Sprinkle soy sauce, the sesame oil, and the green onions; mix well.

Serve hot in shallow bowls with a spoonful or two of the tomato coulis and a dollop of the chili-tomato sauce if desired.

Children might prefer to enjoy their portions of fried rice with a plain or lightly seasoned tomato coulis. Enjoy!

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