Thursday, March 12, 2009

Faux Fried Rice

Healthy 'Fried Rice', originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recently I put the household on a strict budget, which includes only eating out twice during a pay period. This means we're eating in 12 out of the 14 days. Therefore, I've expanded my grocery list and my recipe options. This has forced me (and I don't say that as a bad thing) to really break out of the box, keep dinners changing and balanced. I love eating dinners from different regions, cultures, and roots every evening. My dinner plate must be free of monotony.

I've never made 'real' fried rice, nor do I ever order when I'm dining out. Maybe I'm just not attracted to a greasy bowl of rice sprinkled with what appears to be frozen peas and corn with bits of chicken strewn throughout. It's just not my bag. If I'm going to consume a vat of calories when I'm having Chinese or Thai I definitely go for some noodle rich dish full of spices. So, greasy rice, not so much. However, I love brown rice. Once a week I top a scoop of short grain brown rice with stir fried veggies. So to break out of my box, I sought out a healthy recipe where rice was the star. Cooking light led me to a surprisingly easy recipe which turned out to be insanely delicious. It might not be traditional, it's low in fat and calories, I don't use meat or egg in it, but you could if you wanted to. It's simple, delectable and so fresh. The crunchy cool cucumber, and acidic tomato balance well with the hot, salty and spicy rice. It's just so well balanced! It's become a go to recipe for sure.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/3 cup minced shallots (about 3)
1 to 2 tablespoons minced serrano chile
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (chile paste with garlic)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
2 cups diced cooked shrimp (about 12 ounces)
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced tomato

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and chile to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until the shallots are lightly browned. Add chile paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, and garlic to the pan; cook for 1 minute or until the sauce becomes fragrant. Add diced chicken, shrimp, and rice to the pan, stirring to coat with sauce. Cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Place about 1 1/2 cups rice on each of 4 plates, and sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cucumber and 2 tablespoons tomato.