Tuesday, August 23, 2016

{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables

{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com
Jasmine rice is fried in a hot skillet along with soy sauce and sesame oil, then mixed with peas and corn, plenty of ham, tender eggs, and a generous handful of mushrooms to make this Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables. When I tell you that this recipe is "Better Than Take-Out," I'm not exaggerating. This wound up being our favorite meal all week.

As this rice was cooking, every single one of my boys wandered into the kitchen and asked what smelled so good for dinner. I let each of them "taste test" for me and they all rated it two thumbs up. My family polished this rice off at dinner without hesitation.

I've been making rice skillets and my own versions of fried rice for as long as I can remember. When I stumbled onto my friend Julie's method of cooking the eggs first, basically in a flat pancake, and then dicing that up, I couldn't resist trying it right away. Another thing that sets this method apart is the longer cooking time (over 5 minutes) with just the rice in the skillet with the sauce. It lets the flavor permeate each grain of rice and it crisps up a bit as well.

And when I say "longer cooking time," don't let that scare you away. Start to finish this entire recipe is still going to be done in 15-20 minutes. The extra 5 minutes spent with just the rice in the skillet makes all the difference!

This is hands-down the best fried rice I've ever made and it's better than any fried rice I've had in a restaurant. It is top notch, not to be missed, better than take-out fried rice, and I will be making fried rice this way every time in the future.

The most important thing to follow in this recipe is making sure that the rice is COLD COLD COLD. I typically double the amount of rice we need anytime I'm cooking rice. That way I always have plenty of leftover cold rice to use a few days later.

COOK'S NOTE: The rice for this recipe needs to be completely chilled, so that it can be easily broken apart into individual grains without any clumping or sticking. I suggest making the rice a day or two (even as much as 4-5 days) before you want to use it. The key to great fried rice is using rice that is as dry as possible, so that your fried rice won't be mushy or soft.

Technically, the mushrooms are optional here, but we loved the extra flavor and meatiness that they add to this rice. Feel free to skip them, if mushrooms aren't your thing.

{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables
recipe adapted from The Little Kitchen
Yield: 5-6 servings
(printable recipe)

4 cups COLD cooked Jasmine rice
3 tablespoons bacon grease, or the oil of your choice
3 eggs beaten
optional: 10 small button mushrooms, halved and sliced thin, about 1 cup
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups diced cooked ham, approximately 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
optional: kosher salt, only as needed

Warm a tablespoon of bacon grease, or oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the oil to coat the surface of the pan. Pour the eggs into the pan and tilt as needed to spread across the skillet. Let the eggs cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Cook one more minute. Slide the egg out of the skillet onto a cutting board and allow it to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch wide strips and then and cut into small pieces.

Add a tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Spread them across the skillet and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Stir and cook until slightly softened, about 2 more minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the chopped eggs.

Add the remaining tablespoon of grease, or oil, to the skillet and increase heat to medium high. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well, to distribute the sauce throughout the rice. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice is heated through.

Add the ham, corn, and peas. Stir and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until everything is hot. Add the eggs, mushrooms, and green onions to the skillet. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir gently to mix. Push the rice out of the center of the skillet and add the butter. Allow it to melt and stir to distribute the melted butter throughout the rice. Taste the rice and add salt, only if needed. Enjoy!

{Better Than Take-Out} Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Here are some more fried rice recipes you might like:
Salmon Fried Rice by Simply Recipes
Thai Fried Rice with Broccoli and Mushrooms by Oh My Veggies
Spinach and Pea Fried Rice by Simply Ella
Vegetable Sriracha Fried Rice by Bake Your Day
Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice by Just a Taste

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