I've been on a fried rice for breakfast kick, and I've been experimenting with how much vegetable matter one can add while still calling it fried rice. The answer: lots.
Two factors make this breakfast almost as easy as toast. The first is that I always have a big pot of rice around for the dog, whose food we cook (ground turkey, brown rice, sweet potatoes) due to his sensitive stomach. The second is the menagerie of wacky root vegetables constantly streaming in from my winter CSA.
I pour enough oil into a pan to barely create a film across its surface. I add the chopped up veggies, which vary, but often include carrot and various radishes: daikon, black, watermelon, and "mystery." Sometimes I'll add some sliced cabbage, but the point is versatility, and every vegetable I've tried thus far (celery, spinach, turnip, leeks) has worked.
When the veggies are just beginning to soften up -- I like them crunchy and sometimes don't even bother cooking them -- I add the rice and a splash of water to rehydrate it. Then I clear everything to the sides of the pan, add another wee bit of oil, turn up the heat and crack in an egg. Sometimes I quickly scramble it, sometimes I let it fry and then mix it in. Sometimes I don't use an egg. Again, versatility is the key ingredient.
Then I plop in a scoop of chili paste and a splash of soy sauce and mix it all up. I was using sesame oil too, until I ran out, and then I found that I didn't miss it.
Fried rice can be divine, especially if you use Mark Bittman/Jean-George's crispy ginger and garlic trick and get all fancy by packing it into a ramekin before plating it. But I think of this version as morning workhorse fried rice. It's quick, it's easy, and it helps me chip away at the root veggie stash.
Another benefit is less easy to describe, but I'll try. And that is the feeling I get from eating rice, chili paste and almost-raw root veggies first thing in the morning. If toast makes me feel like I'm dangling my feet off of a happy cloud, this makes me feel like I'm planted up to the shins in warm rich dirt. It's not a bad way to feel when kicking off the day.
Recipe: Root Veggie Laden Fried Rice
about 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
about 3/4 cup finely chopped root veggies, such as carrots, radishes and turnips
1/2 tbsp of chili paste
a dash of soy sauce
olive, canola or peanut oil, about 1 tbsp
1. Briefly saute the veggies on medium heat in a little of the oil, about three minutes.
2. Add the rice, add a splash of water, cover and cook for a few more minutes until the rice is moist and warm.
3. Clear a space in the center of the pan. Add a little more oil into the center of the pan, set heat to high, and crack in the egg. Once the white is cooked through, turn off the heat, add the chili paste and soy sauce and mix it all up.
4. If you want to get fancy, pack it into a ramekin or other mold and stamp it out onto your plate.
5. Have a grounded day.