Leftovers are boring, blah and take up too much refrigerator space, right? I don’t think so. I often make extras just for the sake of having leftovers for other dishes. Rice is one of those leftovers I look forward to morphing into a whole new dish. Leftover rice is a great and frugal filler, delicious with gravy, yummy under chili and perfect in my very favorite leftover rice dish: fried rice. While there are versions of fried rice made with just-cooked rice, I find that I get the best results from rice that has been cooked and left to chill overnight. This recipe is the most basic, with optionals and notes added on ways to make it even more delicious.
4 cups cold cooked rice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken (optional)
2 cups cooked veggies (optional)
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola
Heat a wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat. When oil starts to “shimmer”, turn the heat to medium-high. If using garlic and/or green onions add to oil now and stir. Add chicken and vegetables if using and mix well. Quickly add rice and continue to stir until rice is separated and coated with oil or mixed evenly with chicken and veggies. Sprinkle soy sauce over rice and stir until distributed well throughout rice.
Almost any veggie can be used — we like frozen green peas or snow peas and julienned carrots. Beef, pork or shrimp are all good protein ideas. Make sure they are bite sized pieces and are cooked well before adding. Garlic is optional because it is not the norm for fried rice. I find it lends a delicious depth to the finished dish. Freshly grated ginger and a bit of sesame oil added with the neutral oil are nice additions.* .