If you haven’t figured it by now, I love one pot meals – this idea that you can throw everything in one pan, and it comes out tasting amazing. Why one pot meals, you may ask. Well, clean-up is easy (you have one pot to deal with), cooking time is short, and serving the food is a breeze (just one dishing spoon).
One of my favourite one pot meals is fried rice. It’s super-quick (if you’re a kitchen ninja, it will take you less than 30 minutes to prepare), easy to cook and tasty.
Here in Zim, no debate, we love our braais. We have them on weekends at home, at bars, at parties, and on any outing were at least three people come together. I’m guessing there’s a lot of leftover meat going around.
Whenever I have leftover grilled meat in my fridge and rice in my pantry, one thought jumps into my head – fried rice (Yeah, my mind works that way). But seriously, I usually don’t like reheating the meat in the oven because it tends to dry out. Mixing it in with the veggies and rice keeps it moist.
How to make the fried rice
Tip: This recipe works best when you have precooked rice. Leftover rice from the previous meal works perfectly. You could precook your rice the previous night, or in the morning. If you want to use freshly cooked rice, I would recommend basmati or brown rice.
Basmati cooks faster, is flavourful and it doesn’t stick. It is simply superb, especially when cooked in small quantities. But it’s really expensive, costing up to twice as much as regular rice. Brown rice is a little more expensive than regular white rice, but it’s packed with more nutrition, flavour and fibre. As a result, it’s more filling. I used brown rice in this recipe.
If you’re going to use freshly cooked rice, begin by placing your rice on the stove. The recipe assumes that your rice is already cooked.
- One onion.
- One green bell pepper.
- Two garlic cloves.
- Salt/ black pepper.
- Mixed dried herbs.
- Crushed chilli flakes (optional – depends on whether the grilled meat is spicy or not).
- An assortment of veggies to your liking (carrot, broccoli, green beans, peas, cauliflower, sugar snap peas).
- Vegetable oil.
- Precooked rice.
- Leftover grilled meat (for this recipe, I used pork-chop and beef sausage).
Tip: For my veggies, I use a handful of each. A handful of sugar-snap peas, enough broccoli to fit in my palm, and one carrot. This is for two portions. You can add more or less as you see fit.
- Pour about three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan or wide-rimmed pot. Your pan must be large enough to accommodate two potions of the rice, your meat and the veggies.
- Cut your onion/ green bell pepper in half, thinly slice and throw in the pan. Grate the garlic into the pan.
- Sprinkle in a little of the dried herbs/ crushed chillies and place the pan on a stove plate at medium high heat.
- Thinly slice your other vegetables (carrot, broccoli, cauliflower etc). Chop the green beans into about 1cm pieces. The peas and sugar snap peas are thrown in the pan as they are.
- Make sure to check on your pan. You want the onions to sweat, not to brown.
- Throw the rest of your vegetables in the pan. Immediately after, sprinkle the black pepper/ salt to taste. The salt will draw the water out of the vegetables, allowing them to cook in their own juices. Reduce the temperature (go down 1 or 2 levels on the stove dial) and close the pan to prevent too much evaporation.
- Begin chopping your grilled meat into small pieces (the kinds that can fit in your mouth). When you’re done, throw the meat into the pan. Return lid to allow the meat to heat up and absorb the juices from the veggies.
- Fluff the rice with a fork to loosen the grains. Add about 1 – 2 cups of the cooked rice and mix everything together. When everything is sufficiently mixed, and the rice reheated, switch off the stove. Your meal is ready.