Bacon - the key to a great fried rice dish

Fried rice. (Craig Glover, QMI Agency)

Fried rice. (Craig Glover, QMI Agency)

Jill Wilcox, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

Fried rice might seem like a mundane side dish at your favourite Chinese restaurant. But this unsung hero is a great way to be innovative in the kitchen, especially with leftovers.

There are two key ingredients in making successful fried rice. Chinese BBQ pork, if you can get it, or a good quality smoked bacon and eggs.

Whenever I cook a Chinese meal for my family, I make a point of cooking lots of extra rice. That's so I can make fried rice the next day for lunch "¦ and in some cases breakfast (remember the bacon and eggs?)

While the typical fried rice is made with white rice, this weeks recipe utilizes brown rice, which is a healthier option.

The key to success in making a good fried rice is to start with cold rice. My foundation is always chopped bacon, or lean BBQ pork.

From there it's green onions, an assortment of vegetables and the rice. The finishing touch is to make a well in the middle of your pan, drop in the eggs, scramble them slightly, and let them cook, while you gradually integrate it into the rice.

A few good turns of the peppermill and you have a very satisfying dish that started with a bowl of leftover rice.

Fried Rice

Ingredients:

3 strips of thick-cut bacon, diced

2 tbsp. (25 ml) vegetable oil

4 green onions, sliced

1 c. (250 ml) finely diced carrots

3/4 c. (175 ml) finely diced red pepper

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) minced fresh ginger

1 clove garlic minced

4 cups (1L) of cold cooked brown rice

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) soy sauce

2 Tbsp. (25 ml) water

1 cup (250 ml) of frozen edamame or green peas. thawed

2 eggs beaten

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Directions:

In a wok, or a large non-stick frying pan, cook the bacon in the oil over medium-high heat until starting to turn golden.

Add the green onions, carrots and stir fry for about two minutes. Add the red pepper, ginger and garlic.

Add the cold rice and stir fry until the rice is evenly coated with the mixture. Continue to stir fry for two minutes. Add the soy sauce and water.

Make a well in the middle of the pan and add the eggs. Let the egg cook for about 45 seconds. Give it another stir and let cook another 30 seconds. Start to incorporate the egg into the stir fry.

Add the thawed edamame or peas and continue to stir fry the entire mixture until the peas are warmed through.

Add the pepper. Season with additional soy sauce if necessary and serve. Serves four to six.

Other ingredients:

Fried rice is a great dish to utilize leftovers. Add chopped cooked meat or seafood to the dish in the last stage of cooking. (ie, cooked chicken, ham or shrimp)

You can add a variety of vegetables to this dish such as broccoli, cauliflower etc. Shiitake mushrooms are also an excellent addition.


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