Weeknight Shorts: Rice is Nice

I embrace leftovers. In fact, I've dubbed them "planned-overs" because I often start assembling a meal with the intention of having leftovers around when I'm done. This is particularly true when it comes to making rice. I love making sure I have extra rice on hand because it means I have only a few steps left before I have a bowl of fried rice before me:

Now, longtime followers of this site know that fried rice is one of my favorite make-it-up dishes and I always encourage readers to wander far and wide when using one of my fried rice recipes. This one's no different. My version doesn't include egg (this time), but yours could. My version boasts a sweet-spicy-salty sauce (this time), but you could opt for a different one. My version is chock full of great veggies (this time), but your version could involve different veggies or none or more. It's really up to you.

Now, for me, one of the nicest things about fried rice is that it's basically a meal in a bowl, so while I might open a beer or brew some tea to have alongside it, I'm unlikely to include sides. That said, it's a beautiful side dish for your favorite Asian dishes and probably something you'll want to include in any Asian themed buffet or party spread. It can even hold its own in a chaffing dish if you want to keep it warm for hours on end. But, for me, this is about simplicity and having something delicious and quick to enjoy at the end of a long day. Speaking of which, I think I'll go make some rice. I've got some busy days coming up!

Eggplant-Edamame Fried Rice

  • 4 slices smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small Chinese eggplant, diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin slivers
  • 1 large yellow sweet pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. cooked, cooled rice (leftover rice works beautifully for this)
  • 1/3 c. soy or tamari sauce (use tamari sauce for a gluten free version)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 2 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 c. steamed, hulled edamame
  • Hot sauce, for garnishing (optional)

In a nonstick skillet or wok, fry the bacon until crisp and it has rendered a bit of fat into the bottom of the pan. Add the eggplant, onion, pepper, and garlic and stir-fry the vegetables until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add the cold rice (break it up with your hands to make sure it's not in clumps) and continue stirring it constantly for about 5 minutes or until the rice is fried and warm. Combine the soy or tamari sauce, honey, and sriracha sauce and add the mixture to the pan. Toss well to coat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar — just enough to loosen any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the edamame and toss to distribute evenly. When the edamame is heated through, serve the rice in bowls and top with hot sauce as desired.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes