Sunday, February 10, 2013

Back to Basics : Chicken Fried Rice

Happy Chinese New Year! Are you a snake? I don't mean that as an insult, I mean that as your birth year- 2013 is the year of the snake. I wasn't trying to imply that you're manipulative or sly... I assume that since you're here sharing in my kitchen adventures you're nothing less than marvelous!

I know that Chicken Fried Rice is more of an American botched version of real Chinese food, but I still like it. It's fast, easy, and as nutritious as you want to make it. If you want to correlate it to the Chinese New Year tradition of giving money, you can stretch this justification to make it fit, since fried rice is usually a dish made from leftovers. That means you're saving money, right? I know, it's a really far reach, but I do what I can.

Seriously, though. It usually is a dish made from leftovers, which is awesome if you've been cooking for one lately (ahem, me). It's also awesome if you make big batches of rice in your rice cooker because you can't get enough of how perfectly fluffy it gets in that thing, even if it is a counter space thief (ahem, also me). 

You may have noticed from the pictures that this version of fried rice does not include scrambled eggs. Yeah, about that.... I don't care for eggs in the fried rice, unless of course it's a breakfast version, in which case it makes much more sense. If you add them for protein, never fear, because the lean chicken breast and edamame that's in this version takes care of that concern. 

Some recipes for fried rice call for lots and lots of oil, but of course that's really not good for us, right? So I cut it out. Instead there is only 1- count it- ONE tablespoon of oil for the whole recipe. Using sesame oil adds some flavor and just enough lubrication to cook everything. If you need more lubrication for your pans- say if you use stainless steel or a newer cast iron skillet- I'd stick with cooking spray to prevent any additional fat from saturating the dish.

So if you're craving some fried rice but don't really want to deal with the "fried" aspect of traditional recipe, give this one a try. Lower oil, healthy vegetables and lean chicken breast that can come together in less than 30 minutes without sacrificing any flavor whatsoever.

Chicken Fried Rice

A Butter Than Toast Original

1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
1/2 cup bell pepper, color of choice, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked chicken breast, cut into 1” pieces, seasoned with salt and black pepper
1.5 cups cooked brown rice
2/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2/3 cup frozen broccoli florets
1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves, crushed)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 green chives, diced, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

In a large skillet, heat half of the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion, sauté for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken, stirring often until chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the still frozen mixed vegetables, broccoli, edamame, and rice, cook until vegetables are defrosted, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, mirin, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly to combine well. Simmer on medium heat for 2 minutes, until liquid has distributed and absorbed into ingredients. Serve hot, sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds for garnish.


  1. Sesame oil just makes life better. Love all the veggies in this gorgeous fried rice!

  2. Love this dish.  thanks for such a great recipe!


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