Can “fried” n “light” go hand in hand? Yes, of course and a Great Go it can be with this ‘Light Fried Rice’. Few ingredients….fabulous flavour. Believe me, it’s unbelievable! Serve it with a spicy curry…savoury that’s lip smacking when savoured!
Basic Ingredients: Rice, Vegetables, Oil.
Short and simple statement…yet feels too vast and vague an outline, right? Since it gives rise to some very basic doubts like “Which oil should I use, which rice is better, which vegetables to choose ….etc.” and when asked, isn’t a reply like this highly likely…. “You can use any oil, any rice, any vegetables!” Simple answer, yet a complex set of doubts crop afresh clouding our misty minds furthermore! So, we at Sarapaaka try to list, in our recipes, (wherever required) choice of ingredients to choose from. If the list is long, it will be mentioned at the end, like in this case.
For cooking rice
Basmati Rice 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Oil 1 tsp
Salt a pinch
For stir frying:
Oil 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds ½ tsp
Onion 2 nos. (medium size, cut to thin, long slices)
French beans ¼ cup (cut into diagonal pieces)
Carrot ¼ cup (cut to matchstick size)
Capsicum ¼ cup (shredded)
Cabbage ¼ cup (shredded)
Turmeric Just a small pinch (it’s antiseptic…why miss it?)
Salt to taste 2 tsps approx. (put it in pinches at different stages of cooking)
Pepper powder 3 tsps
Spring Onion ¼ cup (fine chopped)
Coriander leaves 2 tbsps (fine chopped)
Wash rice thoroughly in water. Drain out the water and keep rice aside for half an hour.
Wash vegetables thoroughly in water. Drain out the water. Chop or shred vegetables (as the case may be) as mentioned above under “Ingredients – for sautéing” and keep aside.
Cook rice in a pressure cooker along with the other ingredients listed under “Ingredients – for cooking” for upto 2 whistles.
A tip or two before you begin cooking….Rice has to be just cooked al dente. Cooking rice in vegetable broth adds to the flavour. Adding lime juice while cooking rice also adds to the flavour.
Heard 2 whistles…now switch off the flame. Let it cool.
While it is cooling….
Heat oil in a frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium heat. Swirl oil all round the pan to form a coat. The secret here lies in selecting a sturdy pan so that the veggies can be cooked evenly.
Put cumin seeds. When it splutters, add onions, a pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Sauté till it turns golden brown. (If you wish, you can keep this aside for garnish at the end). Now add all other vegetables and sauté. Also add pepper powder and continue tossing the veggies till they are cooked enough to be tender inside, crispy and crunchy outside.
By now, pressure in the cooker would have subsided. But has the rice turned cold….no, for sure.
(While you wait till it cools down read “Technique of cooling hot rice cold” given below under Chefs’Chat)
Now that the rice has cooled down, add a pinch of salt and mix well. Its time to heat it up! Add this to the cooked veggies in the pan or vice versa (i.e., transfer the cooked veggies on to the cooled rice). Mix them well. Garnish with fine chopped coriander leaves, fine chopped spring onions…many more choices listed a wee bit below.
Veg Fried Rice is ready to serve.
Also view in this blog recipe for “Vegetable Biryani”
Choice of oil, rice, vegetables, garnish and flavour; Basmati Rice; Technique to turn hot rice cold; Sauteing; Stir Frying; Saute Pan; Frying Pan.
Choice of oil: Olive, canola, dark sesame, peanut, soy
Choice of Rice: Basmati Rice, Brown rice or any long grain rice since they remain fluffy and don’t get clumpy.
Choice of Vegetables: (In addition to the ones listed under ingredients) Onions, Peas, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Green soybeans, Baby beans, Baby corn, frozen Broccoli, Button mushrooms etc. Adding sugar retains colour of veggies. Whichever vegetables you choose, the time spent in the pan is short n sweet, so choose those that are tender by nature.
When using tougher, thicker vegetables head them straight not into the pan for sautéing but for blanching them briefly (by cooking in boiling water). They are now ready to be mixed with the other softer veggies.
Choice of Garnish: Toasted slivered almonds, fresh coriander leaves, fresh lime juice, fried brown crisp onion slices.
Choice of flavour: White pepper powder preferred. Crushed red pepper gives a hint of heat (optional), Toasted sesame seeds (optional), Soy sauce
Basmati Rice: A variety of rice that is long bodied with a unique aroma. Cooked basmati rice results in grains that are long, dry, light, fragrant, slender, separate and non sticky.
Technique to turn hot rice cold: The golden rule of thumb to follow while sautéing rice for “Fried Rice” and certain other rice varieties is to make sure that the hot cooked rice is cold. To cool down the hot cooked rice grains and keep it separate, spread it on a wide flat tray and let it become warm. Rub it with a spoon of oil and keep aside till you use it.
Sautéing is a cooking term that means “to cook food fast using minimum amount of fat on a fairly high heat” as against Stir Frying which means “to cook food fast using relatively higher amount of fat on a fairly high heat”. Food is tossed once in a way during sautéing whereas stir frying needs accelerated and constant stirring action. The word sauté originates from a French verb “sauter” which means “to jump”. Sautéing preserves the texture and flavour of food intact.
Sauté pan has a long handle with slightly taller sides compared to a frying pan. This permits stirring food easily without spilling or jumping out of the pan. Frying pan is deeper to accommodate larger quantities of fat for frying.