I often find myself with a lot of leftover jasmine rice. At the end of the day, if the rice cooker is still full of rice, I unplug the machine, let the rice cool to room temperature and store the rice in the refrigerator. Last night was no exception, so this morning I gathered the cooled rice and made cơm chiên chay (Vietnamese for "vegetarian fried rice") and added tofu for extra protein.
For this version, I added vegetables I had readily available such as carrots, peas and sugar snap peas. You could combine the vegetables of your choice. Simply make sure you don't choose any "watery" vegetables such as bok choy, or the rice will turn mushy and soggy.
Baby Aria absolutely loves fried rice. I never have to feed this dish to her. She scoops the rice into her spoon and asks for more!
Servings: 6 servings
5 cups steamed jasmine rice, preferably chilled
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 ounces extra-firm tofu
¼ cup frozen peas and diced carrots
½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and blanched
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 2"-pieces
½ teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt (or salt)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground
2 green onions, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Pan-fry the pieces of tofu on both sides until golden and puffy. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Once the tofu pieces are cool enough to handle, dice them. Set aside.
In a wok, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Add garlic, diced carrots and peas. Cook until the garlic and carrots are light golden. Add the sugar snap peas, beans and fried tofu. Stir fry until the veggies are almost translucent; season with mushroom seasoning salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate.
Into the same wok, add the remaining oil. Add the green onions. Stir fry until they're fragrant. Once the oil has changed color, spread the rice evenly into the wok and stir until each grain is evenly coated with oil. Using a silicone spatula, scrape any grains of rice that may be stuck on the wok. Let the rice cook for about 2-3 minutes. When some of the grains of rice start popping and jumping up in the wok, season the ruce with salt. Let it cook for about 2 more minutes, again scraping up any grains of rice that may be stuck on the wok.
Return the tofu and veggies to the wok. Toss using 2 spatulas positioned one on either side of the wok to prevent the food from sticking to the bottom. Cook the fried rice for another minute. Toss well. Turn off the heat. Finish with a dash of black pepper.
All the vegetables should be cut the same size for a well-distributed, shiny result.
To ensure the fried rice isn't mushy, it's preferable to chill it overnight before sitr-frying.