Cast Iron

Stir-Fried Rice with Leftovers

January  9, 2017
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

This stir-fried rice isn't based on authentic Asian recipes—although those that I have followed in the past all share the same spirit of improvisation. Rather, this is what I have come to rely on in my own home kitchen when I want a delicious dinner with very little effort.

At least once—and sometimes twice—a week, it's my tried-and-true, easy-peasy, deeply satisfying, super quick dinner. If you have leftover rice (brown or white) in the fridge, along with some roast chicken or a few slices of last night’s steak or fish dinner, this dish can be made swiftly and easily. Get everything prepped and laid out on the counter next to the stove and it’ll come together in as quickly as 15 minutes.

But even if you do have to cook the rice first (this is why I love my rice cooker) and/or sauté a raw protein, the meal is still a relatively painless. —Sara Jenkins

  • Serves 4
  • 1/4 cup oil such as sesame or peanut, divided
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups leftover rice, ideally jasmine
  • 3/4 pound (more or less) leftover protein (like a seared or broiled piece of fish, about 3 to 4 ounces per person)
  • 1 small fresh chile (optional), minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (add more to taste)
  • 2 cups greens, such as slivered napa cabbage, halved baby bok choy, or roughly cut spinach
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked into leaves
  • 1 scallion, sliced on the bias (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
In This Recipe
  1. In a wok or large cast-iron pan, heat the oil over high heat.
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and let color on one side. Flip over, then add the rice. Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to steam up and reheat the rice. Let the rice cook uncovered so that it crisps up on the bottom. When warmed and browned, remove from the pan and reserve.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons vegetable oil to the pan and fry the chile, if using, and ginger. Then add the greens and whatever leftover protein you have and heat. Season with a little salt.
  4. When cooked, add the rice back in and toss everything around together. Transfer to a bowl and pour the soy sauce, vinegar, and lime juice and mix to combine. Add in cilantro and, if using, scallions and peanuts. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. Eat.

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