We've known for years that fried rice is one of the ultimate stretchable meals, and it's a favourite here in all it's incarnations.
This version is super easy for a 13 year old chef-in-the-making or for anyone else who finds themselves broke and having to cater for more than one.
It's a great lesson in:
Steaming rice for any number of dishes
Using knives safely
Using ALL of the vegetable and not just the pretty bit
Making a small portion of meat or chicken, go further
Cheapskates Fried Rice
3 cups of rice (more if the crowd you're cooking for are a hungry lot), cooked using this method with 1 chicken flavoured stock cube for each cup and a half of rice. Cook the rice several hours or days beforehand, and allow it to cool and dry out (this just prevents your rice from clumping together and being gluggy)
1 chicken thigh chopped finely and marinated in Honey and Soy Sauce for two hours (we actually used two Honey Soy chicken skewers bought from the supermarket deli. We removed the meat from the skewers prior to cooking)
1 carrot, peeled and diced finely (a proper small vegetable knife and vegetable peeler makes this easy)
1 small piece of broccoli, diced finely OR broccoli stem, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce (optional)
Drizzle of honey
Heat a large pan or wok over a hotplate heated to HIGH.
Add the carrot and stir fry for one minute.
Add the broccoli or broccoli stem and stir fry for one minute.
Add the chicken and toss in the pan for two minutes, then put a lid on the pan and remove it from the hotplate. The stored heat will continue to cook the vegetables and chicken so they are tender, without overcooking them so they dry out or go soggy. Turn the hotplate off.
Transfer the cooled and dry rice to a large microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave on HIGH for three minutes or until steaming.
If you are teaching young children this recipe, this next bit is a step that I recommend you navigate, until they are older. If your children are older (14+), then appropriate safe transfer of heated items from the microwave oven to the benchtop is another important lesson.
Remove the lid from your wok or pan. Make room for the rice, close to the pan.
Using oven mitts or pot holders, carefully remove the heated rice from the microwave and place it in the space you've cleared on the bench.
Add a generous drizzle of honey to the ingredients in your pan and toss it all to coat it in the honey. This is a great way to add the honey as it doesn't then burn and make everything stick to the bottom of the pan. Tip the chicken, vegetables and juices from the wok or pan, into the bowl of rice, and toss thoroughly, using two large spoons.
Add the sesame oil, and toss to distribute it evenly. Test for flavour intensity and add the optional flavouring of a little soy sauce if necessary. If you don't have soy sauce, then a handful of fresh herbs or toasted nuts of any kind, or another stock cube crumbled and tossed through the rice will give a bit of oomph.
The flavour and juices from the marinated chicken will flavour the rice nicely, without having to add ingredients that you may not have on hand, or wish to purchase. Remember that students and singles often live in limited space with limited $ for buying up on spices and sauces when they first leave home, so this can be a real plus.
A very yummy, very inexpensive dish for very little money and effort :)
Add an egg or two if you have them. Beat the eggs, add a dash of sesame oil. Pour into the pan before you cook the veges. Flip it like a hotcake, and tip onto a pate. Cut into ribbons and add to the rice with the veges and chicken.
Add some diced bacon, cooked with the chicken and veg.
Add finely diced veges of any kind, lurking in the refrigerator. Frozen is fine, as are tinned veges. NOT recommended due to texture/flavour are beetroot, eggplant, pumpkin and potato. But if that's all you've got, heck I'd toss them in and call it Middle Eastern Rice :)
Add diced leftover roast if you have such a thing lurking in your cheapskates refrigerator.