While you might think fried rice is strictly Chinese, I like to think of it as more of a stir-fried dish to which you can add whatever you'd like.
Fried rice is never made the same way twice in my house, since I throw in whatever ingredients or tidbits I have on hand. And to prove just how adaptable this dish is, it can even be given a spicy Creole-inspired twist, jambalaya-style.
This fried rice starts with the trinity of Creole cuisine: celery, onion and bell pepper. It is also seasoned with the classic jambalaya flavors of thyme, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Standing in for the tomatoes is ketchup, which adds a little acidic but sweet flavor. And, of course, jambalaya fried rice needs meat, so add some spicy andouille chicken sausage to the mix. Depending on the brand, some might be quite spicy, so you can skip the cayenne if you'd like.
As much as I'd love to spend all day making a slow-cooked jambalaya, this version is much easier to pull off for dinner.
Red Jambalaya Fried Rice
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 medium celery stalks, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 smoked andouille chicken sausages (about 6 ounces), diced
1/4 cup ketchup
4 cups cold cooked white or brown rice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt until broken up. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the eggs and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the eggs are just set and scrambled. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme and cayenne; season with salt; and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ketchup and cook until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the rice, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper; and cook, stirring often, until the rice is heated through and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the scrambled eggs, breaking up any large pieces. Taste and season with more salt or Worcestershire as needed.
Yield: 4 servings.