This recipe turns a humble bowl of rice into a lip-smackingly tasty meal. It feels like an indulgence, but the dish is actually good for you.
The bowl is brimming with colorful spring vegetables – asparagus, peas and carrots – that are stir-fried with green onion, ginger, garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The aroma gets your mouth watering the second those flavors hit the skillet. Then you add the rice and continue to cook until it is all warmed through.
This recipe calls for brown rice because it is the most accessible whole-grain variety, but black or red rice would also be delicious and make for an intriguing twist. Whatever type you choose, it is critical to start with cooked rice that has been well chilled, otherwise it can become gummy when stir-fried. When you make some for one meal, double the batch and refrigerate the rest, ready to go for a fast meal the next night.
Once the rice in the pan is hot you stir in savory soy sauce, fragrant sesame oil and sesame seeds, then serve it heaped in bowls, each crowned with a just-fried egg. This is all done with a minimal amount of oil, so the dish is flavorful without being greasy, and ready in less than 20 minutes.
Sesame Fried Rice With Spring Vegetables and Egg
3 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil, divided
8 ounces asparagus (1/2 bunch), woody ends trimmed, cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (not defrosted)
4 green onions, thinly sliced, the dark-green part also thinly sliced and reserved for garnish
1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated ginger root
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 1/2 cups very cold cooked brown rice
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons toasted (white) sesame seeds
4 large eggs
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a very large nonstick skillet or well-seasoned wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften.
Add the carrots and peas; cook for 1 minute, then add the green onion, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then add the rice; cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm as you cook the eggs.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet; fry just until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
Spoon the fried rice and vegetables into individual bowls. Place an egg on top of each portion. Garnish with the onion tops.
Per serving: 480 calories, 16 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar
Yield: 4 servings.