Comfort Food: Chicken Fried Rice

When I moved into my first college apartment my parents gifted me with a wok. It became one of my favorite pans and even had its own place in my cabinet, away from my apartment’s shared group of kitchen tools. I used it at least three times a week, often making fried rice. It was my favorite dish to create because it was simple, satisfying, and easily adaptable. If I was in a protein mood I would use lots of chicken. If I was lucky enough to tag along with one of my five roommates to the grocery store (I was the only one sans car), I would make a fried rice filled with fresh veggies. Combined with an easy and sweet sauce the possibilities are endless, which is why this dish is one of my favorites. Enjoy!

Chicken Fried Rice
By Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC

Ingredients:
Peanut Oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken, cleaned and cut into cubes
2 eggs
2 small shallots (preferred) or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 medium mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into thirds
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 medium zucchini, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
4 cups cooked white or brown rice (I often use leftover rice that I’ve frozen and thawed)
3 tbsp Kame Hoisin Sauce*
3 tbsp San-J Tamari Organic Soy Sauce*
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Marinade:
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Kame Hoisin Sauce*
4 tbsp San-J Tamari Organic Soy Sauce*

Begin by chopping all meat and vegetables. Place the carrots and zucchini in one microwave safe bowl and the broccoli in another. Add a tablespoon of water and cover bowl with plastic. Leave a small opening for steam and microwave in fifteen second increments in the microwave until the veggies begin to soften. Place on hot tray and let sit.

In a small bowl combine all  marinade ingredients and add to the meat. Toss until well-coated. Set aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Heat the wok over medium-low flame and coat with peanut oil. Pour the egg into the pan, spreading evenly. Cook for a few minutes and then carefully flip onto the other side, taking care not to break it. Cook about a minute, remove from pan, and let cool on a cutting board.

Add a small amount of peanut oil to the wok. Sauté shallots/onion and mushrooms, about three minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and add to a large serving bowl. Cook the remaining vegetables, separately, until they begin to brown. This may take a few minutes, especially if the veggies aren’t soft enough. If this is the case, add a very small amount of water to the wok and cover the pan. Let steam a few minutes, until water evaporates. Continue stirring as needed.

While the vegetables are cooking, roll the cooked egg lengthwise on the cutting board. Carefully slice the egg down the center and then chop into smaller pieces. (It may help to hold the egg together with one hand so it doesn’t fall apart.) (Use photos below as a guide)

When the vegetables are done cooking, add them to the large bowl and set aside. Once again, add a small amount of peanut oil to the pan. Cook the chicken until the outside begins to caramelize. Remove from pan and add to large bowl.

Finally, add the rice to the wok. Stirring frequently, add 1.5 tablespoons each of soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Return the chicken, eggs and vegetables to the wok and stir until thoroughly combined. Coat with remaining hoisin and soy sauce and stir. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and sesame seeds and serve warm in a large serving bowl.

*NOTE: The brands of soy/hoisin sauce used in this recipe are gluten-free. It can be really hard to find wheat-free, gluten-free soy sauce products, but I like these both. I use a particularly delicious brand of hoisin sauce that I buy in Chinatown, but it isn’t clear whether it is gluten free. My allergy to gluten is slightly milder than most, so this sauce doesn’t affect me as much. If you are more severely allergic, please make sure you find a brand that it specifically labeled “gluten-free”.
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