The best way to use up leftovers: Classic Thai Style Fried Rice!
I have a confession to make:
I am NOT a leftovers person.
In a house like mine, where the fridge always seems to be bursting at the seams, this can be a real problem.
As someone who works from home, I had to find a way to get over my issues and eat leftovers for my weekday lunches.
I loathe eating the same thing for two meals in a row (it’s a problem, I know), so rather than just eat leftovers as-is, I like to turn them into something new.
Here’s an example:
Last week I made myself a Southern-style dinner of homemade black beans, spicy collard greens, and rice. The next day I used the beans and rice to make myself a burrito bowl. The following evening I turned the beans into black bean soup.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about finding creative ways to use up leftovers!
One of my favorite ways of re-purposing leftovers (and using up extra ingredients) is to make fried rice.
Some people make sandwiches when they need a quick lunch; I make fried rice. Once you get the hang of it, it’s an incredibly quick and versatile dish!
Today’s recipe is for a classic Thai-style fried rice, characterized by the fish sauce, scallions, and garnishes of cucumber, tomato, cilantro, and lime wedges.
I’ve altered this recipe to use up leftover mushrooms, broccoli, onion, zucchini, bell peppers, snow peas, mango, pineapple, and even squash (on a particularly adventurous day).
I love munching on the traditional cucumber and tomato slices, but even if you don’t have any on hand you can still make a damn tasty Thai-style fried rice.
Admittedly, Thai fried rice is best if you have a few lime wedges for squeezing, and either fresh cilantro or basil (or both!) to brighten up the dish.
For best results, use leftover Jasmine rice that’s been refrigerated until cold. If you use freshly cooked rice it tends to get mushy in the pan.
I usually cook twice as much rice as I need whenever I’m making it, just so I can chuck some in the fridge for future fried-rice needs.
Sometimes I use up leftover bits of stir-fry (diced up pretty finely) to add bulk to the rice. Try making my Thai Chicken with Ginger for dinner, then using the leftovers to make fried rice the next day for lunch. So easy!
Here’s Your Recipe!
For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the Rice
- 1 tablespoon sesame or peanut oil
- 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces, dark green pieces set aside
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups cold cooked jasmine rice
- 2 cups torn Thai basil leaves
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Ground fresh chili paste (sambal oelek), or sliced birds eye chilies in fish sauce, or Sriracha (or all of the above!)
- Place a wok over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, drizzle in the oil. Add the white and light green parts of the sliced scallion, the yellow onion, and chopped garlic to the pan. Stir-fry for two minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent.
- Push the vegetables up the sides of the wok and pour in the eggs. Quickly scramble the eggs and then pile them on top of the vegetables. If the pan seems dry, add a bit more oil.
- Add the cooked rice and the sauce to the pan; toss well. Fry the rice, stirring occasionally, until hot (about 3 minutes).
- Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish the platter with lime wedges, sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a side of sambal oelek, sliced chilies, or sriracha.