Every Bento Box needs a starch, and I thought Vegetable Fried Rice with brown rice and egg would be a nice complement to my Chicken Teriyaki. I chose brown rice because it has extra fiber and vitamins and I also included my favorite fried rice vegetables: carrots, peas, and onions. A quick seasoning with soy sauce and garlic powder, and it was ready to hit the proverbial table which in my case is a Bento Box.
In general, if I’m cooking with brown rice, I go with the short-grain kind. I first saw short-grain brown rice at P.F. Changs and I wondered how they got it be so, well, fluffy. I was directed to short grain brown rice by my friend (and cooking muse) Becca after she prepared it for my husband and me one evening. Short grain brown rice is not the easiest thing to find, and I’ve only ever seen it at Whole Foods. Becca’s other trick that she so generously shared is to cook the rice in chicken broth instead of in water (use vegetable broth to keep this dish vegetarian). This extra flavoring means that right out of the pot, your brown rice already tastes better than you thought it would. My recipe below includes detailed cooking instructions for perfect, fluffy short grain brown rice every time. I make the rice well ahead of time so when I’m ready to cook, it’s waiting for me. I tend to make large batches of rice so it is available for eating throughout the week.
As for the rest of the ingredients, I always start with carrots and onions in the pan. I soften them up, stir in the rice, and then clear out an empty space in the middle of the pan. This is how I see them make fried rice at Hibachi restaurants. In the space, I crack an egg and scramble it up right there. I put the peas in after that so they retain their bright color. A few shakes of sauce soy, a few sprinkles of garlic powder, and the fried rice is ready! Other fried rice recipes use oyster sauce, ginger, or sesame oil, but I find they just muddle the dish. If I have scallions on hand, they make a pretty garnish. If not, no big deal. And of course you may substitute long grain brown rice or even white rice here, but the rice cooking times will need to be adjusted.
And into the Bento Box the fried rice goes…
Don’t forget, Friday I show the full Bento Box with all my recipes from this week, so be sure to stop back! I will also have a discount code available if you’d like to purchase your very own Bento Boxes from an online retailer (the place where I purchased mine a few years ago). See you Friday!
- 1 c. short grain brown rice
- 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 T. canola or peanut oil
- 3-4 small carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about ½ c.)
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 c.)
- 1 large egg
- ½ c. frozen peas
- 1-2 T. soy sauce
- 1-2 tsp. garlic powder
- In a 3 quart pot, combine brown rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 45 – 50 minutes or until rice has softened and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and keep covered an additional 15 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrots and onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add the rice (you should have about 2 c.) and stir to combine. Clear a space in the middle of the pan by moving the rice and vegetables to the edges.
- Crack the egg into the space and scramble until hardened, about 1 minute. Stir into the rice and vegetables.
- Add the peas and stir until heated through.
- Pour 1 T. soy sauce evenly over the top of the rice and sprinkle with 1 tsp. garlic powder; toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce and garlic powder as desired. Serve immediately.