Chinese Van Vegetable Fried Rice

Growing up in India, I loved Indian-Chinese food (especially from the Chinese food vans) and miss it sorely in the U.S. So I tried my hand and making some vegetable fried rice that matched my memories. This was pretty good. I paired it with Chilli Potatoes (recipe forthcoming), which hit the spot!

The whole thing takes about an hour to put together.

You need:

  1. 1 cup rice, preferably basmati
  2. A handful of fresh green beans, julienned (cut into very thin strips, about 1-2 inches long)
  3. The same amount of julienned carrots
  4. 4-5 spring onions, sliced finely. Separate the greens and whites.
  5. 2 tbsp julienned ginger
  6. 1 cup bean sprouts
  7. 2 tbsp soy sauce (low-sodium if you have it)
  8. A pinch of Chinese five-spice (optional)

You can also use other vegetables like bell peppers or celery, but make sure everything is cut to the same size, which will ensure even stir-frying.

How to:

  1. Cook the rice with 1 tsp oil. While it is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Do not begin to cook them until the rice is done, as they will cook quickly.
  2. Put the cooked rice into a big plate and spread out to cool.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a hot pan. Keep the pan on a medium to high heat.
  4. When it is hot, add the white of the spring onions, and stir quickly. Add the rest of the vegetables and keep stirring until they are cooked. They should still be crunchy, so keep tasting them until they are cooked and then move to the next step.
  5. Add the soy sauce and stir. If you scrape the bottom of the pan gently as you do this, it will pick up the bits stuck to the bottom and they will add good flavor. Don’t scrape too hard–you don’t want any burnt bits.
  6. Add a pinch of five-spice and mix well.
  7. Add the rice and mix well, taking it off the heat as soon as possible.
  8. If you need more salt, add salt, not more soy sauce.

Enjoy! I hope you like it. It has a very simple flavor of soy sauce, with the vegetables in the foreground. The five-spice is a very subtle taste in the background.


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Beans (Basic recipe)

This recipe applies for all dried beans, such as chick peas/garbanzo beans, black beans, red beans, etc. (Chana, rajma, etc.)

Soak the beans in lots of water overnight or for 6-8 hours. If you are using 1 cup beans, soak them in at least 5 cups of water. Drain and rinse before cooking.

There are three ways to cook beans:

  1. Stovetop: Add enough water to cover the beans by about 3 inches. Boil the beans in a pan until they are soft. This is the least energy efficient and takes a long time.
  2. Pressure cooker: Add 5 cups water to every cup of beans. Cook for 5 whistles or until beans are soft but not mushy.
  3. Slow cooker: This is my favorite method, because I don’t have to watch the beans. Put the beans in a slow cooker and add enough water to cover the beans by about three inches. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours. The beans should be soft but not mushy.

Whichever method you use, when you are done, drain and rinse the beans before using them.