Oh my, what can I say about fried rice? I can’t remember any point in my life when I was devoid of it!
One of my go-to meals to whip up in the kitchen, fried rice is a fantastic way to use leftover plain rice AND leftover fresh veggies in a quick and tasty way. It’s adaptable to pretty much any produce you have left lying around in the fridge, helping to reduce your wastage and keeping things economical too.
Leftover rice provides the firmness of the grains that is ideal for frying with. If you don’t have leftover rice, don’t be deterred! Although freshly-cooked rice is not quite the same, it would also work; the final product would just be a bit on the moist side, and in such a situation, I normally substitute most of the soy sauce (which would make the dish even wetter) with plain salt.
I use this technique in this variation of fried rice, which exploits my love for fresh beetroot. Shredded beetroot is mighty juicy!
Its precious magenta colour is attributed to a natural pigment called betacyanin, which is also seen in red ‘bayam’ (amaranth leaves) and red dragonfruit. This beautiful bright colour comes with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and studies have also shown that it helps to neutralize toxins in the body.
Beetroot on its own has a mixed taste of salty, earthy and mildly sweet, but this is greatly muted when combined as a meal, lending more colour than taste. The ‘pop’ of betacyanin makes this a fun lunch to pack for kids.
It rocks my socks knowing how this one extra ingredient turns this simple dish from Insta-ho-hum, to Insta-aw-sum.
Beetroot Fried Rice
An Asian staple with a beetroot boost! A kid-friendly dish that's full of bite.
- 3 cups leftover plain brown rice
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice, cooked fresh or refrigerated overnight
- 1 small beetroot, shredded finely
- 1/4 head of cauliflower, diced into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup long bean, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 medium-sized bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2-3 cobs of baby corn, cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup tofu (optional), cut into small cubes
- 1 large onion, diced finely
- 1/2 bulb garlic, diced finely
- 1 tsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 3/4 tsp pink salt
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Pepper to taste
- Step 1 Heat cooking oil in a wok or large frying pan. Cook garlic and onion on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until they begin to brown slightly at the edges.
- Step 2 Throw in the pumpkin seeds and stir fry for 3 minutes. A few might ‘pop’. That’s fine.
- Step 3 Add the cauliflower, long bean, bell pepper, baby corn and tofu, followed by 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vinegar, and 1 tsp soy sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Step 4 Gently add the rice and beetroot.
- Step 5 Stir-fry it all together with salt, pepper and the remaining portions of sugar, vinegar and soy sauce, for around 3 minutes on medium heat, until the beetroot colour and ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Step 6 Turn off the heat, stir in sesame oil and serve immediately.