Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

Ah, fried rice. The best thing to come out of miscellaneous leftovers and dry old rice. We’re all guilty of cooking too much rice every now and then, but I’m more guilty of cooking too much and throwing it out. The problem with fried rice for me was that I find a lot of it is usually so bland and boring. So I decided I wanted to change that and see what I could do to make it taste better and have less food waste!

Eventually, this recipe became my go-to whenever I had leftover rice, chicken, beef, tofu, and certain veggies that were starting to go bad. I found that the best part of this recipe is that you can always alternate proteins & the veggies and it still holds the strong flavours anyone can really enjoy.

When it comes to fried rice, it’s usually best to use 1 or 2 day old rice that’s been kept in the fridge. That way its a bit more dry and can hold in more flavour without getting too mushy.

Here’s the basics of the recipe, you can always add in more vegetables you have left over.


Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings:

  • 2 cups of cooked day-old rice (1 cup of uncooked rice)($0.38)
  • 4 Tbs canola oil ($0.20)
  • 1 large egg ($0.24)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped cooked chicken (or your choice of protein)($1.10)
  • 1 medium sized carrot ($0.16)
  • 2 scallions ($0.18)
  • 1/2 zucchini ($0.395)
  • 1/3 cup of corn ($0.06)
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh basil ($0.398)
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce ($0.03)
  • 2 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.06)
  • 1 Thai chili (optional)

Total cost for 2 services: $3.32*

Single serving for $1.66

Serves 2, takes 20 Minutes

Compared to the $10-$12 at restaurants!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

Basil-Fried-Rice-Ingredients
Gather & prepare your veggies and chop it all into small cubes (corn not pictured). I had a left over chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, so I just chopped that into cubes and it worked perfectly! Next, whisk the egg in separate bowl.

Place a wok on the stove at medium-high heat. Once your pan heats, add in 1 Tbs of the oil. As soon as the oil gets hot, add in the egg and scramble.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Eggs

As soon as it scrambles, remove the egg to a separate dish and pour 2 Tbs of the canola oil.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Vegetables

Next, add in your veggies. I used carrots, zucchini, and some corn. You can definitely add in whatever vegetable you have left over such as broccoli, bok choy, peppers, etc. as long as the flavour doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

Basil-Fried-rice-mix

Stir for a bit and then add back in your eggs, and then add in your protein & the rice vinegar.

Mix for about 30 seconds to wait for the vinegar to cook off, then add in the rice!

Basil-fried-rice-rice

Break apart the rice and mix it in as much as possible and add in your last tablespoon of canola oil.

Basil-Fried-Rice-mixed

Once the rice, meat, and vegetables are well mixed, add in the basil, green onions, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (and the Thai chili if you want it to be spicy!).

Basil-fried-rice-final

The oyster sauce can be substituted with vegetable Hoisin if you want, but I really recommend the oyster sauce as it adds it’s unique flavour (and no it does not taste like fish if you’re worried!)

Now really start stirring and really fry the rice. Once everything is mixed well and the basil becomes aromatic, take the rice off the heat and serve.

All done within 20 minutes!

Basil-fried-rice-5basil-fried-rice-3Basil-fried-rice-2

Basil-fried-rice-1

I really hope you enjoy it, and feedback (postive or constructive) is always appreciated! 🙂


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

6.8kg of Premium Calrose Rice ($14.99) – $0.22/100g
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
12 Large Eggs ($2.97)
Pack of 4 chicken breasts ($9.33)
1 Zucchini ($0.79)
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Pack of Basil ($1.99)
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
750g of Frozen Corn Kernels ($0.99) – $0.132/100g
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00

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Spicy Three Pepper Chicken Stir Fry

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My first job when I was 16 was being a dishwasher at a local family-run Chinese Szechuan and Cantonese restaurant. Not only were they a lovely family to work for, but they definitely owned and ran the best Chinese restaurant in the city of Windsor. Whether you wanted spicy Chinese vegetable dishes or greasy hangover food – they made it best. While working there I managed to pick up a few restaurant secrets to stir fries, and I couldn’t be more thankful! You’ll see some of that knowledge in the directions.

A lot of different food blogs have their own version of Three pepper chicken – and it’s so understandable. It’s definitely a stir fry where the flavours can vary from one household to the next. It usually holds a numbing flavour of Szechuan Peppercorn, but I usually omit it because I enjoy the flavour of the peppers more for this dish.

I also like to have colour in my stir-fry, so I add in an orange bell pepper which also adds in a little sweetness.The heat in this dish really only comes from the Long Hot Green Pepper and the Thai Chili (both of which are a staple in my weekly grocery list). You can usually get these at your generic grocery store and they hold a really great heat which is very different compared to the jalapeno pepper or habanero (I wouldn’t substitute with those).

This is also a dish where it can be converted to be vegetarian by substituting the chicken with tofu and the oyster sauce with a vegetarian mushroom “oyster” sauce!This stir fry is ultimately very very agile, you can move the flavours around to suit your needs, but I will warn you, if you follow my instructions directly – this IS a spicy dish!

I encourage you to eat with white rice.Here’s everything you need!

INGREDIENTS & COSTS

Ingredients – for the marinated Chicken

1 Chicken breast ($2.33)
1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda ($0.01)
1/2 Tsp Dark Soya Sauce ($0.005)
1 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.01)
1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil ($0.035)
1/2 Tbs of Rice Vinegar ($0.06)

Ingredients – for the Stir Fry

1 Long Hot Green Pepper ($0.34)
1/2 Bell Pepper (could be either Red or Orange) ($0.52)
1/3 Zucchini ($0.31)
1 Cloves of Garlic ($0.02)
1 Scallion ($0.09)
1 Tsp Ginger ($0.01)
1 Red Hot Thai Chili Pepper (Bird Eye Pepper) ($0.05)
1 1/2 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.075)

Ingredients – Finishing sauce

1 Tbs water
1/2 Tsp Dark Soya Sauce ($0.005)
1/2 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.01)
1/2 Tsp Sugar ($0.002)
1/2 Tsp Chili oil (optional)

Takes 25 min
serves 2.

Total Cost = $3.89!*

Compared to the $12-$16 at restaurants!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

First dice up the peppers, green onions, and zucchini, then mince the ginger, garlic, and Thai chili.

three-pepper-chicken-ingredients

Dice up your chicken next. Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, corn starch, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, and baking soda. If you’re confused about the baking soda, this is something I picked up while working at a Chinese restaurant. Baking soda is a fantastic meat tenderizer and gives you that restaurant-meat-consistency.

three-pepper-chicken-marinated-meat

Mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes. While you wait you can make your finishing sauce by combining soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and water in a small bowl.

three-pepper-chicken-mixed-meat

Pour the canola oil in a wok and set it on the stove at medium-high heat. Once it starts to slightly bubble, toss in your ginger. The second the ginger gets golden, add in the chicken. The chicken will get caramelized due to the sugar content in the oyster sauce, which will give it a nice crispy outer shell.

three-pepper-chicken-cook1

After stirring for about 3 minutes and waiting for the chicken to cook evenly through, toss in the zucchini and bell pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.

three-pepper-chicken-cook2

Add in the long hot green pepper.

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As soon as the spice of the long hot green peppers become fragrant (and I promise it will within 45 seconds), add in the finishing sauce, garlic, Thai chili, and green onions.

three-pepper-chicken-cook4

Stir quickly for about 30 seconds and you’ll notice that the stir fry has taken on a whole new aroma of garlic and sweet peppers.

three-pepper-chicken-cook5

Take it off the heat and onto a separate plate. Serve immediately with rice!

three-pepper-chicken-stir-fry-3

Delicious stir fry for two in under 25 minutes!

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three-pepper-chicken-5

Enjoy with write or an accompanying stir fry like the Spicy & Sour Shredded Potato Stir Fry!  Any comments or feedback on the recipe is 100% appreciated! 🙂


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($3.29) – $0.93/100ml
500 ml Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
430 ml Rooster Oyster Sauce ($2.49) – $0.58/100ml
4 kg of Labtic Granulated Sugar ($5.69) – $0.14/100g
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
250 g Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($0.99) – $0.40/g
1 Orange Bell Pepper ($1.02)
1 Zucchini ($0.94)
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Green Long Hot Green Peppers – ($0.34) – $4.39/kg
75 g Red Hot Thai Chili Peppers ($3.99)

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Spicy & Sour Shredded Potato Stir Fry

spicy-sour-shredded-potato-stirfry-pin

My family and I immigrated to Canada when I was 6 years old. Up until that point I grew up in the Northwestern region of China where a beautiful blend of Chinese and Middle Eastern flavours came together at the end of the silk road. The food I grew up with is still what influences my tastes today. Asian-Fusion is definitely my favourite type of cuisine (if that’s even really considered a type of cuisine).

One of my favourite stir fries I used to eat in the restaurants in China was an incredibly easy and flavourful dish which incorporated shredded white potatoes to have a spicy and sour taste with a hint of Szechuan peppercorn. It’s usually served as a second stir fry to accompany a protein based stir fry at restaurants, but even by itself it’s pretty delicious!

There are many different ways to make this dish as it’s one of the most common dishes in that region on China. Some people cook it with only rice wine vinegar, some add in MSG, and some versions are very red after adding in chili oils & pastes. This is just my version using simple ingredients the majority of people have access to and have the dish mirror the original the best that I can remember!

Here’s everything you need

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium-sized White Potatoes ($1.30)
  • 1 Long Hot Green Pepper ($0.34)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic ($0.04)
  • 1 Scallion ($0.09)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Rice Vinegar or Black Chinese Vinegar ($0.27)
  • 1 Tsp Light Soya Sauce ($0.02)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt ($0.03)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.075)
  • 1/4 cup water or Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Tsp Szechuan Peppercorn (optional)
  • Takes 20 min,
    serves 2.

    Total Cost = $2.16!*

    Compared to the $7-9 at restaurants!

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    The first thing you’ll want to do is peel & julienne the white potatoes. I find that the best way to julienne the potato is to cut it in half along the longer side and make thin slices.

    Shredded-potatos-toudou-si.jpg

    Shredded-potato-stirfry.jpg

    Once it’s sliced, take the slices and stack them up then cut small slivers so you have thin long strips of potato. After you’ve julienne the potatoes, put them in a large bowl and rinse them about 3 times (enough to get all the starch out). This allows the “potato-y” taste of the starch to not overpower your stir fry. After you’ve rinsed the pulp out, fill the bowl with water (there shouldn’t be any bubbles or dewy water – it should be clear!) and let the potatoes sit while you cut up the rest of your veggies. This allows the potato to stiffen.

    shredded-potato

    Next, mince the garlic & ginger. Julienne the long hot green peppers, and cut the green onions into slivers.

    shredded-potato-ingredients

    Take a wok and place it on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and let it heat. Once  warm, add in the ginger, half your garlic and half the green onions. This is when I add in the Szechuan peppercorn, it allows the numbing flavours of the peppercorn get infused with the oil. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and mix.

    Stir-Fry.jpg

    As soon as the ginger starts to get golden and it starts to get aromatic in your kitchen, drain the potatoes and toss them in! After about 3 minutes, add in the rice vinegar or Chinese black vinegar.

    shredded-potato-cooking

    Stir for about 5 more minutes and add in your long hot green peppers and the rest of your garlic – save the green onions for last! Stir for about a minute and add in the water or chicken stock, this will allow the potatoes to cook a bit faster. Now add in the green onions, 1 Tsp of salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.

    shredded-potato-cooking-spicy

    Stir for about 2-3 minutes and your stir fry is done! Try biting a sliver of potato to see if the texture is to your liking, but it definitely shouldn’t be soft or soggy – it’s supposed to have a slight crunch!

    Shredded-potatoes-tou-du-si.jpg

    And in under 20 minutes and $2.25 you have a yummy spicy potato stir fry!

     

    I hope you enjoy it! Any comments or feedback on the recipe is 100% appreciated! 🙂

    *This recipe can be gluten free if you swap the soy sauce to a GF soy sauce!


    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

    2 Medium Sized White Potatoes – Loose – ($1.30) – $11.40/kg
    355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($4.59) – $1.29/100ml
    500 ml Rooster Superior Light Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    1kg Windsor Table Salt ($1.69) – $0.17/100g
    1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
    Green Long Hot Green Peppers – ($0.34) – $4.39/kg

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