Sunday, October 27, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Basil Fried Rice

We had a super busy week. Apart from work duties and obligations, we also had a million things to do in the garden. We knew it was getting downright frosty, so we set aside an afternoon to harvest, pull up and/or cut down all our herbs and plants. We had 2 planter boxes with 3 different kinds of basil, which means we ended up with a whole lot of basil. We already have 2 huge bags of frozen basil pesto in the freezer and we didn't want anymore, so a decision was made -- the best (and easiest) way to quickly process the basil, is to cook and eat it! And so we made Thai basil fried rice.

To make good fried rice, you need to start with cold, day old (or 2!) cooked rice. Using freshly-cooked rice will yield a mushy and "wet"-looking dish. If you absolutely have to use fresh rice, you can add a drizzle of vinegar during cooking to help sop up the excess liquid. I don't know why or how the vinegar works, but my mom swears the result is magic!

Now that we've got that out of the way, here's what you will need ...

3 cups cooked rice
1/2 lb ground beef 
1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 cup green beans, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1-2 thai chili pepper, sliced thinly
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

In a wok, heat 2 tsp of oil until hot. Add garlic and onions, and cook until golden brown.
Add ground beef, cook thoroughly.
Add vegetables (including all peppers), and cook for 2 minutes.
Lower heat to medium, then add oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar.
Add rice, mix to coat well.
Just before serving, add in fresh basil leaves and stir well.
Serve hot.

** this one-dish wonder is super versatile. You can substitute beef for ground chicken or turkey, and use most any type of vegetables you fancy.

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