Sustenance Rice

The cupboards are still bare… we are still poor and paycheckless. Consequently, we’re keeping the meals simple and substantial…

which means we are eating rice by the pound, and that’s perfectly okay by me.

I love rice. So much so, that sophomore year of college, in an effort to find a loophole in the “no hotplates” rule, I went out and bought a rice cooker. I found it for 20 bucks on Amazon and it’s been my greatest pal ever since. So simple! Pour rice in, fill with water, press a button, come back 25 minutes later and you have a beautiful, steaming pot of rice.

Even cooler, or so I thought at the time, was the vegetable steamer that came with it. It’s where my first recipes were born — out of stolen produce from the cafeteria and a $5 bag of sticky rice from the Asian food market.

I was so enamored by my rice cooker that I tried cooking pasta, making couscous and even baking bread with it (ohhhh yes, you heard right) — all just because I could.

My trusty old 20 dollar rice cooker is still of great use to me. I mean, geesh, who needs to use a pot when they have a rice cooker? Not this girl.

Unfortunately, le boyfriend is not a big fan of rice, which sucks for him because it’s a big cheapo pantry staple and I looooove cooking with it. Every so often, though, I can make a recipe that peaks his interest…fried rice is the biggest weapon in my arsenal.

My favorite type of fried rice is sticky fried rice, the kind that clumps together and is slightly gooey. This is usually achieved by using glutinous rice or sushi rice… any kind that has a lot of starch in it. I mean, just LOOK at all that gooeyness!

Yum-o! Cheap, super easy, and oh so good cold the next day!

Basic Sticky Fried Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked sushi rice (or whatever rice you prefer), you can also substitute 4 cups cooked rice instead
  • 1/3 cup peanut, sesame or olive oil (or less, if you prefer)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Assorted vegetables, chopped and cleaned. Here are some I recommend:
    • Broccoli
    • Mushrooms
    • Carrots
    • Peas
    • Green Beans
    • Snow Peas
    • Bean Sprouts
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 of a cup soy sauce (or more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (the brown is for coloring, but white works fine…I just steal brown sugar packets from Starbucks)
  • Assorted spices, some I recommend:
    • Chile pepper**
    • Paprika
    • Majhoram
    • Cumin or cumin seed
    • Coriander
    • Lemongrass
    • Curry Powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
  1. If using uncooked rice, cook according to your rice cooker’s directions. If you don’t have a rice cooker, bring 3.5 to 4 cups water to boil in a pot. Add the rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may add a tablespoon of butter to the boiling water if you don’t want your rice sticky, but hey, this is a recipe for sticky rice after all. Set your cooked rice aside in a cool place while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  2. In a large wok or pan (if you don’t have one big enough, use a big cooking pot), heat a tablespoon of oil until steam rises from the pan. Pour in the beaten eggs. Let the eggs sit until they solidify and air starts to bubble beneath them. It should look like an omelette right before you flip it. With a spatula, scramble the omelette into small or medium sized chunks and set aside on a plate to cool.
  3. Scrape out any remaining chunks from the pan and heat the remaining oil over medium to high flame. When it starts to crackle, add in the garlic and onion, stirring constantly until soft (about 5 minutes).
  4. Once the onions soften, add in the tough vegetables (broccoli, green beans, snap peas, carrots and anything frozen), stir fry for about two minutes, then add the vegetable broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are cooked but still slightly crunchy. Add in the soft vegetables (mushrooms, cooked peas, bean sprouts) and stir fry another two minutes.
  5. Create a well in the middle of the mixture and add in the rice. Mix the rice and vegetables thoroughly. Consider adding another tablespoon or two of oil. While you wait for the rice to heat up (about 3 minutes), add the spices (enough to turn your rice a very light pink, brown or red) and mix well.
  6. Add the soy sauce (enough for the rice to turn a nice, golden brown) and brown sugar, stirring well. Toss in the cooked egg and continue to heat until all the excess liquid is absorbed (no more than a few minutes).
There you have it! Fried rice that rivals Chinese takeout and isn’t nearly as bad for you, though I don’t have any proof to back up that claim. This recipe makes enough for four people, plus leftovers.
My favorite thing about this meal…the cleanup is only one pot and one pan. Not that I do the cleaning when I cook, but still, it helps le boyfriend feel not so resentful of our many riced meals.

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