Simply Healthy Family: The Best Fried Rice Ever and Perfect Miso Soup

25.2.11

The Best Fried Rice Ever and Perfect Miso Soup


Ever wonder which oil to use for salad dressing, sautéing, stir frying or deep frying? Here is a breakdown of which oil to choose for all of your cooking needs. 



























I've never really loved Chinese food. Thai, yes. Japanese, definitely. Chinese foods, not so much. I think I accredit this to the fast food chains and most Chinese eateries around Phoenix that I've been to. Again, not very many recently because I thought them icky and full of MSG type flavoring. Whatever the mystery sauce that goes into every single dish that you get at most Chinese food chains I found thick, salty and left a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention everything seemed coated in oil and deep fried.

Sorry to all of you Panda Express lovers, my deepest apologies.  Reeeeally.



Anyhoo,  I have had a fried rice or two in the past that I thought was delicious. When I was lucky enough to come across an 'authentic' Chinese eatery in Chicago and one in Indiana some years back, I decided maybe Chinese food really was good. The vegetables were fresh and not over cooked and the flavors were just right IMHO. It's all about the garlic, ginger, vinegars and Tamari that make a good Chinese dish shine.

Oh, and let's not forget about the type and quality of the oil and Wok used to sear the veggies to crisp perfection. It drives me batty when people use 'EVOO' to cook everything with (I'm not mentioning any names errrhegghmm, Rachal Ray) 



It's important to use certain types of oils for stir frying and not others. 'We all know that certain oils are healthier than others, but your oil health goes beyond just the type. The health of your oil can be related to how you use it too.
Each type of oil has what is called a “smoke point.” The smoke point is the specific temperature at which the oil starts to break down…or in more technical terms, its molecular structure begins to change. These molecular changes result in changes in flavor, as well as changes in nutritional value…specifically, the nutritional value of the oil starts to degrade; changing what once may have been considered an especially healthy oil (such as Olive or Flaxseed which is rich in Omega-3s), into one that is unhealthy.The higher an oil’s smoke point, the higher the temperature the oil can withstand. As a result, each type of oil should be used for the cooking method that is most appropriate to its individual smoke point and heat tolerance.

 Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance




Continue reading for a helpful chart on Oils and their smoke points.........




Here is a quick guide that I hope you find helpful.
 Not only because it's awfully cute and convenient, but because it took me 2 hours to figure out how to get it onto my blog!   duh



Continue reading for the recipes.....








       Perfect Miso Soup



Let's take a quick peek at the key ingredients. The good news is, there's only 4!


It's important to choose Organic when it comes to Miso . Although it comes in other forms,
miso is typically a  fermented soy product. As we know,
genetically manipulated soy ingredients are bad for your health and the environment.
  When soy beans are fermented, such as in miso, an array of beneficial bacteria are produced.
This is beneficial for improved digestion, enhanced
nutrition, reduction in hot flashes and aids in fighting or preventing cancer.



Miso is an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals including,
zinc, copper, vitamin K,  magnesium and B-12.


Sea vegetables may be a unique food source of the mineral iodine among other minerals.
Also, seaweed is an amazing source of bioavailable iron.  This means that seaweed is an
excellent source of iron and vitamin C. And since vitamin C acts to increase the bioavailability of plant iron, this combination in sea vegetables may offer a special benefit.
Really, the nutritional list of benefits from sea plants is truly amazing.
If you'd like to read more (I know most of you have stopped reading already)
go here.



There are tons of different types of seaweed and see kelp. Any should work.
There are even some pre sliced thinly perfect for Miso soup. I got these from the Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix.
They are dirt cheap when you can get them at an Asian market. I bought a huge bag for just a couple of dollars.




Again, it's important to choose Organic when it comes to tofu, also a soy product.
It's a personal choice whether you choose, soft, semi-firm, firm or extra firm tofu.
I like semi-firm, it breaks up just a bit into the soup.


Traditionally, Miso soup is made with Dashi,  fish flavored granules. I chose to use a basic, home made vegetable stock since I felt the Miso was flavor enough for me,
and I had them in my freezer ready to go, more convenient.

I make a big batch of basic vegetable broth and pour it into muffin tins then freeze. Pop them into freezer storage bags and you can easily use them for soup, rice or whatever.
I wouldn't use chicken broth for Miso soup as it would taste more like Chicken Noodle Soup!

Voila, 1 cup broth ready to go.


To Make:

First, soak sea weed in warm water for 5-10 minutes. Chop. Use however much you'd like. A pinch or a small handful.
Simply heat 1cup vegetable broth over medium-high heat. Add chopped tofu. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Place a spoonful of Miso (adjust amount to your taste.) in a small bowl. Using a ladle, pour some of the heated broth into the bowl and gently whisk to combine. Remove broth from heat. Ladle into individual bowls, add Miso and see weed.
*Do not cook Miso paste. Not only will it turn gritty but it will kill the live cultures! Poooor cultures.



Other awesome sites with Miso soup you might want to check out:

Teczape
101 Cookbooks
Steamy Kitchen


Also,

Make sure you come back in a few days! I have a very special recipe for you. I made it last night and it was A-mazing! My new most favorite dish EVER! Honestly, it was better than....... well it was spectacular!




Now for the Best Fried Rice Recipe Ever! Who's still with me???
(really, you can use any veggies you have on hand, fresh or frozen)






Recipe adapted from Eating Well


SERVES 4     TIME 20 MINUTES
INGREDIENTS


4 cups leftover cooked brown rice

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 bunch asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces

2 small red bell peppers, sliced thinly into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 to 3 tablespoons good-quality tamari or shoyu

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil




1. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or wok coated with cooking spray, cook the eggs over medium heat for just 1 minute, stirring, until just set. Transfer cooked eggs to a bowl.

2. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in the same skillet and add asparagus. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add bell pepper, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook vegetables, stirring constantly, until vegetables are just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add cooked rice, Tamari, and vinegar and cook for about 1 minute, until the liquid has been absorbed. Gently fold in the cooked eggs. Remove from heat, stir in the sesame oil and hot sauce, if using, and serve immediately.


That's it! Easy Peasy One, Two, Threesie!

Cute story...
Jack and Nolan (my 6 and 4 year olds) were busy doing crafts while I was making dinner and doing this photo shoot. Yay for crafts! Nolan snuck up quietly while I was taking this picture and put a little punch out heart on the place mat and said "This will make your picture pretty mommy. It's a heart because I love you."  Awwwww, *sniff sniff       Picture time over, snuggle time on! ;)
Nolies heart picture
























'>'

15 comments:

  1. I find it interesting that you've never been a huge fan of Chinese food; I basically live off it! This recipe is right up "my alley."

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  2. I'm with you on you Asian food opinions. I'll go out for Thai or Japanese food but NEVER for Chinese. Just not worth it. But if I can make it at home...that's a different story! What a great fried rice recipe!

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  3. I love Asian food but my husband isn't a big fan. I remember once he went to a Thai resturant with me but didn't eat much. I believe making your recipe to him will totaly change his mind :)

    Enjoy your weekend.

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  4. TY for the miso tips. I always cooked it and it was gritty. So glad you posted this so I can finally make it right!!!

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  5. This is a post close to my heart because I was preparing a post on home-cooked Chinese food esp vegetarian (how delicious it can be and how easy it is to cook it at home) VS how Chinese take-outs being always greasy and laden with salt and heavy sauces!!!

    Also, you are very right about stir-frying using the correct cooking oil. I don't use EVOO for stir-frying - I use canola.

    You know what? We are using the same brand of miso - it is organic (except I got the red miso).

    Thanks for the shout-out! :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love Chinese food but like you say, it has to be done right. Panda Express doesn't cut it for me either. I use sesame oil all the time for stir frying. After looking at your chart, I'm wondering if I should change back to peanut oil. I used to use it but love the nutty flavor that sesame brings to the dish.

    And speaking of dishes, this fried rice looks delish! I love those big pieces of egg in there. yum!

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  7. I've never liked Chinese food either...it's so greasy and salty! But of course it's probably the L.A. version of the real thing so I shouldn't expect a lot.

    I love this post! The oil guide is definitely going to come in handy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great post! Not only have you offered me two recipes that I've been dying to try at home, but you've also taught me so much about cooking with oil. I had very little idea about which oils to use in my cooking, and I'm just loving the chart! Thanks for sharing, my dear! May your week burst forth with love, good food and peace!

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  9. Anonymous2/28/2011

    I really love this post. You taught me so much about cooking oils and what to use when. Thanks! Also, you don't say how much seaweed (sea kelp) to use for the miso soup? I'm making this tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  10. First I just want to say that I so love your heat index chart for oils! Also, I agree about Chinese food the fast food version really ruins it as a whole...the good stuff however is really good. I love both of these dishes and your recipes, and the heart cut out definitely makes the photo special, how adorable :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you, I'm so glad everyone liked the oil chart. I wasn't sure if it would be helpful or not.
    @ Anonomous, thx for the nice comment and oops, I forgot to put an amount for the kelp, but really you can use as little or as much as you'd like. a pinch or a handful. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Like you, I rarely go to Chinese restaurant for the same reason you stated, but love Thai food for its fresh flavor! And you freeze your broth in portions, too! Kindred spirit.

    Thank you for connecting with me via Tasty Kitchen! Look forward to getting to know you better through your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Gwen, long time no chat. Hope things are going well! I just saw your table on oils, very nice! Thought I'd let you know too that coconut oil is FANTASTIC for high heats and can withstand temperatures of up to 360F So feel free to saute, bake, stir-fry and cook to your hearts content!

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  14. @Leanne, I've been hangin around your site, just been too busy to chat. ;) also, I can't believe I misplaced coconut oil!!! My mom has been pounding it in my head that coconut oil is the best oil to use for high temp cooking for many years. We just had sweet potato fries last night coated in coconut oil. I'll have to figure out how to change my chart now..... thanks for the reminder!

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  15. I find it interesting that you've never been a huge fan of Chinese food; I basically live off it! This recipe is right up "my alley."

    ReplyDelete

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