It’s almost irresponsible of me to tell you about the way I served this meal to my kids — because it’s exactly the way that, if practiced often enough, will drive you to swear off family dinner forever. I love fried rice. Before Andy and I had kids we’d make it with shrimp and pork and chicken all the time. Or at least we’d always make it when we had leftover rice from sushi or Chinese takeout, which was surprisingly often. Nowadays, though, with Trader Joe’s frozen cooked rice (which I highly recommend) we can, in theory make fried rice meals as the main event instead of the spinoff. But we don’t. That’s because, as most of you know by now, we have two miniature egg-o-thropes in the house. And one rice-hater to boot. I’ve spent more hours that I should probably admit, thinking about how to deconstruct this old favorite so that we can all enjoy it in one form or another as a family meal. But as I found out yesterday, some things are just not meant to be. Even quick and easy and cheap and deLISHous meals like this one. Abby ended up having her version as you see below — with pork, rice, and peas that were tossed with soy sauce tableside. Phoebe ended up having…a barbecue pork sandwich on a biscuit and a butter lettuce salad with tomatoes and onions on the side. What was supposed to be quick and easy and delicious became drawn-out and complicated and…delicious. In spite of the drama, I’m giving you the recipe anyway — it’s pretty clear I won’t make it again until the girls are college-bound, but it’s too good a recipe to not share with families who might have better children luck. Who says I don’t do anything nice for you?
Easy Pork Fried Rice
This is just as delicious with chicken, shrimp, or no meat at all. You can also throw in shredded carrots, peppers, pre-cooked broccoli, or whatever vegetable you have lying around.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if necessary
few drops of sesame oil (optional)
1-pound pork tenderloin, cut into bitesize pieces (see photo), preferably room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
6-8 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only) plus more for garnish (optional)
handful frozen peas or sugar snap peas (or both)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (I use Trader Joe’s frozen rice — such a lifesaver!)
2 eggs, whisked
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
If you have a wok, set it over medium-high heat and add oils. (I have a wok, but it’s buried behind 18 boxes in my basement so I usually just end up using my largest skillet.) Add pork and cook 5-6 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a dish.
Turn down heat to medium, add a little more vegetable oil if the pan is dry, and add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook about 1 minute. Mix in rice and peas and turn heat up a bit. Let the rice sizzle and get crispy, about 2 minutes. Push to the side and add eggs, breaking them up and working into the rice mixture as you go.
Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cooked pork. Toss together and serve garnished with more scallions and sesame seeds if you have them.