Long days at work really hamper my desire to prepare elaborate meals. On days like these, all I want is to go home and have dinner on the table in less than half an hour. A one-pot meal, even better. Fortunately, I’ve learned to stock up my pantry/fridge with items that are easy to prepare. Rice and pasta are always a good bet since they are so adaptable to many different preparations.
Last night, a rice dish just sounded good. My fridge was unusually low on veggie inventory but I was able to supplement with some frozen soybean mix from Trader Joe’s. My protein of choice was a can of tuna in olive oil, also from Trader Joe’s. This may sound weird to you but it’s actually good. I used to keep the stuff in my pantry for a pasta dish but a few years ago, I tried it on rice and I haven’t looked back. Plus, I get to use my great big cast iron skillet that is so perfect for stir frying rice.
The dish is also made better with the addition of sumac, a mildly lemony spice that is more common in Arabic/Middle Eastern cuisine. I’ll post on this lovely spice separately as I think it complements many dishes so nicely. Here’s roughly what I used for last night’s dinner but don’t quote me on the proportions–as usual, I didn’t measure.
Weekday Fried Rice
- About three cups cold, cooked rice (use brown or white; I just happened to have white rice already cooked)
- 1 can tuna in olive oil (Tofu or bacon will work well, too)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- About 1/4 – 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3 cloves chopped fresh garlic
- 3/4 cup frozen veggies (I used the soybean mix that has corn and red peppers this time. Feel free to use other fresh veggies.)
- Soy Sauce, to taste
- Olive oil
- Sumac, a couple of pinches (Optional)
- Sambal oelek and vinegar (Optional) (I always sprinkle some type of condiment to my rice dishes)
Heat very little olive oil in a pan and add the celery first to give it a head start. After a couple of minutes, add the onions and cook on medium heat until both the celery and the onions brown a little, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and after a minute, toss in the frozen veggies.
After the frozen veggies have defrosted in the pan, add the tuna, including the olive oil. You’ll need this extra oil in order to stir fry the rice. Toss in the rice and stir fry for a few minutes. You can also add about a tablespoon or two of soy sauce and a couple of pinches of sumac if you have it. I like for my rice to be a little toasted so I let it cook in the pan for a couple of minutes longer. Done.