Becky Krystal for The Washington Post
The curse of the takeout box of rice: If you’re anything like me, you know it well. Shoved toward the back of your fridge – “Oh, I’ll use it later!” you promise yourself – it languishes, unused, unloved, its red pagoda and admonition of “ENJOY” glaring at you like some scarlet letter.
Then, weeks pass until you unearth it, long after its useful life is up.
Guilt, frustration, the haunting of meals uneaten, all of it bubbles to the surface. But no more!
After years of telling myself I would repurpose the extras, I now feel confident I will, because this dish is one of my favourite things I’ve made and eaten lately.
The “fresh” fried rice you get from your local carryout is often so underwhelming.
No surprise, homemade is better (and can even use up the bits and pieces of other dishes, too).
1⁄4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed, canola, peanut or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
One 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root, minced (1 tablespoon)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (peeled or scrubbed well; 1/2 cup)
1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1⁄4 cup fresh or frozen green peas, defrosted
2 cups cold cooked rice
1⁄4 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1⁄2 tablespoons soy sauce
1⁄4 cup pine nuts, almonds, peanuts or cashews, toasted
Heat a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. When a few drops of water flicked over the surface evaporate in a second or two, the skillet is at the right temperature.
Swirl in 2 tablespoons of the oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs and tilt the skillet so that they spread, covering the surface like a crepe.
Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until it's just set. Use a thin spatula and flip the eggs over; cook for 5 seconds to make sure they are thoroughly cooked through.
Slide the eggs onto a cutting board, then cut into strips.
Wipe the skillet clean, then return it to medium-high heat. Repeat the water test to make sure the skillet heat is the right temperature.
Pull the skillet off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling the pan to coat the bottom and sides. (If the oil begins to smoke, the skillet is too hot.
Let it cool for a few minutes, wipe it clean, wash and start again.)
With the skillet back over medium-high heat, add the ginger and crushed red pepper flakes; stir-fry for 10 seconds, or just until fragrant.
Add the carrots; stir-fry for 30 seconds, or until they turn a brighter shade of orange. Add the corn and peas; stir-fry for 1 minute.
Make a small clearing in the center of the pan and pour the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil into the skillet, then swirl to distribute.
Add the rice and scallions; stir-fry for 2 minutes, breaking up the rice with a spatula until the rice is heated through. Season with the salt and white pepper.
Pour the soy sauce around the edges of the skillet, then stir-fry to incorporate it.
Return the cooked egg to the skillet, along with the nuts, if using, tossing to incorporate. Stir-fry just until the egg is just warmed through.
Serve right away.
Adapted from a recipe by cookbook author Grace Young posted on TheKitchn.com.