Last fall, while I was deep in the trenches of recipe testing for my book, I found myself frequently confounded by dinner.
Now you might think that, after 12 hours of recipe testing, dinner would be totally easy because I’d just serve the recipe tested food to my family, right?
It rarely worked out so conveniently. Oh, sure, the kids would have been totally fine eating nothing but three versions of pound cake for days on end, but mom guilt whispered in my ear that some kind of real dinner was probably prudent.
Which is how we came to eat Egg Rice at least once a week for months on end. My kids love this dinner, and it’s just about as fast and as cheap and as easy as real food gets.
Egg Rice is just Fried Rice, but we go super heavy on the egg so it’s more filling. It’s not an official term or anything – that’s just what we call this dish in my family.
How fast is Egg Rice? Well, a few days ago we were all playing the board game Forbidden Island – great family tabletop game. Everyone realized they were hungry, and I had cooked rice in the fridge. I played my turn, got up from the table, made Egg Rice, came back to the table and it had just become my turn again.
You don’t need a recipe. Don’t worry – you really don’t.
Here’s how you do it.
For each hungry belly you need 1 to 2 cups of cooked rice and about 2 eggs. You can use brown rice, white rice, short grain, long grain – this is not a dish of precision. Day-old rice is best, but I’ve used fresh cooked rice too and it’s fine.
If you have a big handful of something green, like cabbage or kale, that’s a good addition. Kids always like carrots and broccoli. Just add what you have on hand.
Trim and chop up any veggies you’re rescuing from the back of the crisper drawer. Whisk the eggs together in a big bowl. You want everything ready to go before you start.
Get a generous dollop of fat (I use bacon grease, but whatever you like that can stand up to high heat cooking is fine) all sizzly in a big hot wok or big ol’ skillet.
If you’re adding in firm veggies like carrots, add these first and cook until they are firm-tender, a minute or two.
Throw the rice into the hot fat and break it up, so that each grain gets coated with a little fat. Let the rice cook until toasty, then shove all the rice out to the edges of your wok or skillet, so you make something that looks like a rice-donut.
If the center of your wok is dry, blob a bit more bacon grease or oil down in there, and pour in your eggs. Very important! Don’t stir right away. Just let the bottom of your eggs set up, then scrape the set part of the egg towards the edge, so uncooked egg can flow down onto the wok.
Some of the egg will stick to the rice, and that’s fine. But most should form distinct little scrambled egg curds. Keep doing this until most of the egg is cooked, then toss the egg and rice together in the wok.
Put your handful of green leafy stuff in the wok if using, and drizzle a little bit of soy sauce and generous squeeze of toasted sesame oil over everything. Stir, stir, stir until the greens are bright and the rice has absorbed the soy sauce.
Taste, adjust seasoning with a bit more soy if needed, and serve hot in wide bowls. I always spoon some garlic chili paste over mine.
That’s it! Good, fast, cheap.1