Vegetable fried rice has been my favorite since I discovered the only Chinese restaurant in my little home town about 15 years ago.
I liked fried rice for two main reasons: it was cheap and it was delicious.
So I would go there with my friends and we would share a big plate of fried rice. 4 people. One dish. 4 plates. Not only all of us had to count our last coins to pay, we also never left any tip.
I repeat – 15 years old. I strongly believe the waiters there detested us.
Back then, at the age of 15, when internet was not full of recipes and I lead a quite happy social life in front of the TV, watching telenovelas and MTV, I had my first try at making what I hoped to resemble Chinese fried rice.
No luck there. The rice was sticky and bland and nobody would eat it.
About 15 tries after I still didn’t manage to make something edible. But I knew that one day, I will.
More than 10 years after, I am in this big city with access to all kinds of foods and to all kinds of cuisines.
The last time when I was in a Chinese restaurant to have vegetable fried rice and some dumplings, the people working there were quite unfriendly. I don’t know if it’s the theme of the restaurant and they actually have to greet everyone with the song “F*** you” by Lilly Allen, but they were just incredibly rude. The waiter didn’t even want to give me a plate for myself, because I was sharing a dish with my friend. Then he threw the menu in my face and he said – In yo face! Can you imagine? What a douche. Okay, he didn’t say “in yo face”. Not in English, or in any other language I would understand at least. Nevertheless they cook like they’re sent from some kitchen heaven.
As happy as I was with the dish, this just isn’t the way you treat someone who’s nice to you and is on top paying you for your service.
So I promised myself that I would never get back to that Chinese restaurant, ever again.
Quite like when Scarlett O’Hara held that carrot in the air and promised herself to never be hungry again. Can you picture it? Me with a fork in the Chinese restaurant (cause I can’t use sticks), saying – “I’m never coming back here again”! I know, it’s like you’re there, right? Are you mouthing the words right now?
I had also made a pact with myself on not being hungry a loooong time ago. Mrs. O’Hara, I like your style! No wonder we share the same birthday!
I think people in the restaurant were looking and pointing fingers at me. I also pointed one finger at them. Guess which one? You got it – it was the thumb up. It’s good to be center of attention from time to time.
So I went home with my belly full and head held up high (as far as my turtle posture allows me to do that).
Since I was rebelling and whining for weeks against this unfriendliness, unforgivable rudeness and all the physical abuse at the Chinese restaurant, I decided I will have to finally learn to make my own vegetable fried rice.
I’m not a little scared 15 year old with limited access to food any more!
So I was up for the challenge. China, here I come!
Of course I couldn’t leave this dish like that – I mean, that’s it? Vegetable fried rice? As in vegetables with rice? That’s not the best it could be.
There were a few things I wanted to fix about this dish: 1. rice and 2. fried.
There’s not much going for white rice, honestly – not much fiber, not much phytochemicals, I have to also cook it and leave it for a year to chill…What a mess.
So I substituted it with my Bulgur friend. It’s high in iron, fiber, doesn’t even need cooking, it doesn’t stick together and I can even decide to cook it spontaneously, as it’s not needed for it to be chilled over night or decades.
Isn’t that the dream?
Bulgur won my heart many years ago, even though it’s not gluten-free and fancy.
And what’s up with stir-frying? Well there’s not much to do about it – except shorter cooking times and less oil. Plus I added most of the veggies like always at the end of cooking – after heat is turned off to keep all the good nutrients fresh and going.
This is probably not the healthiest Beauty Bites recipe, because of the oil quantities, but it’s still very much beautifying, as it uses a lot of different vegetables, which work really well in this dish.
High Protein: Thanks to the eggs, bulgur and peas it’s a high protein recipe – complete protein not only from eggs, but also from the combination of peas and bulgur. That’s good news for your skin and for your muscles. What a nice outcome, huh?
High Fiber: I cannot stop bragging about bulgur. He’s got more fiber, than Facebook has fake profiles. And with cabbage, broccoli, carrots, peas, onions and peppers, this dish is on fibre! Soluble or insoluble, you name it – it’s got both. And as we already know – fiber helps us get rid of toxins. So say bye bye to toxins, wrinkles and dullness in your life and skin!
Antioxidants: We’ve all heard of them – those little heavenly antioxidants. Guardian angels they are indeed. And Yoda, I am, indeed. Antioxidants protect us from developing all kinds of diseases around the clock.
This vegetable fried bulgur is simply packed with them, as there are so many in every single plant. Yes as shocking as it is, Vitamin C is not the only antioxidant molecule on Earth.
And this meal is almost only plants, so you do the math. Antioxidants protect not only against diseases (also of the skin), but also fight wrinkles and aging.
- 1cup bulgur, coarse
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 carrot
- 1 pepper
- 1 cup cabbage - chopped
- handful shiitake mushrooms
- 3 tbsp soy sauce, I used low sodium
- 4 tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
- Prepare your bulgur: boil water and soak 1 cup of dried bulgur in a pot with a lid for around 10 minutes. You would need to cover the bugur with the boiling water, so around 1 part bulgur to 1 1/2 parts water.
- Chop onion, garlic, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and measure one cup of peas.
- In a large nonstick pan with a lid put some olive oil and scrumble the eggs. When they're ready - add some more oil in the pan, add onion, garlic, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and peas. Stir in well for 1-2 minutes, then cover with the lid and let cook for about 5-8 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and stir from time to time, if you need to.
- In the mean time chop broccoli, carrot and some cilantro.
- After the 5 minutes cooking time, add the soaked bulgur (should now be ready). Stir in, add olive oil and the soy sauce. Stir for around 3 minutes.
- Turn off heat, add the broccoli, carrots, pepper and cilantro and stir. Cover the lid for 2-3 minutes and you're ready.
vegetarian, nut-free, dairy-free
Now I’ll head to the kitchen to try and make some dumplings.