12 December 2011

Broccoli Fried Rice

"Broccoli" is such a weird word. Where the hell did it come from? Oh, Italian. Thanks, Wikipedia! Anyway, broccoli's a weird plant too. It looks like a bunch of trees stuck together; that's why the Italian word is plural. No wonder most children don't want to eat it--it belongs in the uncanny valley of foods.

I remember the first time I really enjoyed broccoli. In sixth grade everyone had to take Home Economics for about six weeks. At that time my cooking could best be described as hilarious. Home Ec straightened me out. I developed a lot of my food preferences during those six brief weeks, including which apples or cheeses I liked the most, that I hate cooking with raw animals, that cheese cake has way too much cream cheese in it, that I hate meringue and marzipan and rocky road pizza, and that I LOVE LOVE LOVE stir-fries (and soy sauce).

My stir-fry had crispy stalks of broccoli, water chestnuts, and baby corn and it was Totally Freaking Awesome. I was so proud of myself as I munched the miraculous goodness all the way home. If you have children who are vegetable averse, teach them to make a nice Chinese stir-fry and watch them poke around at all the curious little treasures they find in their tasty food.

This dish is in memory of you, Home Ec.

Broccoli Fried Rice
Serves 4 or 5.

1 head of broccoli, washed
12 fresh shiitake mushrooms or 8 oz. of any old mushroom, washed, destemmed, and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 Cup or so cold-leftover rice
soy sauce (GF optional)
juice of 1 lime

  1.  Slice the head of broccoli in half so that the florets have a much shorter stem. Separate the florets with your knife. Slice them lengthwise into quarters. Meanwhile, slice off the tough outer skin of the stem half. Cut the stem into 2-inch matchsticks quartered lengthwise.
  2. Heat up a medium-large or large frypan with some vegetable oil. Pour in all the broccoli. Sauté about 8 minutes on medium heat or until cooked through and delightfully crisp. Remove from frypan and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium heat until they release their juices. Season with soy sauce. Push to the side of the pan.
  4. Add the beaten egg and keep bothering it in the for about 40 seconds until it becomes not-quite-set scrambled eggs. Push to another side of the pan.
  5. Add rice.  If it remains clumped together and too dry, add up to 1/2 Cup of water. Break it up with your spatula-turner. When it seems like a good texture and not too wet, season with soy sauce. 
  6. Add the garlic. Return the broccoli to the pan. Heat through and mix everything together for about 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Remove from heat. Squeeze lime juice over everything. Serve piping hot and watch those little imps scarf it down.

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