Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free is being hosted by Iris of The Daily Dietribe this month. She chose to highlight the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or the Lantern Festival. Iris related that when she lived in NYC she used to love going to Chinatown to buy pastries, but that doesn’t work anymore with her current dietary restrictions. In that vein, she asked all of us to cook up our favorite Chinese food or dessert in a way that does work for our needs.
I kept things pretty basic with a fried rice recipe. I did read somewhere (I can’t seem to find it anymore) that foods that are red are served because red is for good luck, so I made sure to include some red bell pepper. Otherwise this is a pretty standard fried rice recipe that can be tailored to fit whatever foods you have on hand.
Bell Pepper and Mushroom Fried Rice
- 2 eggs
- ~2 tablespoons peanut oil or another oil with a high smoke point
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- small knob of ginger, minced
- 4 scallions or green onions, chopped (1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 3-4 cups chilled cooked rice
- 1/4 cup water, sherry, white wine, or shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Beat one of the eggs in a bowl. Add about 1/2 teaspoon oil to the wok. Add the egg and quickly swirl the wok so the egg makes a thin pancake. Allow to set–this should only take a matter of seconds–then flip the egg. After a few more seconds remove the egg from the wok and place on a cutting board. Repeat with the other egg. Roll each egg into a tube and slice. Set aside.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the wok. Add the bell peppers. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the pepper begins to brown around the edges, around 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok. Add the mushrooms. Fry, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, around 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and crushed red pepper. Fry for 30 seconds, then add in the rice, making sure to break up any clumps. Stir well, then fry for a few minutes, until rice is starting to brown.
- Return the peppers, mushrooms, and eggs to wok. Add in the water and tamari. Cook until everything is heated through, a couple minutes. Remove from heat, garnish, and serve.
You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating: Fried rice works best with day-old rice. The rice dries out and is not as sticky. Make rice the day before or make fried rice to use up leftover rice you have sitting around (which is probably how it came about in the first place).
I used brown rice, but white will work equally well. I used 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water. After simmering around 45 minutes, I turned off the heat and placed the lid sideways on the pot. I let the rice sit until it reached room temperature, then refrigerated. It made just shy of 4 cups.
Another general stir-fry tip I’ve mentioned before in the long bean stir fry, is that home stir-frying involves less stirring and more frying. Unless you have a wok burner in your kitchen, you need to give the food some contact with the wok. As the recipe says, stir occasionally, not constantly. (If you do have a wok burner, then let me know when I can come cook for you. ;))
Shaoxing wine is a fermented Chinese rice wine. You’ll probably have to go to an Asian grocer to find it. If you can’t, sherry or dry white wine will do. Or even water.
If you don’t want to bother with the egg pancakes, another option would be to fry the eggs into the rice. Before adding in the peppers and mushrooms, push some of the rice aside to make a spot in the wok, and pour the beaten eggs in. Allow to set, then stir into the rice.