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Turn heat to medium-high depending on your range; you want it to be hot enough to make “cooked” marks on the ingredients, but you do not want anything to burn, including the oil!
I honestly have no idea where I got this wok, but it works wonderfully for cooking “scrambled eggs” and fried rice! I use the spatula shown at the side for pretty much everything in this recipe (spatula sitting on pumpkin “spoon rest!”)
I usually like to add more sesame seeds, but this was all I had left, so I just went with it! Before you add any oil to the wok, as it is heating up, dry “toast” your desired amount of sesame seeds to a light-medium brown; you DO NOT WANT TO BURN THEM AND THEY BURN VERY EASILY SO PLEASE KEEP USING YOUR SPOON OR SPATULA OR TALENTED WRISTS TO KEEP THESE LITTLE GUYS IN MOTION!
Excuse the receipts on my counter! Anyway, after you have toasted sesame seeds to desired level of “crisp,” set them aside on a small plate or whatever you have handy that won’t melt!
Now comes the oil! I prefer “canola” oil just because the contents of “vegetable oil” can be sketchy at best (GMO soy, palm oil, &c. – and yes, I have seen these in “vegetable oil” – but you are free to use whatever kind of oil you like. I also prefer this because it does not burn until it is a very high temperature which makes it a great option for anything “stir-fried” like fried rice! Add just about 1-2 Tbsp into the pan; I kind of “eyeball” everything!
Yeah … probably about 2 Tbsp of oil altogether. The oil should not smoke but should “liquify” enough so that it coats the pan when you twirl the pan using your wrist
I did forget to take some photos of the ingredients before I added them, but this was half of a bag of “Asian Medley” I bought at Aldi’s. It came with “sauce” (some kind of coconut-oil based sauce – it was vegan but I am still not a fan of “sauce” unless I am the one making it, so when I initially cooked these veggies, I just took out the bits that were extra SAUCY and it left me with a pretty good mix of “non-seasoned” carrots, broccoli, peas (in pod), and “baby corn” (honestly, it was mostly carrots, but I love carrots so it was okay with me!) – add to the pan (this was about 1.5-2 cups worth of veggies, thawed / cooked from the day before and left out on the counter for about 15-30 minutes just to get less cold) and “stir-fry” until there is no water left from the veggies and the veggies start to get “char” marks on them
I also had some edamame that were just about to go bad, so I quickly shelled them and added them to the veggie mix in the wok; altogether I’d say it was about 3/4 cup of shelled edamame (unseason, pre-cooked)
Repeat same process as with the veggies; just cook until the water content is more or less out (you don’t want DRY veggies, but you don’t want soggy rice either!) and until you have achieved your “desired” level of “char” on your veggies. *TIP: I also like to use the spatula I have (it has a metal kind of end) to break the veggies into fairly “uniformly” sized pieces just so everything cooks fairly evenly and it makes the finished product more appealing (at least to me!)*
I also forgot to take the “pre-cooked” photo of these mushrooms; I had purchased a box of organic baby skiitake for New Year’s and I had about half a box left; I used half in a previous recipe, so this was about 1/4 box (standard “size” container of mushrooms); PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU WASH YOUR MUSHROOMS! This is a little bit of a PIA with these baby shiitake, but you take a wet paper towel and wipe down the cap of the mushroom; I also like to remove the stems (I don’t like the chewy texture) and I give them a very quick rinse and then dry immediately between layers of paper towel to pull out any extra moisture the “cleaning” might have added – mushrooms are very watery, so please repeat the process here and BE CAREFUL! Mushrooms often spit up fiery spouts of water in hot oily pans, so be careful! Cook until the mushrooms are no longer liquidy and until they are also cooked to your desired level of “stir-friedness!”
Scallions! Yet another leftover from New Year cooking! My *trick* to using scallions is to wash them thoroughly, peel off the “skin” that might be on them (P.S. PLEASE ALWAYS USE ORGANIC SCALLIONS BECAUSE YOU ARE EATING THE OUTSIDE OF THE PRODUCE!*), remove white root end and tough dark green end, and chop the middle bits as finely as you would like. Get a bowl of cool water and place the chopped scallions in the water and let sit for at least 30 minutes before draining and rinsing and letting dry. I do this for 2 reasons – 1. I don’t like the “slimy” bits that come off / out of scallions and 2. my body does not tolerate “raw” onions of ANY KIND; for some reason, soaking them before cooking them does help my body to digest them better as well! I hope that is a helpful tip for those of you out there who love various types of onions like I do but just can’t get your body to like them!
Add the scallions and cook to desired level of “doneness” – this is PERFECT for me!
I also had some tofu left over from New Year’s cooking that I forgot to photograph befehand! At any rate, I like to use FIRM or EXTRA FIRM tofu for stir-fries just because it holds up better when being tossed around so much; this i “Lite Firm.” PLEASE ALSO DO NOT FORGET EVER TO GET NON-GMO WITH YOUR TOFU, YOUR EDAMAME, AND WHATEVER OTHER SOY PRODUCTS YOU USE! I SAY THAT NOT JUST BECAUSE I AM REALLY ANTI-GMO, BUT BECAUSE I HAVE PHYSICALLY BECOME VERY ILL AFTER EATING GMO SOYBEANS (JUST SOYBEANS, SO THERE WERE NO OTHER “FOOD CULPRITS” THAT COULD HAVE MADE ME SICK!)! The tofu does have a tendency to stick to the pan but I do not really mind so much; I try to keep it in the “oil” as much as possible, but I do “deglaze” the bottom of the pan with soy sauce later on, so whatever bits stick to the pan I will eventually get up! I do like to try to get a little bit of “char” on my tofu cubes as well!
When you are “happy” with the level of “cookedness” of the ingredients you have added, take the woke off the heat (leave the heat on!) and prepare your eggs / vegan eggs!
These are the “Vegan Eggs” I have been using – they are actually surprisingly good! When used in stir-fried recipes like this, I would almost guarantee you could convince a non-vegan that these are real eggs! At any rate, for this specific kind of vegan eggs, you have to work quickly both in preparing them (must use icy cold water) and when cooking them. I added a little extra water to mine just because they end up cooking for awhile in the wok / pan.
Put your wok back on the heat / burner and move the previous ingredients to the back of the pan (the area farthest from the heat). Add a little more oil to the front / middle area of the pan and then add your eggs / vegan eggs!
The beginning looks something like this! Using your spatula, “scramble” your eggs / vegan eggs until they are “soft-cooked.”
After the eggs have “cooked,” add the veggies and other ingredients back in to the eggs, using the spatula or other “tool” to chop the eggs into smaller pieces so that everything is fairly “uniform” in size.
Time for the rice! Fried rice is really a way to use up “old rice;” that is, rice that is a day or two old and that has dried up in the refrigerator. I use “Japanese”-style rice, so it is short-grain or medium-grain white rice (this is a short-grain “new crop” rice leftover from the day before). Make sure you have taken this out of the fridge before you start cooking and take the lid / cover off to let the rice come to “room temperature” as much as possible.
Just dump your rice in!
After adding the rice, continue to cook all the ingredients in the pan; use your spatula or whatever cooking tool you are using to use a “chopping” motion to break up the rice in the pan; you really want as much of an “even distribution” of ingredients as possible – no “clumps” of anything which is why removing most of the moisture and letting ingredients come to “room temperature” as much as possible are both important components!
Time to add the soy sauce! In the past, my biggest failure in cooking fried rice has been to add too many flavors (that is, using toasted sesame oil and many different strongly flavored veggies, etc.) – honestly, using a plain oil and whatever soy sauce you prefer is “perfect” seasoning, at least to me and the way I have been “taught” to cook fried rice (I have mentioned elsewhere that both of my roommates were Chinese – the first was an AMAZING fried rice cook, so aiming for that “authentic” kind of flavor has always been my “goal!”). I add about 2 Tbsp of soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium and gluten-free). Just pour it right into the mixture.
What I do at this point is “feel” how wet the mixture seems to be. It should stick together if pushed together but not “clump.” Mine ended up being too wet (too much soy sauce for this particular batch – 2 Tbsp is really a “rough” estimate – I don’t actually “measure” anything). I had some newer rice standing by in case I needed it, so I added additional rice until I achieved the “proper” texture. For me, in a “Japanese”-style fried rice, the mixture should be able to stand if put in a bowl and turned upside-down but it should not be wetter than that and it should not be “drier” than that. If you are cooking with chopsticks, you should be able to pick up a “bite” of fried rice that holds all ingredients together without anything falling out, if that helps!
After achieving the right “texture” and cooking for a few more minutes just to further incorporate all of the ingredients (let the flavors meld together!), I turn off the heat and add the sesame seeds back on top of the fried rice!
This is my “finished” product – “vegan” fried rice! It honestly is incredibly delicious – one of the top 3 fried rices I have had … ever. I hope this recipe translates and others can try this because it is a great way to use up whatever you have in your fridge that is about to go bad as well as a great way to use up “old” rice! You can add whatever you like – play around with the ingredients (back before I was vegan, my aforementioned roommate used to make fried rice with tins of BBQ eel her parents had sent her and it was SO GOOD! Use whatever ingredients you like – if you follow this “basic” formula, I think it should work just fine!) – and see what works for you! I would have liked to have added more sesame seeds (or perhaps used a DROP or two of toasted sesame oil IN the canola oil), but this really turned out to be incredibly delicious – and healthy – and vegan! Furthermore, although it looks like a lot of steps, if you have all of the ingredients already “prepared” as I have here (mostly because they were leftovers!), it really doesn’t take very long to make – 20 minutes at most! Please do not forget to make the rice in advance; if you forget to make rice before you intend to make fried rice, I have also found that you can cook rice with a little less water (cook it on the “dry” side) and just let it sit out for a little while uncovered to dry out a bit.
As an added bonus, you can see the amount of room I was able to clear out of my previously bursting-at-the-seams fridge just by tossing in my leftovers! Fried rice like this is also super delicious the next day for any meal – I admit I do like to eat it cold for breakfast!