Polynesian-Style Fried Brown Rice
Like most fried rice, this recipe is completed in two steps - cooking the rice and cooling it, then frying it with the other ingredients. To make things easier, we bake the rice ahead of time in the oven, a recommendation we learned from Alton Brown. We used a combination of orange juice, chicken broth, chunks of ginger and sesame oil to give the rice plenty of flavor, even before frying. Brown rice has a resilient texture that makes it our favorite choice for this dish but if you prefer white rice, by all means use it - it wouldn't compromise the finished product at all.
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Vegetable or peanut oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons soy or fish sauce
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the brown rice in a shallow 3-quart casserole or 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add the chicken broth, orange juice and sesame oil. Smash the ginger pieces with the side of a large knife to help release the flavor, then add them to the rice. Stir once and cover tightly. Bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the oven, fluff with a fork and cool completely, about 90 minutes.
Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat and fry the bacon until just barely crisp. Raise the heat to high and add about 1/2 of the rice. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, tossing constantly with a spatula. Make a well in the center of the rice, add a bit of oil, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent and combine with the rice thoroughly.
Once again, make a well in the center of the rice and add a little more oil. Start adding the remaining rice in small increments, continually stir frying until all the rice is heated through and golden brown.
Make another well in the center of the rice and add the egg. Cook until set, scramble and distribute throughout the rice. Stir in the pineapple and soy (or fish) sauce, mix thoroughly and serve.
Makes 8 servings
You can easily cook the rice a day in advance and refrigerate it until ready to stir fry. Just break up the cold clumps with your fingers before using.