The Kitchen Alchemist: Fried Rice and Vegetables

April 1, Feast of St. Hugh of Grenoble, who lived in a Carthusian monastery for a time, whose rule forbids the eating of meat.  Once he found the monks assembled in the rectory with nothing to eat but fowl.  St. Hugh made the sign of the cross, and the fowl miraculously changed into turtles.  A fitting tale for Lent.

"In which I try to make healthful, affordable, easy meals:
in other words, throwing together ingredients in hopes of creating gold."

If you're just joining us, the idea for this continuing series is outlined very somberly here.  If you're new, it may or may not also be useful to know that during Lent, I give up all animal products except for fish on weekends.  Hence the extreme simplicity of the meal.  (Also, I'm a lazy creative cook.)

This meal was scrapped together from leftover rice and vegetables and turned out very well.  My favorite thing to do is to throw things together in a pan with oil.  So that worked out nicely.  Since they were leftovers, all I had were carrots and potatoes, but a more traditional recipe would use peas and other vegetables.

I always start my "stir-fry" with a glob of oil and chopped garlic.  Then I add onions, and that makes the base.  Since the carrots and potatoes had already been boiled the night before, they didn't need to be cooked through; I just browned them a bit in the pan.  Then I added a bit more oil and the rice--which, again, was already cooked.  It took about twenty minutes for the rice to fry up how I like it, but it was a pretty hands-off twenty minutes.

Vegetables taste especially nice with Worcester sauce (see my "You Know You're in Wales When" segment here), but the fish ingredient means I can't have it on weekdays.  Instead, I used vegan-friendly salt and chutney to punch up the flavor.  We ate it with salad greens and drank cherry brandy for dessert.  It was popular with our friend Glyn, who is joining the Eastern Orthodox Church this Easter, and so can't have animal products either.

Glyn, Afon, and Rupert having fun after dinner.

Report card time:

Time  //  B

Ease  //  A

Presentation  //  B+

Affordability  //  A

Health  //  A

Taste  //  B+

The time would have gotten a B+ or A- because it was pretty effortless, but I took into consideration that it only works if you have leftovers.  If you try this or something similar, let me know.



  1. nice!!!! must feel good to have your lenten fare that you have been wishing for! :) good to have friends for your family also... :)

  2. I like to throw a bit of ginger in with the garlic and just season with soy sauce. If you are making from scratch, sauteeing the rice for a few minutes before boiling helps it hold up on the frying pan. After Lent, if you eat pork, it's a very yummy add-in.

  3. You and I have the same approach to cooking, and I DO think it's creative! I particularly love to figure out how to make tasty "mezclas" out of whatever is available from the garden or the refrigerator. Here in Mexico the secret ingredient is generally home-made salsa.


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