Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
Unlike some cookbook authors, I don’t share the idealistic vision that being able to cook a variety of traditional take-out foods will near-eliminate one’s need to go out to eat. When I go out to eat, it’s rarely because I crave something I couldn’t figure out how to make at home. Instead, it’s because I’m craving something I don’t trust myself to make at home (like sushi) or, more often, because I want to get out of my apartment and I don’t feel like cooking! Eating out less requires a change in mentality and social patterns more than it does an expanded repertoire of recipes.
That said, it’s enormously satisfying, when one has the energy and motivation to cook to be able to replicate the flavors of delicious take-out! Better yet, you can tweak the dishes according to your tastes and dietary preferences. My shrimp fried rice isn’t the healthiest dinner choice ever, but I know exactly how much oil is in it, how fresh the shrimp are, and what sorts of vegetables I’ll get in it.
I’m fond of fried rice since it lends itself well to cupboard adventures; I can throw in nearly any vegetable or meat I have on hand. I’ve made fried rice dozens of times, and even when working with few ingredients, the result was always tasty. As long as you don’t burn it, it’s a forgiving dish.
Some recipes call for adding cooked scrambled eggs, but I like to make it all in one frying pan. It means I don’t get the little, well-defined pieces of scrambled egg throughout like you see from some take-out places, but you do get a bit of the egg flavor and texture with each bite – which I love!
Shrimp Fried Rice
1 carrot, diced
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2” fresh ginger root, grated
2 cups cooked rice (I used jasmine brown rice)
4 oz cooked & deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 eggs, beaten
Bring the sesame oil to medium heat in a nonstick frying pan. Add the carrot and white sections of the scallions. Saute for 4 minutes; add the ginger and cook, stirring often, for one more minute. Add the rice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, shrimp, and green parts of the scallions. Mix together, keeping the heat on medium. Finally, add the eggs and cook, stirring constantly to distribute it throughout the fried rice, until all of the eggs are cooked fully (when they are no longer runny or gooey at all).
Makes two main dish sized servings.
Cost per serving: $1.60
Nutrition per serving: 422 calories, 8.5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 59g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 24g protein