Asparagus Fried Rice (VG, GF)
Serves 4. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

When asparagus is abundant in the spring, this quick stir-fry makes a light, flavorful rice dish. For any kind of fried rice, make rice a few hours or a day ahead. Use slightly less water than recommended on the packet if you have soaked the rice. As soon as the rice is ready, immediately take it out of the pot and spread it out on a tray or wide bowl, fluffing and separating the grains with a fork. Let the rice cool uncovered to room temperature. Then chill the rice, covered, in the fridge for several hours. Use well-chilled rice for the stir-fry to get separate grains that retain texture. Generally, one cup of raw long grain rice will yield approximately 3 cups of cooked rice.

We use basmati rice. It is first soaked for at least 30 minutes in cold water, then rinsed thoroughly till the water runs clear. The drained rice is cooked with a little salt in 1 ½ cups of water (for 1 cup of dry rice). Brown rice is also deliciously nutty and toothsome.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 10 scallions/green onions cleaned, trimmed, and finely sliced (whites and greens)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger or to taste
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped asparagus (cut off woody stems—try buying a pound of asparagus and depending on you will get about 1 ½ to 2 cups of finely chopped asparagus if it is not too woody)
  • 3 cups chilled cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons good Indian sesame oil (we like Bansi), optional
  • hot sauce/sambal olek on the side
Steps
  1. Use a large wok, skillet, or a 4 quart pot. Heat the pot and add the oil.
  2. To the hot oil, add the scallion and ginger. On medium heat, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the asparagus and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes till crispy tender.
  4. Add the rice and salt, stir, and cover. Heat on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring a couple of times to make sure nothing sticks and burns and to ensure even cooking.
  5. Drizzle the sesame oil, if using, gently stir. Serve the rice hot with hot sauce on the side for those who like it spicy.

To make it a complete meal with protein, add a cup or more of shelled edamame defrosted, along with the asparagus. Add more salt, ginger, and oil for the edmame. The rice can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave. Make extra and pack some for a delicious and nutritious lunch.