Healthy alternative to Chinese takeout

Making chicken fried rice is an easy feat and a great way (ahem, or excuse) to clean out your fridge. It’s one of those throw-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-into-the-pot kind of recipes, but one of its pitfalls remains: it’s notorious for not being very healthy.

This is an adaptation from “Cook This! Not That,” a great book from the makers of the very popular “Eat This! Not That,” series. Similar to their trademark way of offering readers safe routes by pinpointing healthier alternatives on menus and advice on dining at fast food joints, this new line of books offers healthy ways to cook some previously notorious heavy or rich foods.

This recipe packs in a lot of vegetables —- marking a departure from the usual fried rice dishes you can find in most restaurants —- and trades white rice for brown rice. The amount of soy sauce is significantly smaller but I’m guilty of adding an extra tablespoon when I make a lot (which I do often, especially for big gatherings). This would work well paired with a main dish but with so many veggies and even some eggs, it’s hearty and filling enough to enjoy all on its own.

So take the book’s advice (and of course, my own) and skip Panda Express next time you’re at the mall and try making this at home instead.

Chicken Fried Rice

Serves: 4

Adapted from “Cook This! Not That.”

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 scallions, green and white parts separated, chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets

2 cups shiitake or white button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced

½ pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into thin bite-size pieces. (You can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts.)

4 cups cooked brown rice (Leftover rice works great.)

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 eggs, lightly beaten.

1.Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a wok or a large nonstick skillet. When the oil is slightly smoking, add the scallion whites, ginger, and garlic and cook for 30 to 45 seconds.

2. Add the zucchini, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms next and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Use a spatula to stir the vegetables throughout.

3. Add the chicken and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pieces are no longer pink.

4. Stir in the rice and soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the rice to get crispy on the bottom.

5. Create an empty space in the center of the pan and add the eggs. Use a spoon or the spatula to quickly scramble the eggs until light and fluffy. Afterwards, stir in the rest of the ingredients. Serve garnished with the scallion greens. Enjoy.

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Healthy alternative to Chinese takeout