Our “Cooking for Two” series is all about those of us who love good food but need smaller batches. Maybe you’re single, or coupled but with no kids (no kids, before kids, after kids). Whatever the reason, you don’t necessarily want a lot of leftovers hanging around. We had you in mind when we developed these recipes.
I love Indian flavors, and vegetables, and healthy meals! So, this Indian-style fried rice is right up my alley.
This recipe takes a detour from traditional fried rice, the well-known Chinese invention of leftover rice and vegetables cooked in a wok with some scrambled eggs in the mix.
Here you start with onion, ginger, garlic, and leftover rice, and so far, you’re in the ballpark of the original. But that’s where the similarity ends. Cumin, turmeric, chickpeas, tomatoes, and shredded kale add a different twist. The egg (optional) goes on top of, not in, the rice.
This dish gets bonus points for being quick and easy. If you want a dish that’s more veg than rice, use one cup of rice, but if you’re extra hungry, add more rice to taste. And yes, it can be doubled.
What Is the Best Rice for Fried Rice?
The best rice for fried rice remains the same: leftover cooked rice. I prefer basmati rice, but you can use any rice you have on hand, including brown rice. Leftover rice usually dries out a little, so the grains stay separate when you stir-fry them.
If you don’t have cooked rice on hand, make it with a little bit less water—for one cup of rice, you could subtract two tablespoons from the amount of water recommended in the cooked rice recipe. Be sure to let it steam for 10 minutes after cooking so the grains separate, and the rice isn’t clumpy.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric, like ginger, is a flowering plant, with rhizomes (thick root stalks) that are used fresh, or dried and ground into powder.
It is bright yellow with an earthy, sometimes bitter flavor and is often a component of curry powder. It has been used throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East for centuries.
The bright color can stain your hands and your aprons, so be prepared to handle with care or treat stains by dabbing with a solution of cool water and soap. Even better, soak linens or dishtowels in a mild bleach solution or white vinegar for 20 minutes or longer as soon as you notice the stain. Then wash in cool water and soap.
Swaps and Substitutions
If you don’t have kale, you could substitute just about any sturdy leafy green you have in your fridge. Stir in leftover vegetables like broccoli or zucchini, or add grated carrots or cabbage if that’s what you have. Like most fried rice recipes, this one is adaptable to what you have on hand.
Tips for Fried Rice Ahead of Time
The rice will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing this dish since it loses some of its verve, but if you do, let it cool completely before packaging it in airtight freezer bags.
Remove it from the freezer and steam it in a container with a lid set askew in the microwave.
More Great Fried Rice Recipes
- Easy Pork Fried Rice with Frozen Vegetables
- Easy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
- Ginger Pineapple Fried Rice
Turmeric Fried Rice With Eggs and Kale
- For the rice:
- 1/2 bunch Lacinato or dino kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup rinsed and drained chickpeas (about half of a 15-ounce can)
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 to 2 cups cooked basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- For the eggs:
- 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
Finely slice the kale:
On a cutting board, stack the kale leaves and cut across them to finely shred them, including the thinner stems. Set aside.
Sauté the onions and spices:
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the chopped onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until aromatic.
Cook the kale:
Add 1/4 cup water, kale, and the salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale wilts.
Stir in the rice:
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cooked rice, and lemon juice to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until hot. Taste and add more salt, if you’d like. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside while you fry the eggs.
Cook the eggs:
In a non-stick skillet with a lid, over low heat, melt the butter or heat the oil. Break the eggs into the skillet and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until all but a thin rim of egg white around each yolk is opaque. Remove the pan from the heat, keep covered, and let sit for about 30 seconds to finish cooking. (See here for more details.)
Divide the fried rice between 2 bowls. Top each with a fried egg if desired, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.