Basil Fried Rice with Roasted Zucchini

Remember, there are no rules to cooking. Substitute the zucchini for other vegetables if preferred or use a mix of vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, or broccoli would all work although cook the mushrooms and broccoli in a pan rather than in the oven to avoid overcooking/burning). Cut vegetables however you like to eat them – some like large chunks, others enjoy slices, others need it all the same size – just make it thick enough so it can absorb the flavors and cook through without becoming overcooked or dried out. Use whatever seasoning you have on hand – even salt and pepper alone with some onion and garlic, will be tasty. Umami seasoning and sesame oil is a game changer for Asian-inspired dishes and a little goes a long way for both. My basil is currently thriving in my herb garden so I have been adding it to everything, but if you do not have any, it can easily be skipped – you can sprinkle oregano instead or use cilantro.

Ingredients

  • brown basmati rice
  • zucchini
  • basil
  • sweet peppers
  • serrano pepper
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • umami seasoning
  • red chili pepper
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • red thai curry sauce
  • coconut milk

Steps

  1. Measure out 1/2c brown basmati rice. Rinse. Add to pot. Add 1 1/4c water. Bring to boil.
  2. Cut zucchini into 1/2-inch thick quarters — bakes fastest this way while keeping its bite
  3. Season zucchini – I used pepper, cumin, ancho chili powder (skip salt while cooking zucchini as it can draw out the moisture and make it shrivel quickly – salt once cooked). Toss with olive oil or avocado oil. For one whole zucchini, 1/4 tsp of each seasoning + 1 Tbsp oil is sufficient.
  4. Bake zucchini at 400ºF for 8 minutes (or you can skip to step 9 and cook it on the stove)
  5. Rice should be at a boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until done.
  6. Prep ingredients for the basil rice: 3 sweet peppers (or bell pepper), 1/4 medium red onion (any onion works), garlic (chopped = 1 Tbsp), ginger (grated = 2 tsp), 1 serrano pepper (chopped or sliced), handful basil (leaves removed from stems)
  7. Heat a small wok over med-high flame. Add oil (any will do, little goes a long way). Stir fry onions and sweet peppers until onion translucent. Add garlic and cook for additional 3 mins. Add ginger and mix. Add cooked rice.
  8. Season the rice with 2-3 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp Umami seasoning, pinch red chili pepper (more if desired). Mix together in wok. Add basil and allow to wilt.
  9. Heat a separate small pan. Add the zucchini until heated through (if it has cooled from the oven or if using leftover vegetables from the fridge or if cooking it from scratch). Add 1 Tbsp red curry paste and 1/3c coconut milk and stir for about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add basil and mix until basil wilts. Done.
  10. I meant to photograph and eat the dish in a civilized manner: separated somewhat, taking bites of each (and beautiful photos of the separate dishes) — however, I was very hungry and in my haste and hunger, mixed it all together and it turned out delicious. This made two servings (or maybe one large hearty meal). Top with sesame seeds or wonton strips or sriracha or eat as is.

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