Loaded with vegetables, Indian fried rice is a hearty one-dish-meal that gets better the next day. It is perfect for packing into lunches and reheating at work.
April is the awkward 12-year-old of months. It doesn’t quite know what it wants to be yet.
Is it still winter?
Or is it spring?
In the middle of its tweendom, it just can’t quite decide.
Last Saturday was one of those perfect spring days that felt like the earth was giving us a surprise party. After months of being shut inside or drowning in coats and scarves, the thermostat on the sun finally turned up.
It was time at last to throw open the windows and break out the short sleeves.
David and I spent the day with friends at a park, watching children playing on swings and slides. Then we relaxed on the porch outside, sipping on tall glasses of ice water.
Then yesterday I looked out the window at the very slow moving spring rain. I deduced after a squint or two that it was actually not rain at all and instead was… snow.
Not much snow.
Not enough to stick.
Just enough snow to be insulting to the daffodils that had only just started to show their yellowy heads.
But April is like that. You’re hungry for farmers markets with their sweet carrots, ripe bell peppers, and spring peas. But the winter-coat-weather doesn’t always get the memo.
So it takes a bit of compromise. No longer wanting to be weighed down by heavy stews, something refreshing and light is in order. But still substantial and warming enough in case that light spring rain decides to go in an icier direction.
Indian fried rice
Today’s light & filling Indian Fried Rice is just the ticket for that.
It’s called fried rice. But very little oil is involved.
In fact, most of the flavor happens with fresh cilantro, lightly sautéed garlic and ginger. Plus, spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric that have been pulled through the dish by deglazing with lime juice and a bit of water.
Loaded with vegetables, this is a hearty one-dish-meal that gets better the next day and is perfect for an easy vegan packed lunch. Just re-heat and eat at work.
The raisins dotting the top give it an edge of sweetness. I highly recommend adding the optional peanuts or cashews for a bit of salty crunch.
Indian fried rice can be tweaked, depending on the vegetables you have on hand. Just remember to sauté hardy vegetables earlier in the cooking time and lighter vegetables a little later on. That way they don’t overcook and get mushy.
For a full meal, serve Indian fried rice with vegetable samosas and apple chutney for dipping. I like to buy samosas in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. They’re one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products.
Light & Filling Indian Fried Rice
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil divided
- ½ cup yellow onion roughly chopped in medium sized pieces
- 1 medium sized carrot chopped in small to medium sized pieces
- 1 cup cauliflower broken or chopped into small to medium sized florets
- ½ cup peas fresh or frozen
- ¾ cup red bell pepper roughly chopped in medium sized pieces
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups cooked long grain brown rice cold from the refrigerator
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- Salt to taste
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- Optional topping: Handful of roasted peanuts or cashews
- Bring a large skillet to a medium heat and add ½ teaspoon organic canola oil to the pan.
- Add onion to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Add carrots, cauliflower, and peas to the pan. Continue sautéing for about 7 minutes, until the cauliflower and carrots have softened but still have bite. Using a spatula, stir the vegetables occasionally.
- Lower the heat and add red bell pepper. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Clear a small area in the pan and add the remaining ½ teaspoon organic canola oil. In that small spot, sauté garlic and ginger for a minute or so, until fragrant.
- Add the cooked long grain brown rice to the pan along with lime juice, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and salt. Fully combine the rice and vegetables.
- Add water by the tablespoonful until all of the spices are evenly incorporated across the rice. Just use the amount of water needed to deglaze the pan (removing any spices that are stuck to the pan).
- Stir in raisins and continue cooking a minute or so until warmed.
- Stir cilantro into the rice just before serving and top with a handful of roasted peanuts or cashews, if using.