Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice

I witnessed something yesterday that compelled me to post something that was NON-ANIMAL:

At stoplights, most people will chat on the phone, daydream or play air drum to the radio. Me? I sit there and rehearse different apologies to say to my kids’ daycare teachers, “I am SO sorry Mrs. so-and-so….my Mom warned if I ate too many spicy chilies during my pregnancy that my kids would turn out the same…sadly, I did not listen.”

For those of you who have small “energetic” children, I doubt I need to explain that having not one but TWO 3-foot tall firecrackers is like a cowboy trying to walk with 30-pound spurs on each leg….


But they MUST be good kids at school, otherwise they would have been expelled already, right? Every afternoon when I pick them up from daycare, I sneak in the classroom, hoping to catch either kid in a cherubic moment, sprinkling flower petals over little classmates and graciously refusing any offerings of sugar-packed snacks with, “No thank you. I’ve had my fill of sugar today. May I have a broccoli spear instead?”

A few weeks ago, I slowly opened the classroom door, slithered my body through the crack and tiptoed quietly towards the perfect circle of two-year olds listening to their teacher read them a book about different animals. The kids were sitting cross-legged, hands laying on their laps, all eyes on the book and intently listening to the wondrous, fantastical story of animals. If you’ve ever been in a room full of 2-year olds, you know that this is either a miracle or they spiked the kids’ Kool-Aid with a little somethin’.

Each page of the book featured a different animal. As she read the little poem about Steve the Silly Snake….my kid, Nathan popped up like a jack-in-the-box and proclaimed loudly:

I gasped as the other kids cocked their heads in Nathan’s direction. the teacher raised an eyebrow but continued on to the next page.

Freddie the Flippy Frog…

Billy the Baby Buffalo…

Douglas the Dancing Duck…

Oscar the Ornery Octopus…

Pete the Pouncing Puppy..

After imagining poor little Pete the Pouncing Puppy being eaten, the teacher must have gotten grossed out, looked at Nathan with a crinkled nose and promptly snapped the book shut.

HOLY SON OF A FOODIE! In one motion, I swooped up my kid, totally embarrassed and said in a high-pitched nervous tone, “Sweetheart! We don’t eat puppies! You silly!”

…and you know the rest of the apology…

I’ve always prided myself in introducing lots of different foods to my kids at an early age. Being Chinese, sometimes that means relishing in some of the more traditional Asian…shall we say, non-conventional delicacies like sharks fin soup, jellyfish, baby octopus, hairy crabs and frog legs.

But (sigh), not puppies….which brings me to posting this very lovely Vegetable Fried Rice.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice


Vegetable Fried Rice Recipe

Servings: 4-6 as side dish Prep Time: Cook Time:

You can substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce. If you would like to use fish sauce instead of soy sauce (which I often do) - use 2 tsp of fish sauce to replace the soy.


2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
4 cups cooked day old rice, grains separated
1/2 tsp grated ginger, grated on microplane grater
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 cup or more minced vegetables (red bell pepper, chives, fresh shitake, extra firm tofu, frozen peas/carrots, cabbage, etc.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the cooking oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add tofu cubes and brown on all sides. Remove, set aside. If you aren't using tofu, then skip this step. Tofu is browned first, removed and added in later so that the delicate cubes do not get crushed in the frying process.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil to the pan and turn the heat to medium. When oil is hot but not smoking , add ginger and garlic, stir fry for 15 seconds until fragrant.

3. Turn heat to high and add vegetables - one kind at a time - in order of what takes longest to cook. Fry until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

4. Add the rice and the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Fry on high heat until the each rice grain is heated through. Add tofu cubes back in. Taste. Add a touch more soy if needed.

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Comments 69

  1. Maven

    My grandpa raised rabbits for the fur industry,and we ate A LOT of rabbit (yum!) The first litter of spring bunnies were usually ready at the end of March.
    My classmates always thought I was evil because we celebrated Easter with BBQ rabbit blowout instead of ham….

    Well, they were right – but not because of the bunnies.

    Rattlesnake ain’t bad either. I tried it fried at the Big Texan Restaurant in Amarillo Tx. It does not taste like chicken. Closest I’d say is it is similar to frog legs.

    I’ll try darn near anything at least once.

  2. Kiki B.

    Oh, so it’s the chiles I eat that made my three year-old that way… That explains A LOT! I can totally relate. The recipe looks delish, going to try it out on her. Pregnant with the second one now, we’ll see how she turns out!

  3. Chef Erik

    I have to say, your fried rice looks so much better than mine. I love finding better recipes, it makes me stride for better cooking skills. Great pictures, do you take your own?

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  5. HoneyB

    I plan to make vegetable fried rice for my “first” homemade Chinese dinner today so I thought – who better to search than Jaden’s blog?! I plan to follow this recipe today and if all goes as planned will be posting about it. I’ll let you know when so you can check it out! I’m so glad you had this here! 🙂

  6. HoneyB

    I’m back…all did not go as planned as the day I made this was the day my son’s lost their uncle in a terrible accident. I am making this again this week and am hoping to find the bbq pork recipe I used also. Am not having much luck so far, but if you have one you could email me I would greatly appreciate it! [email protected]

  7. james

    looks sooooo good. just found another good recipe thought id share. enjoy!

  8. JoAnn

    I randomly ran across your website. It’s light humorous and full of the traditional and not so traditional Chinese dishes I grew up with but sadly cannot replicate for some reason. I’ve saved this site in my favorites! Happy New Year!

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