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 ATE THAT!!”
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…
“I ATE THAT!!”
Billy the Baby Buffalo…
“I ATE THAT!!”
Douglas the Dancing Duck…
“I ATE THAT!!”
Oscar the Ornery Octopus…
“I ATE THAT!!”
Pete the Pouncing Puppy..
“I ATE THAT!!”
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 Recipe
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
- 4 cups cooked day old rice, grains separated
- 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, grated on microplane grater
- 1 teaspoon 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 teaspoon sesame oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
It’s fun to read your blog! simplt love it!
No, they think you’re evil because you slaughter rabbits for a stupid jacket…
This was delicious, as usual! Both the babies even wanted a second bowl. Thanks for another great, healthy meal.
Loveeeeeeeeeedddd this post and now im seriously scared of my toddlers LOL
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!
looks sooooo good. just found another good recipe thought id share. enjoy!
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@example.com
P.S. Your story about your son had me LOL. Loved this post btw!
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! 🙂
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?
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!
That cracks me up!! Love your writing – and recipes! Thanks 🙂
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.
Ok this is the weekend I make your veggie fried rice. I can resist no longer. I don’t suppose this is listed on Weight Watchers, right?
This is so yummy looking and easy to make! Congrats on the big day and cracking your coconut! 🙂
Is that what I will be expecting from my daughter in a few years time? oh la… I have to prepare myself. Your boys are so cute.
Hehehe your kids sound adorable! Beautiful shot also, I always have a hard time balancing the food on chopsticks and taking a pic.
Hey Jaden, this is such a funny and adorable post! Our children are truly our greatest gifts. Fried Rice is one of the simplest of chinese foods but it’s definitely my favourite! when I go away for a day or two and Chinese food is unavailable, it always leaves me craving ( this word is an understatement!) for fried Rice. Your Spam fried Rice looks Perfect, just the way I like it. How did your interview and photo session go? What did you serve in the end? Can’t wait to hear all about it!
Hahahaha….. I am laughing like mad over here and my hubby is wondering whats wrong! YOur son is sooooo cute!!
And who better than an asian to show fried rice. 🙂 Very neat indeed. 🙂
Tofuphobia? It’s part of that series of conditions disallowing anything to be ingested that’s just plain wrong.
Do you remember a TV show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”? It was probably before your time, but we used to howl with laughter!
LPC- I’ve never heard of tofuphobia
Elaine- my son would prob describe in detail how he would cook that pup!
Brilynn- do you think there would be a market for obscene food shirts?
Beaulotus- foie gras?! children have expensive tastes!
WMW- I’m so happy that i could provide you with entertainment
Kirk- SPAM IS GOOOOOOOD
Krizia- be afraid…be very very afraid! just joking!
heehee, makes me a little afraid to have children of my own someday 🙂
and you shot me with nostalgia with the spam fried rice! i’m suddenly 8, in the kitchen, with the smell of processed meat and the sound of my mom and grandma yelling at each other in Tagalog…
No wonder you were asking me where the Spam was…..you needed some for your fried rice! ;o) LOL!
ROFL….*Pick myself up, read post again from top…drops to the floor again….ROFL…*
I do the same with my kids, curries and chillies in the womb, in the breastmilk and the minute they could eat I would just mix whatever we were having for dinner and feed it to them. I also make a point to introduce them to stuff I myself do not eat (and refuse to eat). They eat almost everything (Chinese, Indian, French e.g. they love Foie Gras etc etc) and that’s a real pleasure. Your kids are really gorgeous by the way and sound really precocious and cool. Lastly, love your photos, I suck in photography.
I love your posts more and more everyday. I feel like you need to have a shirt made that says ‘we eat puppies for dinner’…
Your son is so adorable. If i were the teacher, I’d indulge him and ask him how he cooked the puppy lol! Or would that actually scar him and the rest of the children in return and have you coming towards me with a your car keys in hand? o_O
I love fried rice with mushrooms in it! 🙂
Tofu: The flavor and texture of a chilled pork cookie. [shiver!]
Suji- ::me calling out:: “HONEY! we got another stalker!” just kidding…nice to meet you! Your kids are so cute. I’m sure they do ridiculous embarrassing things too!
Ady- thank you!
Mae- liposuction tofu!
W&S- no tripod my dear, just pure, raw talent.
Veron- if you only knew what my kid once told a policeman…. one day when I’m drunk I’ll blog about it
Ha ha… straight from the mouth of babes! They can get you into trouble. Yes , growing up in a chinese household, though I was considered a picky eater, I have eaten the above mentioned items…except the puppy of course. Deep-fried frog legs was a favorite growing up.
“Holy son of a foodie”??? heheh! LOL! I couldn’t stop laughing after I read that!
Love the photo with the perfectly balanced grains of rice on the chopsticks! I’m guessing you used a tripod. Hehe – and didn’t have chopsticks in 1 hand, and camera in the other! 😉
That was funny. Your food shots are fantastic.
And i learnt something new today : pressed tofu! Thank you! 🙂
Hi Jaden compliments for the first photo it’s wonderfull, i love fried ckn rice i could eat it every day.
Is it considered stalking, if I tell you I stayed up till 3 in the morning last week reading every single post of yours and I read your “Confuscious says” part twice and woke DH up because I was laughing so hard.
What is with kids and their stubbornness in making sure they embarrass the parents in front of anyone and everyone :). I think the teacher should just use your kids as example and tell the rest of the class to be not picky with food 🙂
BBO- i love ckn fried rice…so do the kids.
Andreaa- wait until you have kids and you too will be telling these stories!
LPC- no way! no white castle for my kids!
Marvin- oh yes. thank goodness my kids like frog. What would they be if they didn’t eat frog?
Meena- I have NO idea why he thought he eats puppies!
Ashley – not unless puppies were part of the vegan diet.
Melinda- aaahh…you may be right
Almost Veg- thank you!
Tigerfish- ha! LOL
Ape- actually, the kids are both REALLY friendly with dogs. mmmm…tasty meal…they are thinking
WC- you corrupting auntie you!
Mi- such sweet words! thank you!
Lynn- or Marvin the Marvelous Moose
RM- maybe we should just all vacation at your home
JJ- LOL! I think we should hire an agent.
Van- thank you!
BBO- great tip – be nice to rice.
From my kitchen experience, make sure you smell the left over rice first before using them, to check whether the rice is still good or may had gone bad. In restaraunts, they usually had a lot of left over rice and use them to make fried rice. Even they were a day leftover, if they are badly handle the rice can easy go bad.
Now that’s an American Express commercial I want to see.
I love rice. This fried rice is delightful looking, love it!
these fried rice variations sound wonderful and what a big smile that story about your children left on my face 🙂
Duck: $8/ pound
Frog legs: $11/pound.
Listening to your son announce to his daycare chums that he’s eaten frog and octopus and…. puppies?
Yeah, I NEED a vacation BADLY! Italy sounds good…have never been, but to be practical (especially now that I suffer from permanent jetlag syndrome), I need to go to a place which is the same time zone!!!!
Congratulations on raising such adventuresome eaters. I notice you didn’t let him get to Zephyr the zippy zebra.
I’ve never tried fried rice with tofu. It looks delicious!
I absolutely adore your blog! I stumbled upon it a couple days ago and have been eagerly reading all your archived posts. I’ve found myself awed and inspired in each and every post! Your candor and wit makes reading them a complete delight. And not to mention all the great photography and awesome recipes.
I SO SO SO appreciate the fact that you not only list the recipe, but explain the ingredients and show pictures of what you would buy. That’s so helpful! I’m Taiwanese-American and having these ingredients always prevalent in our home growing up… I still get completely lost at an Asian market without my mom. I tell my Vietnamese fiance…. uhm I think it’s this brand?? o_O (as I pick up the cell to call my mom and ask — mama, do we use the chili paste with the golden rooster on it or the laughing baby)
Your recipes are also helpful as an actual guide as to how much of what to put in where and how. When I watch my parents cook … they answer my questions as to how much of that am I supposed to put in? with a “oh eeh dian dian” (a little) But how much is a little? It just comes to naturally to them that they measure nothing. So I love that you explain everything in detail (thinking back to your awesome xiao long bao post that would normally be a “let’s just wait til mom makes it” moment to a “I think I can do that!”)
Thank you for sharing your expertise and your lovely stories about your family and experiences with us. Keep up the good work and if you ever write a book, I’ll be there to purchase one for every one of my friends and coworkers. 🙂
Hahaha! Let me babysit and I can feed them Bambi and Rudolph! Storytime will never be the same again. 😛
Argus- I held camera with left hand (thumb on button), chopsticks with right hand. Carefully balancing the contents of the chopsticks, I just started snapping away hoping for a good shot. Got lucky, eh? What you don’t see: Left foot folding laundry, right leg washing windows and I’m chatting on the phone at the same time. I’m quite the multitasker.
Remind me to never invite your children over to my house to play with my dogs.
P.S. Steamy Mommy, I would like to know who held the chopsticks with the yummy mouthful of fried rice for you while you clicked the camera. 😉
I love your “smally diced”. Had “quite thinly sliced” for the onion in my Tomato, Onion & Salt Fish Argussimo and felt quite silly for typing it. Now I feel I’m not alone in the funny boat/farm.
Also love your omnivorous son. Children who will eat almost anything adults do are so rare.
My mum used to wash the chilly off curried chicken for me when I was six.
…”I witnessed something yesterday that compelled me to post something that was NON-ANIMAL…” I thought it was the “animal” in me that shocked you….yes…I KILLED them…Pinky The Pincer Prawns…in a cruel way 🙁
Thanks for doing this vegetable fried rice, just in time for me to ease my guilt.
My husband adores fried rice. Just adores it. So now I have a recipe … what fun to make it at home (and it looks nice and easy, too!). Your boys are a delight.
That’s so funny. He probably was thinking of hush puppies, hot dogs, corn dogs maybe even ‘pupovers’. Those are dogs and pups. (I am hoping you don’t eat snakes!)
Thanks for this recipe, Jaden! I’d kinda always been looking for the right way to make this wonderful side dish.
would this recipe be easily converted to include puppy? 😉
great story! can’t wait for the recipe – it looks great!
hahaha! Kids sure know how to take things a step further! Eating puppies, now that I just gotta see to believe! 🙂
Your kids are pretty impressive with their non-picky eating habits. I’ve seen parents who try to feed their kids different things, but they just tell them everything is chicken. It’s good your kids know what they are eating.
Just think about how they’ll be when they hit the teen years … they’ll have spiked hair like mom’s was, but it’ll be green and blue, and they’ll be eating out at White Castle. 😀
Sooo … is this going to be like that conventional-oven recipe we’re still waiting for? [gd&r!] 😉
i laughed so hard! i don’t have kids myself (yet) but i do love the innocence of kids. just brilliant (and the fried rice looks great too – looking forward to the recipe)
Where is my chicken frai rize? or yes you have a lovely vegetable fried rice there………