A Tacoma Christmas Carole: Fried Rice

Thoughts while waiting for a Christmas Eve root canal. 

So many scary looking dental machines—just look out the window and concentrate on the garden. Who in the world is singing a hip hop Rudolph the RNRD?

I’m not much of Christmas fairy–I don’t think the date is historically accurate, I don’t have tiny tots with eyes all aglow, I don’t like to be generous on demand, winter weather in the Northwest is dark and gloomy not merry and bright, my social calendar is empty not hectic, and I don’t drink, so: no hot buttered rums, Champaign cocktails, Black Russians, Moscow Mules or any other alcoholic paths to giddy oblivion.

Is that a Santa Gnome in the garden? Is the song playing really “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”?


I do, however, enjoy Chinese food and a bad movie at Christmas. Left to our own devices, Sweetie and I get takeout, find the nearest Lucky Noodle, or resort to what’s-in-the-refrigerator fried rice. Maybe down deep we are sad, but I don’t think so. I must admit though, my throat lumps every time I see that Budweiser commercial with the jingle-harness Clydesdale horses proudly trotting through the snow.

Finally, a good one: Elvis and Blue Christmas. Why do I have to remember Marathon Man every time I sit in a dentist’s chair?

Now here’s an unexpected Christmas gift. Cancer cured the Sweetie’s diabetes. He’s lost thirty pounds, walks forty-five minutes a day, eats everything, sleeps well, makes a tidy income and stopped taking two medications. So whoever is in charge of Christmas wishes, thank you very much.

Never did like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.


So this year we’ll have Thai food up the street with my sister and her family, fondly remember the Ghosts of Christmas Past, toast the Ghosts of Christmas Present, and wish the best for the Ghosts of Christmas Yet To Be.

Not Very Authentic Fried Rice

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Sesame oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • Garlic, finely chopped, amount per preference
  • Fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped, amount per preference
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 pound cooked meat, cubed tofu, or tempeh
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 2 cups raw vegetables—cut approximately to the same size
  • 4 cups cold cooked white rice
  • Flavor blend: 1 part soy sauce or oyster sauce, 1⁄2 part rice vinegar, sugar to taste, Chinese chili paste to taste (a little fish sauce wouldn’t hurt)

Start out with a bigger pan than you think necessary. You’ll have less flotsam on the stove after you’re done.

Cover frozen peas with cold water. When thawed, pour into sieve.

Heat wok or a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 swirl of the vegetable oil.

Scramble eggs until slightly undercooked, remove from pan and set aside.

If you’re using raw meat or shrimp, now’s the time to sauté it—undercook a tad, please. Remove from pan and reserve.

Clean out pan and return to heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, heat until oil shimmers. Add chili flakes, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and diced onions. season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant.

Add raw vegetables: shredded head cabbage, julienned carrots, small broccoli florets, cauliflower, fennel, celery, etc. and sauté to coat with oil. Pour the vinegar/soy sauce mixture over vegetable and cook until your desired softness. If it’s too dry, add a bit of water or stock. 

If you’re using leftover cooked vegetables, add just to heat. 

Add scallions and cooked meat or tofu to heat. If you’re using Napa cabbage or spinach, wait until onion/garlic/ginger mixture is finished then fold in and remove from heat. 

Now this part would make Tom Douglas cringe: I just microwave the cooked rice (whether it be brown, Uncle Ben’s, jasmine, basmati, Korean, etc.), put it in a large bowl, add the scrambled eggs and fold in the vegetable mixture. Serve immediately or make ahead and whack it in the mw. 

This is a perfect vehicle for left over anything. You can have Cajun rice (Andouille sausage, bell peppers, celery, onion, paprika/thyme/oregano/cayenne), Italian rice (tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, roasted red pepper/pesto/parm), Spanish rice (chorizo, black beans, jalapeños, cumin, chili powder), Hawaiian rice (spam and macaroni). 

Add the eggs, leave out the eggs—who’ll care? Change the oil and the flavor blend to suit the ingredients—who’ll know?



This entry was posted in Family and friends, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.