Healthy Vietnamese Fried Rice
Easy - You got this
Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube channel here!
Fried rice is an Asian classic that many cultures have adopted and made their own. Vietnamese fried rice is defined by its cooking technique and core ingredients, namely Chinese sausage (also commonly known as lap cheong).
In our household, fried rice appeared consistently on three particular occasions: a birthday, the school holidays, and funnily enough at end of year school celebrations. Every year mum would make fried rice for my class before we would break for the year and it quickly became a tradition. As a common dish in Asian restaurants, this Vietnamese dish was welcomed as it wasn’t too left of field and was always well received. Needless to say I banked up a stash of brownie points from the teacher, albeit at year’s end. Our family wasn’t well off but Mum would never skimp out on the most expensive and critical ingredient – Chinese sausage.
My mum ingrained in me that the flavour and texture from Chinese sausages defines her Vietnamese fried rice. The rest of the dish is lightly seasoned by design, encouraging the use of ingredients that are fresh and/or subtle in flavour to compliment the dominant sweet, savoury and umami flavour of the Chinese sausage. For this reason, I never order fried rice at restaurants but constantly crave the flavours in this dish and the warm wave of nostalgia in each mouthful.
Over the years, I have craved for the flavour that Vietnamese fried rice delivers on week nights so have made a quick and healthy variation of mum’s recipe without losing those key flavours.
Using steam as the main cooking mode as opposed to frying drastically reduces the use of oil. Fried rice is typically heralded for its glistening appearance but unfortunately this heavy use of oil, not an ideal week night situation. By using steam to create this one-pot wonder not only is it healthier but reduces the preparation process as there is no reliance on using old or leftover rice. Because of this you can enjoy the flavours of Vietnamese fried rice on any given day at any given time.
So, if you love to eat healthy but also love fried rice like me, do yourself a favour and give this recipe a whirl to enjoy the flavours of Vietnamese fried rice on any given night.
300g long grain white rice or brown rice grain
2 carrots diced
150g fresh peas shelled
2 corn with kernels cut away from cob Or 500g frozen mixed vegetables (Peas, carrot and corn)
1 brown onion chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
175g Chinese sausages diced or 200g bacon cut into 2 cm pieces (rindless or streaky)
30ml soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 x Lebanese cucumbers cut thick (optional)
3 free range eggs whisked
1 teaspoon fish sauce or pinch of sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
Bring a large casserole pot/saucepan with 2.5-3L of water to the boil. In the meantime wash, rinse and strain rice well or until water runs clear to remove excess starch from the rice. The rice will need to be washed at least a couple of times.
Cook Chinese sausages/bacon in a cold large casserole pot/saucepan on low-medium and occasionally stir for 5 mins or until lightly browned and fat is rendered, then remove and set aside. In the same pot/saucepan add 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté onion, carrot with a pinch of salt for 2-3mins or until onion is slightly browned then add garlic and sauté on medium for a further minute; If using frozen mixed vegetables, add them at this stage. Season with another pinch of sea salt and sugar and sauté for a further minute then remove from heat.
Once water is boiling, add rinsed rice and boil on high for 6-7mins or until the outside of the rice grain can be squeezed in between your fingers but still remain firm in the middle then strain well and return to pot.
Place pot on low heat and immediately add the sautéed vegetables and chinese sausage mix, soy sauce, fresh peas and corn kernels then combine well and place a lid on then simmer on low for 15 mins to steam the rice through.
In the meantime, whisk eggs with water, fish sauce (or a pinch of sea salt), cracked black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Add to a small fry pan on low-medium for 2-3 mins then flip and cook for a further minute or until the eggs are set to make an omelette, then remove and set aside. Once cooled, cut into 1 cm squares.
Once rice is cooked, add eggs and mix in well. Serve with fresh cucumber on the side for added freshness and texture. Rice may stick to the side of the pot but this is often considered as a prized crispy and nutty delight as a result of scorched rice- don’t throw it out!