Edamame Dumplings

Happy Sunday! It’s been a beautiful weekend in Seattle, and I went on two hikes this weekend, to two beautiful lakes. I’m trying to soak up as much Seattle summer as possible when I’m not in class! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend Lake Melakwa, which I hiked with a couple friends yesterday. It’s a great workout to get to the lake, and I jumped in to cool off. The water was quite refreshing (very cold), but it was quite peaceful around the lake, and lots of people had tents or hammocks, and it was nice to just chill for a bit before hiking down. Today, I went with a few other friends to Lake 22, which had very different scenery. We walked through rainforest to get to the lake, and Mount Pilchuck which is beside Lake 22 was shrouded in clouds and mist at the top. I didn’t get into the water on this one, since it was a little colder today, but it was quite a beautiful lake!

Now for the food. Last weekend I had a potluck and game night with some friends, and we all brought various Asian foods. I decided to try and replicate the edamame dumplings I’d had recently at True Food Kitchen when my parents took me, and I was actually quite successful! I used the frozen shelled edamame from Trader Joe’s, which made the process quite easy, then just threw in a bunch of flavors that I thought would taste good, sealed them nice and tight in dumpling wrappers, and boiled them in miso soup, and they turned out wonderfully! The basil flavor really came through, but the ginger and garlic were also great additions. Here’s the recipe.

Edamame Dumplings

Makes 50 dumplings

Ingredients

12 oz shelled edamame (About two cups, I used one Trader Joe’s package)

4 green onions, sliced

2 tbsp miso paste

1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 package round wonton wrappers (50 wrappers)

Optional broth for cooking (I used miso soup)

Directions

For the filling:

Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, then add the edamame and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse together the edamame with the rest of the ingredients until a rough paste forms, leaving the edamame slightly chunky.

To form the dumplings, dip your finger in some water and run it around the outside of the wrapper, then place about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and press the top together, then crimp the wrapper together starting at the sides, and forming a crescent shape. See here for a video of how I do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_ntpIj2E but you can fold them any way you like. Repeat with all 50 wrappers. I got lucky and had exactly enough filling for the 50 wrappers, but depending on how full you stuff your dumplings, there might be slightly too much or too little filling.

To cook the dumplings:

Bring a large pot of water or broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in, making sure they don’t touch and stick together, and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove from the water/broth with a slotted spoon and repeat until you have boiled the desired number of dumplings. Serve warm, with on a plate or in bowls with the broth, if you chose to cook them in broth.

If you don’t cook them all at once, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour, place the dumplings on the pan so they are not touching, then freeze. After they have frozen, you can remove them from the pan and place them in a bag or container for easier freezing, and they will keep well for a few months.

To cook these, you can also use the pan frying method, outlined here https://dinewithdeja.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/jiao-zi-chinese-dumplingspotstickers/

Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Chao Mian (Chow Mein) and Gai Lan

I’ve been craving a lot of Chinese food recently. I think it’s because I miss home and my mom’s delicious home-cooking. However, Chinese New Year just happened, so I took advantage of some of the sales at the Asian market and picked up some ingredients for some of my favorite comfort foods. Then I got a coupon for a discount off my next purchase so obviously I had to go back… Anyway, this is one of the meals I cooked for myself recently, and it’s been the perfect comfort food for the dreary and drizzly week we’ve been having here in Seattle.

I decided to make chao mian, then add a side of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) to have a little more green on my plate. I’ve never made gai lan, but it turns out, it’s super easy and fast! You just boil some water, drop the gai lan in, cook for a few minutes, and then remove it and you’re done! Drizzle a little oyster sauce on top and it’s just like off a dim sum cart.

As for the chao mian, I prefer the thicker noodles, so that’s what I used, but you can use whatever kind of stir fry noodles you’d like. You can also change up the vegetables to be whatever you’d like, this is just the combination I had on hand. I didn’t follow any specific recipe for the sauce, this is just the blend of flavors I always use and like, and it’s a combination of the Chinese sauces we keep in the fridge at home. I also don’t really use exact measurements, I just add sauces, mix it up, and taste it until I like what I taste.

So here’s my version of Chinese comfort food!

Chao Mian

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

½ block of high protein tofu, sliced into thin rectangles

2 tsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 green onions, sliced

8-10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 large carrot or about ¾ cup baby carrots, sliced thin

2 tsp canola oil

32 oz package noodles (I used miki noodles, a thick Shanghai stir fry noodle)

½ head of napa cabbage, sliced

Sauce (approximate measurements, I just pour sauces in and mix until the flavor is good)

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

3 slices of ginger

1 tbsp marsala wine/cooking sherry

Directions

Mix up the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup. Slice the tofu and add to the sauce to allow it to marinate.

Chop the garlic, green onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Heat a deep skillet or wok over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Cook the garlic and green onions until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and carrots. Cook until slightly tender the mushrooms start to release their juices. Make a well in the middle of the vegetables and turn up the heat to medium-high. Heat the canola oil. Add the tofu to the skillet in the canola oil and allow to brown, stirring every couple minutes. Reserve the marinating sauce to add later.

Once the tofu is browned to your liking, add the noodles and the remaining sauce. Cover and allow to steam-cook for a few minutes to warm and soften the noodles. While you are waiting for the noodles to cook, chop the napa cabbage crosswise. Add the cabbage to the skillet and stir to incorporate the sauce. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and cook until the cabbage is as soft as you prefer. Stir the noodles to distribute the toppings, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Gai Lan

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 bunches gai lan

Oyster sauce

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the gai lan and blanch for 2-3 minutes, longer if you want it softer. Remove from the water and drain.

In a small saucepan, thin the oyster sauce with a little water and cook over medium heat for a minute or so. Drizzle over the gai lan. Enjoy!

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Cong You Bing (Green Onion Pancakes)

For the longest time, I didn’t know the English translation of Cong You Bing (葱油饼). This is one of my favorite Chinese comfort foods. Often in Chinese restaurants, it’s extremely oily, deep-fried, and delicious. However, my homemade version is a little less unhealthy, with a more moderate use of oil. These are still delicious, but don’t expect these to be a perfect replica of the deep-fried restaurant style cong you bing.

I love the flavor of green onions. I use it in pretty much all the Asian dishes I make. It’s a milder taste than regular onions, and yet more flavorful. Green onion pancakes wouldn’t be the same without the green onions, so I load my pancakes up with plenty of them. Here’s my version of cong you bing!

Cong You Bing (Green Onion Pancake)

Makes 36 wedges

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4-1 1/2 cups warm water

8 green onions, chopped

6 tsp sesame oil

3 tsp salt

6 tsp vegetable oil

Directions

Mix together the flour and 1 1/4 cups warm water. You want the dough to be sticky, so add water as necessary to get this consistency. I used a little over 1 1/4 cups water. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has sat, divide it into six equal portions. Roll out one of the portions into a circle with a rolling pin. Pour 1 teaspoon of sesame oil into the center of the circle, then fold the edge over and use it to spread the sesame oil all the way to the edges of the circle. Sprinkle on about half teaspoon of salt and one sixth of the chopped green onions. Now roll the circle up into a tube, like a scroll. Squish and roll the scroll until it is a long snake, then coil the snake into a spiral. Press the dough out with your palm, then use the rolling pin to roll it out into a rough circle. Roll it up into another tube, squish it into a snake, and curl it into a spiral again. Press this new spiral into a flat round about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the portions of dough and green onions. You are now ready to fry!

Heat about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Lay the first pancake down in the pan and swirl it around with a spatula to evenly coat it with oil. Allow to fry on that side until the pancake is golden brown, a few minutes. Flip onto the other side, and cook for another few minutes. Repeat with the rest of your pancakes. Once all the pancakes have been cooked, cut them each into 6 wedges. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Make a nice stack of pancakes for easy cutting

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Crispy pancakes, filled with flavorful green onions. One of my favorite Chinese comfort foods.

Pan-Fried Noodles and a Swim Workout

Happy Friday everyone! I had a Chinese food dinner party last night with a few of my ultimate frisbee teammates. I played on the B team, Midas, my first year, and that is where I made some of my closest friends here at UCLA, so it’s always a treat to get to hang out with these girls! I decided to make my Curry Tofu and Broccoli and these Pan-Fried Noodles for dinner.

The Chinese name for this dish is 两面黄 (Liang Mian Huang), and it was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Whenever we went to a Chinese restaurant, I would request this. If you’ve ever had a Bird’s Nest at a Chinese restaurant, it’s a similar idea. Liang Mian Huang translates to something like two-faced pan fried noodles, which is basically what it is. The noodles are pan-fried until crispy on both sides, but still tender in the middle, then topped with vegetables, and often meat, in a sweet and savory sauce. When the sauce is poured over the noodles, they soak in the flavor, but remain slightly crispy. However, this is best eaten on the day it is made, since eventually the noodles will lose their crisp. I made up this recipe based on my memories of this dish, and I made the sauce based on taste-testing. It was a huge hit with my friends last night, and I loved it as well! It brought back great memories of Chinese restaurants with my family, and this dish is really not that complicated to make. I will definitely be making this again in the future.

Pan-Fried Noodles

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 6oz package of thin Asian egg noodles

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp minced garlic

4 green onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 head bok choy, stems and leaves chopped and separated

1 8oz package of shiitake mushrooms, sliced

Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In a large wok, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over high heat and sauté the garlic and onions for a couple minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the bok choy stems and 2 tablespoons of water and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and steam-cook until the stems are slightly softened. Add more water if you wanted softer stems. Add the peppers, bok choy leaves and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and the bok choy is wilted. Remove the vegetables from the pan and add the second teaspoon of olive oil. Place the noodles in the pan and fry on one side until crispy, then flip and fry the other side until crispy, a few minutes on each side. Once crispy on both sides, remove and place on a rimmed plate or in a large, flat-bottomed bowl.

While the noodles are frying, mix the sauce ingredients. Once the noodles are done, add the vegetables back into the wok and pour the sauce over the vegetable mixture. Heat until the vegetables are reheated and the sauce is incorporated. Pour the sauce-vegetable mixture over the noodles. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Note: I served this with another dish with tofu in it, but if you wanted to add protein to this dish, you could add extra firm tofu strips or veggie ground beef. Simply add in the protein with the mushroom, peppers, and bok choy leaves and make the rest of the dish as directed.

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Uncooked noodles

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Noodles crisped to golden brown on both sides

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All the lovely veggies in the sauce!

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Ready to eat 🙂 Yay for home-cooked Chinese food!

Now for my swim workout. After eating so much delicious Chinese food last night, I wanted to go for a swim. However, I woke up and it was cloudy and gloomy outside. Sigh. I went to the pool anyway, and ended up having a great swim, although the sun still hasn’t come out. I guess it’s the weather’s way of telling us that summer is officially ending. Today I did some kicking, some pulling, some IM, and a nice sprint set. I haven’t done real sprints in a while, so I’m going to start trying to do more in order to gear up for ultimate frisbee. We’ll see how that goes… Anyway, here’s today’s set!

Everything + Sprint Swim Workout

200 SKIP

12×75 @1:20 4x rotating stroke kick/stroke swim/free), 3 of each stroke, IM order

6×150 @2:10 pull (50 fast/100 easy, 100 fast/50 easy, 150 fast, 100 easy/50 fast, 50 easy/100 fast, 150 fast)

Sprint Set: First round free, second round IM

2x(2×100 sprint @2:00, 4×50 sprint @1:15, 8×25 sprint @:40), 100 easy in between rounds

200 easy choice

300 pull breathe only between the 15m markers, hold breath in and out of turns

Total: 4600 yards

Time: 1 hr, 20 min

Curry Tofu with Broccoli and a Swim Workout

Dream team! After the tournament this weekend, the volleyball team is undefeated. Granted, there were only three games, but it’s still cause for excitement! I mean, after working a 16 hour day, I needed something to be excited about. I was exhausted after working all week, then working all day yesterday on top of that. I was planning to sleep till noon today, but that was not to be. On the bus ride home yesterday around 10pm, I found out we had to work this morning. Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, right? Yeah… that didn’t happen. Oh well, it’ll just be something to get used to. After leaving work this morning (I was done by 11!) I went for a swim, then came back to my apartment, only to shortly thereafter be exiled from the apartment for four hours. We had to de-flea our apartment, since the dog that’s living here got fleas. So that’s what that bite on my leg was this morning… Starting the flea foggers was kind of fun, since it’s basically a toxic chemical spray, we had to set them off them immediately get out of the house. We got everything set up, then ran around the apartment pushing the trigger on the cans in each room. The spray shoots out the top, so you have to press it down, keep your head down, and run out of the room. It was a bit like setting off a grenade. There’s even a risk of explosion! After we had set off all the foggers and run outside, we realized that we had left one of the second story windows open. Whoops. Let’s just say closing that window involved a little bit of balcony hopping and screen punching. It was quite an adventure overall. But it’s done! Yay! I was a little nervous about turning on the gas stove, even a couple hours after it was supposedly safe, but the apartment didn’t explode when I turned the knob, so that was nice. Anyway, onto the food!

After such an eventful day, I just wanted to make something quick and easy. So I threw some rice in the rice cooker and whipped up this super easy curry tofu and broccoli dish, made with canned curry sauce. I know, it seems like cheating, and it is, but it saves me a lot of time and dishes and it tastes wonderful, so who am I to complain?

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This lovely little jar saves a lot of time and tastes delicious!

Curry Tofu with Broccoli

Ingredients

3 green onions, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

2 small heads of broccoli, crowns and stems chopped

1/2 cup water

1 12 oz package firm tofu, cubed (you can also use silken, but it probably falls apart more easily)

3 tbsp curry sauce of your choice

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a wok and cook the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in the broccoli and saute for a couple minutes, then add the water, cover, and turn down the heat to medium-low. Allow the broccoli to steam-cook until almost all the water has been absorbed. Add the tofu and curry sauce and allow the sauce to bubble. Cook the whole mixture for a few minutes, until the tofu is heated through, then serve over rice. Enjoy!

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As usual, the lighting was gone by the time I made this meal, so cue the yellow lighting!

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As with most Chinese dishes, this was perfect served over brown rice!

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Look at the pretty flowers one of my friends brought over!

 Now onto today’s swim! I received an unpleasant surprise when I got to the pool. It is a short course pool, but they moved the bulkhead so that is was 25 meters instead of yards. Sigh. Also, the water was a little warm for my liking. Oh well, had to make do with what I had, so I carried on with my swim set! In high school, we didn’t practice on Sundays, but since I probably won’t get to the pool tomorrow, I did Energy System Sunday.

Energy System Sunday

200 SKIP (swim kick pull swim)

4×50 @1:00 rotating IM (fly/back, back/breast, breast/free, free/fly)

20×100, 4 rounds of 5

1) 4×100 @1:50, kick/swim by 25, 1 easy @2:00

2) 4×100 @1:45 IM, 1 easy @2:00

3) 4×100 @1:40 fast free, 1 easy @2:00

4) 4×100 @1:40 fly/free by 25, 1 easy @2:00

6×200 @3:10 pull, descend 1-3, 4-6

200 easy choice

Total: 4400 m

Time: 1 hr, 25 min

Moo Shu Chicken Wraps and a Swim Workout

I had another friend over for dinner today! I’m loving apartment life! It’s making me a very social person, since I love to cook and I enjoy people coming over to eat with me. I know all this will change once school starts and I get too busy to do anything except work and study, but I’m enjoying my extra free time while I can. The friend who came over today is an ultimate frisbee teammate who is from China, so I decided to make a Chinese dish. My mom makes this at home and it’s one of those dishes that she doesn’t make often, but every time she does I remember how delicious it is. So I tried looking up a few recipes online, but I ended up just making up my own based roughly on guidelines from my mom.

According to Chinese pinyin, the American spelling for this should actually be Mu Shu, not Moo Shu, but when I searched recipes that’s what came up, so I guess I’ll just go with that for this recipe. Regardless of the name, my friend and I enjoyed it! We both went back for seconds, which is the ultimate sign of a good meal. We also bonded over the fact that neither of us measures anything precisely when we cook. I just use a normal spoon and approximate, and often I just pour things in, to reduce the amount of things I have to wash. My friend said that she doesn’t even bother with the spoon, she just pours things in, for that exact reason! The easier the cleanup, the better. Anyway, here’s the recipe with the approximate measurements I used.

Mu Shu Chicken Wraps

Ingredients

6 free range chicken thighs (you could also use breasts), cut into ¼ inch thick strips

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2  tsp ginger powder

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp olive oil

4 green onions, sliced

8 carrots, thinly sliced or shredded (about 8 carrots)

1 8 oz package shredded cabbage

1/3-1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

6 flour tortillas, the thinner the better

Directions

Combine the soy sauce, white wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger powder, and sugar and pour over the chicken. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan with a lid over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook for a minute, then add the carrots. Add about ¼ cup of the chicken broth and cover until the liquid has been absorbed to soften the carrots. Add in the cabbage and add the rest of the chicken broth. Cover until most of the liquid has been absorbed, add more if you want softer vegetables. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine.

As you are cooking the vegetables, cook the chicken with the marinade in a large wok, heat over medium-high heat until the chicken is cooked through. Add the vegetables to the chicken, stirring to combine. Remove the mixture and place in a large heatproof bowl.

Heat the hoisin sauce in the wok for a minute or so, just to cook it a little. Remove and place in a small dish.

Microwave the tortillas for about 30 seconds to heat and soften them.

To assemble: Spread a spoonful of hoisin sauce on a tortilla and fill with chicken and vegetable mix. Wrap like a burrito. Enjoy!

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Cooking everything at once! I’m learning to multitask

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Ready to assemble!

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First, spread some hoisin sauce on the wrap

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Second, fill with the chicken vegetable mixture. Don’t fill it too full or you won’t be able to close it.

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Third, wrap it up like a burrito! If you put too much filling, do what I did and eat it until it’s the right amount so you can wrap it up nicely

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It’s the Chinese version of a burrito, although in my opinion much tastier.

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Mmmm… Inevitably some of the juices will escape, but it only adds to the delicious juiciness of the wrap!

Now, as the tagline of this blog says, I exercise to eat. It’s no joke when I say that, I really do exercise to eat. I went for a swim this morning after I got off work, and then lifted this afternoon before dinner in preparation for what I knew would be a delicious meal. As usual, my lifting workout was sort of random, but mostly legs and back, based on what equipment was available in the gym. However, my swim was well planned out, so here’s my second installment of Old School Tuesday!

200 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 200 free

7×100 @1:30

1) 25 fly, 75 free

2) 50 fly, 50 free

3) 75 fly, 25 free

4) 100 fly

5) 25 free, 75 fly

6) 50 free, 50 fly

7) 75 free, 5 fly

Main set:

100 free @1:30, odd laps sprint first 15m

200 free @3:00, 25 sprint, 75 easy

300 free @4:30, 50 sprint, 50 easy

400 free @6:00, 75 sprint, 25 easy

500 free for time

150 easy choice

12×25 @:30 no breaths

50 easy

Total: 3300 yards

Time: 55 min

Veggie Beef Fried Rice and My First Perimeter Run

So far I’ve tried to post once a day since starting this blog, and I’ve only missed one day, that day I drove down to UCLA and moved into my apartment. I’m making up for it now with a double post! Since I had so much leftover rice from the rice cooker fiasco last night, I decided to make fried rice for dinner tonight! Called 炒饭 (chao fan) in Chinese, it is a classic Chinese comfort food, and, like the dish last night, super easy to make! Fried rice uses leftover rice, preferably a day old, because it’ll be a little dried out, which is exactly what you want. It’s easier to mix the ingredients evenly throughout the rice when it doesn’t stick together like fresh rice.

Just before making dinner, I ran the perimeter for the first time today! It’s a 3.9 mile loop that goes around the perimeter of the UCLA campus, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s quite a good run, and there are only a couple stoplights that you have to deal with, and the way I did it, they were almost all in the beginning so after the first few minutes I only had to stop once or twice more. There are also lots of uphills and downhills. I hate the downhills, since it’s rough on my knees, but the uphills are a nice challenge, and the change in incline makes the run more interesting. After coming back, I was pretty hungry, so it was great how quickly this meal came together! From start to finish, the whole thing took less than ten minutes. That’s my kind of dinner!

Veggie Beef Fried Rice

Ingredients

4 green onions, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 14oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, peas, corn, and carrots)

1/2 cup veggie ground beef (I use Trader Joe’s)

4 eggs

5-6 cups leftover rice (I used jasmine brown)

Oyster sauce, to taste

Soy sauce, to taste

Salt, to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Toss in the green onions and garlic and saute until the garlic is lightly browned. Add in the frozen vegetables and veggie beef, and cook until heated through, a couple of minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and add the leftover rice, incorporating the vegetables and veggie beef into the rice, and heating the rice through.

After a couple of minutes, make a well in the middle of the rice. Beat the eggs together and pour into the hole. Allow them to cook for a few seconds, then scramble them until mostly cooked. When they are mostly cooked but still a little runny, start mixing the eggs throughout the entire rice mixture. Add the sauces and salt, and toss until the flavors are evenly distributed. That’s it! Enjoy!

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All the ingredients

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The veggie ground beef is pre-cooked, so just throw in in with the vegetables. If you use real meat, you have to cook it separately first, then throw it in with the vegetables and rice later.

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This is what the eggs look like when you just put them in. I had to scramble to take this picture before the eggs cooked all the way through. Don’t let that happen, because then you just have a fried egg!

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Three happy housemates, once again sharing a meal!

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The finished product 🙂