Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegetable fried rice - a delicious way to mindfully reduce food waste


1 cup brown rice, boiled with 1 star anise
2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
5 shiitake mushrooms (soaked according to package instructions)
soy and Sriracha sauce to taste

No, the Life is good kitchen has not converted to being a specialty food blog about Asian cuisine (I wish!). However, as my latest culinary excursion into the world of Vietnamese Pho noodle soup had included a trip to an Asian supermarket and left me with all kinds of exotic perishables in my fridge that needed to be used up quickly. For the sakes of economy and ecology, it would have broken my heart to throw it all away, but what to do with the lemongrass, the beansprouts, the sugar snap peas and the shiitake mushrooms?

There's been quite some media coverage lately regarding the waste and throwing away of food, and in my opinion, thinking about how to reduce the amount of wasted food is also part of the concept of mindfulness. Once sensitized to this topic, I noticed that my mom's old cookbooks from the 60s and 70s featured whole chapters with suggestions on how to turn leftovers into whole new dishes - a consideration that is, sadly, completely missing today.

But back to my splurge in the Asian supermarket! Luckily, what stew is for the Western cook, using up all the leftovers and transforming them into something delightful by itself, is fried rice in (wanna-be) Asian cuisine. The more the merrier!

The recipe itself was pretty straightforward and a nice break from the long and elaborate recipes I'd tried during lent. First, I boiled the brown rice with a star anise to give it an extra of flavor. In a large pan (see, if this was turning into a food blog about Asian food, I should at least own a wok!), I began with sauteing the finely chopped lemongrass and spring onions in a little bit of oil. One after the other, I then added the leek, bell pepper, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, the b sprouts and last but not least the rice. Finally, I seasoned the mix with salt, pepper and the now ubiquitous soy and Sriracha sauce.
It may only be tiny baby steps, but enjoying my bowl of fried rice that night is a small contribution to the goal to reduce by half the amount food thrown away in Germany and my personal goal of being more mindful. And if you're a fellow blogger, consider linking to Love_Food_Hate_Waste.

Life is good!


  1. Yes! Stir fry is the BEST for using ingredients. It's so difficult to put something in that doesn't taste good. It's my go-to easy dinner. This combo looks amaaaazing.

    Are you German?! I studied German in college!

    1. wirklich :-)? have you been? yes, i am, blogging from berlin!

    2. Berlin ist meine Lieblingsstadt! Ich habe zwei Sommern in Berlin verpasst. Ein Stück meines Herzes bleibt immer da.

      This is the best.thing.ever. I am so excited to discover this! And my German is so rusty...=)

  2. This sounds wonderful. I happen to love fried rice and eat it the way most folks eat cookies. It is my favorite snack and your version sounds terrific. I'll have to give it a try. Blessings...Mary

    1. LOL, would never have thought to compare fried rice with cookies but it's surely as comforting!

  3. I love this! I started a small apartment sized compost bin last fall to help with food craps, like potato peels and discarded portions of food. It takes time, but this spring I have fresh compost that I am using to plant my herbs and veggies. So glad you are working on reducing your food waste!

    1. that is so cool! so you had the compost bin in the apartment? i should really look into this and then copy your herb garden :-).

  4. I definitely LOVE the idea of turning leftovers into a veggie fried rice! I'm all about reducing food waste and this is a delicious way to do so!

  5. I liked it a lot. Good basic vegetable recipe to use whatever veggies you have on hand. This last time I just used onion, mushrooms, and snap peas. Delish! I think the fresh ginger is key too.

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