If someone were to make a list of the top 10 dishes that everyone should know how to cook, fried rice would probably be near the top. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s infinitely customizable with on-hand ingredients from the fridge and pantry, and we all find ourselves craving it from time to time.
There’s only one catch – you need leftover rice. Freshly-cooked rice just doesn’t work as well. What you end up with is a wet, clumpy rice dish. Definitely not what you were craving.
Here at the Oats Everyday Kitchen, we’re more likely to have a bowl of leftover oats in our fridge, but can we let you in on a little secret? Yesterday’s steel cut oats make killer fried rice. Or, rather, fried oats.
In fact, since we started stir-frying our leftover oats, we haven’t looked back.
Just like fried rice, the trick to making awesome oats is having cold, leftover grains. When fresh, they tend to be a little too sticky. What you want in your finished dish are nice, separate grains with a bit of chew, with perfectly-cooked veggies interspersed evenly throughout.
But, what if you don’t have leftover steel cut oats? You can whip up a batch with our pour-over method (see below). Just keep in mind you’ll need about 40 minutes to cook and cool your oats. Once they’re cooked, spread the oats out on a baking sheet and pop them in the fridge to cool completely, uncovered.
Once you have your oats, this dish goes together in a flash. Our advice is to prep the veggies and mix up the sauce before you begin cooking, because once you start, there’s no stopping to cut a pepper or hunt for the sesame oil. You’ll also want to make sure that you cut your veggies to a uniform size so they cook quickly and evenly. Firmer vegetables, like carrots, should be finely julienned or even grated, if you’re really in a hurry.
This recipe may not be a dead ringer for #21 on the takeout menu; but we think you’ll like it better. The aromatics (ginger, garlic and scallions) and soy-lime-sesame sauce give this dish a fresher, punchier flavor. More flavor means we can get away with less salt, plus, we’ve cut back the fat and upped the fiber by switching out white rice for whole grain oats and adding more veggies.
Welcome to your new craving.
Pour-over Method for Steel Cut Oats: Toast one cup of steel cut oats in a dry skillet over med-high heat for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add one cup of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Cover tightly and let stand for 20 minutes. Oats will double in size.
Stir-fried Veggies and Oats
For the sauce:
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (30 ml)
- 1/2 fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp sesame oil (5 ml)
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar (2.5 ml)
For the stir-fry:
- 2 cups steel cut oats cold, cooked (500 ml)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil (15 ml)
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic large, finely chopped
- 1/2 15oz can baby corn drained (220 ml)
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1/2 cup peas (frozen) or edamame (frozen), thawed (125 ml)
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach or shredded bok choi
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (5 ml)
- 1 Tbsp cilantro leaves chopped (15 ml)
- In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok or a large skillet over high heat. Quickly stir-fry scallions, ginger and garlic until fragrant.
- Add baby corn, red pepper and carrot. Fry, stirring constantly, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Add peas and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in oats and sauce.
- Push the oats and veggies to one side of the wok or skillet. Pour the eggs into the other side and quickly scramble.
- When eggs are set, but still soft, fold into the oat/veggie mixture.
- Remove from heat and top with cilantro and sesame seeds.
To cook oats:
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast 1 cup oats for 5 minutes, shaking and stirring constantly.
- Transfer to a bowl, pour-over 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 tsp salt, then cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes, or until oats have absorbed all of the water.
- Fluff with fork. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.