I’ve gotten a lot of great comment and emails about the last dish I posted, along with pleas for post more “simple and easy meals.” So here’s one more. I wasn’t going to post this here, because it’s SO easy and SO straightforward, I thought it wasn’t necessarily blog-worthy. But my husband loves this dish and convinced me to go ahead and do a full post.
We make this meal pretty regularly now, because not only is it a no-brainer, but it also contains only ingredients we tend to have on hand at all times. So it’s the perfect “I don’t know what to make for dinner” dinner.
This is just your basic fried rice, but it has a secret ingredient (which is totally optional if you can’t find it and don’t want to grab it online). Japanese Seven Spice! Also called Shichimi Togarashi. Have you ever had this stuff? It’s totally awesome.
With a name like “seven spice” I’m sure you can guess that it’s made up of seven spices. They are: orange peel, black, white, and toasted sesame seeds, cayenne pepper, ginger, poppy seeds, Szechuan pepper, and nori. While the sesame seeds, nori, ginger and chilies are all very delicious, it’s the orange peel that really makes this spice mix for me. It gives it such a bright profile. I love this stuff on everything now, especially rice and noodle dishes.
I also use Wildwood baked tofu in this dish, because (again) this dish is built for speed and ease. You can find it at Whole Foods, or get the seemingly-identical Trader Joe’s version. You can also use your own baked tofu, too. I recommend the Wildwood/TJs stuff; it’s really tasty, nice and firm, and it fries up all pretty-like.
Simple Fried Rice with Japanese Seven Spice
1 Cup Brown Rice, dry
2 Cups Water
1-2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 Package Wildwood Baked Tofu, sliced into rectangles (or whatever your favorite tofu is)
1 Stalk Broccoli, chopped into florets
2-3 Carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
Japanese Seven Spice, to taste
2-3 Tbs Toasted Almonds
Start the rice in your rice cooker.
Meanwhile, heat a wok (or skillet, cast-iron preferred) over medium-high heat with a teaspoon or two of oil. Add the tofu and pan-fry until golden on all sides. Remove to a bowl.
Add carrots, with more oil if needed, to the hot wok and cook until tender and browned in places, 5-8 minutes depending on size of chunks. Remove to the same bowl the tofu is in.
Add broccoli to the wok, again adding a little more oil if needed. Cook until bright green and tender crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add the tofu and carrots back to the wok. Cover wok and turn off or to low heat until the rice is done cooking.
When the rice is done, add it to the wok with the vegetables and tofu. Add 2 tbs of Earth Balance margarine, 2 Tbs of tamari (or soy sauce) and 1 Tbs of rice vinegar. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
Plate and top with a generous amount of seven spice and toasted almonds. Serve. I think this would reheat well if you wanted to bring leftovers to work.
I have both these brands. The Spice House one is a coarser mix, a little heavier on the nori, and therefore not bright red like the S&B. I was worried that the S&B would be much spicier, but it’s not. They’re definitely different styles of the same mix, but they’re both GREAT. The S&B is what is pictured on this dish.