Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Faux fried rice

Dear foodies,

This is a no-fuss weekday quickie meal that I whipped up a few nights back. Not much of a recipe here, just throwing together of a bunch of ready made, quick cooking ingredients to make something tasty. I usually try to avoid rice and stick to whole grains or light dinners during the night. But sometimes you just feel like eating rice, its a comfort issue. I've been enjoying it all my life and its tough to totally remove it from my menu and I definitely don't intend to do any such thing either. Now and then its possible to trick your mind though. All your senses play a role in the act of eating and its not just the taste-buds going on a overdrive. So by substituting rice with rice shaped pasta, orzo, I can get myself to think it is rice, if only for a few moments before I taste it :)

I use orzo quite often, any pasta for that matter, because I love it and sometimes I am just too lazy to cook rice and a side dish separately. With pasta you can toss together some veggies, a mix of spices and end up with a wholesome meal. Its a lot quicker and offers much more flexibility to me, I get to use up a lot of veggies- fresh, frozen or leftovers, and use a mix of condiments that I would otherwise not use with white rice. Here I used a Nasi goreng curry paste, its a condiment used for making Malaysian style fried rice with the word itself meaning 'fried rice' in Malay. My grandmother lived in Malaysia and Singapore for quite a few years and I have heard many stories from her of her life there. Part of those stories was also the food she enjoyed and Nasi Goreng featured prominently, atleast it was one of the words that stuck. The moment I saw this curry paste on the grocery store aisle, I picked it up so I could try it out and tell her about it. So here's the faux fried rice I made with it, faux, since there is no rice involved :)

  • 1 cups - Orzo
  • 3/4 cup - Mixed vegetables - I used frozen thai style veggies: beans, sprouts, chestnuts, carrots and broccoli
  • 1/2 tsp - Oil
  • 1 tsp - Nasi goreng paste or any Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp - Soy sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp - thai chilli paste (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Bring some water to a boil, add salt and orzo and cook till the pasta is al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, thaw the frozen vegetables, either in the microwave or by placing them at room temp for sometime. Heat a pan with the oil on medium heat, add the curry paste and saute for 30secs. Add the veggies, increase the heat and saute trying to retain some crunch in the veggies. Next add the soy sauce, chilli paste and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the vegetables, stir well, check for seasonings and serve hot!
This fried rice pasta was extremely flavorful. The curry paste was not overwhelming, and I just love freshly ground pepper in my fried rice recipes and this was no exception. The pasta paired really well with all the other ingredients and made for a enjoyable meal. Other recipes that I have used orzo in are this soup and salad and this other time that I used a thai curry paste instead. Now out with your quick fixes? What ready made condiments do you use, if any ?

12 thoughts:

Pearlsofeast said...

Nice idea Priya to nasigoreng paste.

madteaparty said...

But why would you need to want to remove rice from your diet? I'd die!

Priya said...

Pearlsofeast, thank you :)

Anita, I would too, love it too much! But I tend to over eat when I have rice for dinner and I need a sambar/rasam/dal and a veggie dish to go along with it, not to forget the crunchy-munchies, just too much work I say :P I enjoy it at leisure over the weekends :)

anudivya said...

Never been a big fan of rice much to the chagrin of others... this is my kinda dish, and I am loving it.

Pavani said...

Great dish for the quick weeknight dinner. I try to make no-rice dishes at least 2-3 times a week and this is perfect. For quick fixes I mostly use pesto (I buy a bottle from Costco that lasts me for about a month), parampara veg biryani masala & miso.

Sagari said...

wonderful recipe

Soma said...

Wow interesting. never used orzo like a fried rice.

my quick fixes are with Sriracha, Pesto (make & freeze), Mint Coriander Chutney, soy sauce, spice & dal powder which i make in bulk.

DEESHA said...

nice recipe .. I havent tried nasigoreng paste .. looks lovely that plate of rice

sthitapragnya said...

Ooo! I tried your 'Dum Aloo' finally and it turned out Great! I'm now a popular chef among our Indian student circles here! They call me 'Bhattumurty'! Go Figure! :P
So, in this recipe, can we use substitutes like regular pasta and Chinese sauces? Or would that make it a completely different dish? :D I'll try finding those condiments, though.

Priya said...

Anu,haha, I can imagine it being tough to explain!

Pavani, Miso is next on my list, and I recently bought some pesto tooo...never bought the masala's though.

Sagari, thank you

Soma, I can already imagine the number of meals you can get out of that! I need to try making pesto at home, do make it with basil or expt ?

Deesha, thank you :) This was my first time trying it too..

Karthik, Now that is cool! but I hope you've not been assigned the title of official cook for the parties ? :D
and feel free to experiment with the recipe, pasta is like a clean slate and the variations are restricted only by your imagination! Chinese sauce sounds good, never used that before. Get hold of thai curry pastes (I've used red & green before) if you can too.

Kalai said...

What a brilliant idea! Rice is totally comfort food for me, too, Priya. I should definitely try to get my hands on some nasigoreng paste! I like to rely on stuff like soy sauce, sriracha sauce, chipotle peppers, frozen spinach (my lifesaver!), and pre made idli or dosa batter from the weekend.

Soma said...


for some reason I rarely use basil as the main ingrd. for pesto. I recently posted a Roasted red pepper one with pasta. I frequently use roasted or sundried tomatoes, or different kind of peppers, a lot of garlic along with or may be not basil...

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