Friday, October 12, 2012

Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower

Alex disagrees with me on this - but this dish was my favorite thing we have made all week.  He preferred the Fish-Fragrant Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi). And it was vegan!  I'm not saying that I want to be vegan (or vegetarian for that matter), but I thought it bore mentioning that this recipe is vegan.  Alex said he would have liked the dish more if we added some finely chopped egg pancake (which we briefly considered doing until we realized that we were out of eggs).  I get where he is coming from, but I don't think the lack of egg hurt the dish at all.  I think the addition of egg would be tasty, but I don't know that it would unduly improve the recipe for me.  My favorite thing about the dish was that the flavors were simple, but fantastic - slightly spicy, salty and full of vegetable goodness.  This is the type of dish I would make for myself all the time if Alex weren't around - I love plates or bowls full of roasted vegetables.  And brussels sprouts and cauliflower are among my absolute favorites.  Instead I have to settle for eating this kind of dish occasionally because it's not really his thing.  He is a good sport about it, but there are other dishes (most of them Asian, pork-based or spicy) that he would prefer.  But that's ok.  I just have to sneak in my roasted vegetable fixes at lunch since he is not around!

Recipe after the jump!

Brussels Sprout Fried Rice with Crispy Cauliflower
Adapted from Serious Eats

2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or sherry
2 tsp soy sauce, divided
2 (generous) tsp chili bean paste, divided (optional)
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 of a medium cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil, separated
1 cup finely shredded brussels sprout
3 cups cooked day-old white or brown rice
4 scallions, finely sliced on the bias
kosher salt

Combine wine, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon chili bean paste in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet over moderately-high heat until shimmering. Add cauliflower florets and cook, shaking or stirring occasionally, until florets are well-browned and caramelized in places, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add wine mixture, shaking the pan rapidly as it reduces to coat the cauliflower. Set aside.

Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until hot. Add brussels sprouts, toss to coat with oil, then stir-fry until well charred all over, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the wok.

Heat remaining 2 tsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil over moderately-high heat until smoking. Add rice and scallions and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until rice is well-coated in oil and individual grains are separated. Return brussels sprouts to wok and cook, until everything is heated through, about 1 minute. Add remaining soy sauce and chili bean paste to wok and toss to evenly distribute. Season to taste with salt. Remove from heat and season with 1 tsp sesame oil.

Serve immediately, topping each plate of fried rice with cauliflower. Garnish with sliced scallion greens, cilantro, and/or chili oil if desired.

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