Chicken. Fried. Rice. How many of your late night Chinese food takeout feasts have featured this delicious, crowd-pleasing side dish? What if I told you I had an easy, healthy recipe that would slash the fat, pump up the protein and fiber and reduce the sodium without compromising the taste? You’d probably call me crazy! (And I suppose you’d be at least partly right). But in my mission to make EVERY meal supportive of my strength training regimen (high-protein, here I come), I found a way, and my first candidate for Weeknight Winner Wednesdays! That’s right, I’ll be posting quick and easy, nutritious and delicious, FAMILY-FRIENDLY fare that will be your new “go-to” for weeknight dinners (and the leftovers make great lunches, too!). Not every Wednesday, necessarily, but Wednesday for sure. Let’s talk about this craziness…
I seem to be on a roll with representing (or attempting to represent) various world cuisines with my dinner dishes. Chicken Fried Rice is probably not the most “authentic” or “traditional” Chinese dish, but it certainly is a favourite of many North Americans and what many North Americans think of when they think of “Chinese” food. (Mind you, I’ll have to tell you about our experience of dining at “Western” restaurants and sampling “Western” dishes in Asia. South Korea’s take on a pizza or burger is generally not quite what you’d expect in North America, although there are some pretty impressive expat- and Korean-run restaurants that get pretty close). My home town of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia (here’s looking at you, “SackVegas”! – I didn’t know the town had its own website until I Googled it for this post) boasts King Town as its Chinese restaurant of choice, and Chicken Fried Rice is a major part of many of its combo dishes, including my adolescent favourite: Combo J (and yes, it’s still on the menu).
This particular version substitutes brown rice for white rice (you’d NEVER see that substitution in Asia, let me tell you), amps up the protein some more and cuts the fat by using egg whites instead of whole eggs, adds in some veggies, and gets its saltiness from Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (which might save you some sodium vs. using regular soy sauce, as long as you don’t overdo it – the jury seems to be out on this). As per usual (for me), this dish comes together in one big pan (or wok!) and you can take advantange of “quick” ingredients such as “instant” brown rice and canned chicken (as always, be sure to rinse and drain thoroughly to cut down on the added sodium in canned products). P.S. – The foundation for a lot of my high-protein cooking is Tanya Lee’s Body Art Cookbook – if you’re an “active body” looking to fuel your movement, this book is for you.
So, now that I’ve asserted that this is NOT perhaps the most inspiring example of Chinese cuisine, it is still pretty darn tasty and most assuredly better for you than the takeout version! Let’s whip it together faster than you can say “fortune cookie”!
Good-for-you Chicken Fried Rice
Healthier (and faster) than Chinese food takeout, this good-for-you chicken fried rice is a high-protein, low-fat update on an “Asian” favourite.
Author: The Golden Graham Girl
1 tbsp (15mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion (100g), diced
1/2 cup (50g) celery, finely chopped
3-4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (1lb or 16oz or 454g)
3 cups (400g) cooked brown rice
8 egg whites (1 cup or 250mL liquid egg whites)
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos Natural Soy Sauce Alternative*, to taste (or soy sauce)
1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet (or wok!) over medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook until the onion is translucent and the celery begins to soften (approximately 5 minutes).
3. Add the chicken and brown rice and heat through.
4. Pour the liquid egg whites evenly over top and stir and cook like scrambled eggs until the egg whites are cooked through.
4. Add liquid aminos to taste.
5. Serve and never order Chinese food takeout again!
Calories: 333 Fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 2g Fiber: 3g Protein: 47g
Enjoy immediately. A stand-alone meal in and of itself, you can also pair this with your favourite Chinese food side such as vegetable spring rolls or egg rolls with plum dipping sauce. Leftovers (if there are any!) are great for lunch!