Before you accuse me of suffering from poverty of culinary imagination, I will willingly concede that this recipe is arguably one of the easiest of all the ones I intend to post within the next few weeks. Yes, it requires me to flex a little less of my culinary muscle than I’m accustomed to, but, simply put, this is an easy and delicious fried rice recipe. You don’t have to toil over this and you won’t find yourself hovering over your laptop or PC or iPad, reading and re-reading this recipe, with furrowed brows and a look of confusion. It is a simple recipe…but don’t be disenchanted – it is flavourful and comforting and the culinary equivalent of a comfy recliner chair. Who among us couldn’t use a go-to recipe for an easy and healthy weekday dinner that whips up in mere minutes? It’s the ideal recipe, particularly for those of you whose children will eat healthy only under protest. So before you start with a snarky question like, “How is this recipe supposed to hasten my journey to culinary greatness?” I’ll tell you right now that it won’t. But if a recipe is a classic, you really don’t have reinvent the wheel to testify to its greatness.
I used a good quality cut of steak and cut the meat on a distinct 45 degree angle. Cutting the meat on a bias keeps it tender while cooking to avoid that unsavoury chewy texture that meat often tends to take on after it is cut improperly than cooked.
Don’t be put off by this recipe if you don’t happen to have red and green peppers at home. I often make this recipe with whatever bell peppers I have on hand – yellow, orange, red, or green. The more colours you add, of course, the more beautiful the finished product will be. But don’t omit the peppers all together. After all, this recipe is aptly named ‘confetti rice’ for the colourful sprinkling of chopped peppers throughout the rice. The finished product is really quite beautiful and impressive for a simple rice dish.
Beef Confetti Rice
1 lb (454 g) top sirloin grilling steaks
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder or cinnamon
2 cups white rice
5 tablespoons (75 ml) canola (or vegetable) oil – divided (see recipe)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup sweet red pepper (can be substituted with orange or yellow pepper)
½ cup green bell pepper
¼ cup carrots
1 cup white button mushrooms
1 large white onion
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup beef stock or water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) hoison sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Sriracha hot sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
3 green onions (scallions)
Marinate the beef: Thinly slice beef into strips, cutting the meat diagonally to produce tender pieces. Transfer the beef to a bowl and toss with soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic, ginger and five-spice (or cinnamon) powder. Let the mixture marinate for 20 minutes.
Boil the rice: Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and add the rice. Allow to cook until it is al dente. Drain the water and set aside.
Prepare the egg and vegetable mixture: In a small frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and scramble the eggs over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Once cooked, add the scrambled egg to the pot of cooked rice. Cover the pot with a lid to keep the rice and egg warm while you prepare the rest of the dish. Seed, core and cut red and yellow peppers into bite-size pieces. Dice the onions, carrots and mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over high heat before adding garlic and crushed chili flakes and sauté for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant and toasted, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the diced vegetables (carrots, green and red peppers, onions and mushrooms) and cook until they are tender-crisp (about 2 minutes). Add the sesame oil and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
Stir-fry the beef: In the same skillet heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over high heat and stir-fry the beef mixture until browned and cooked through. Add the beef stock (or water), hoisin sauce (if using) and Sriracha hot sauce and allow the meat to cook for about 30 seconds on simmer until thickened and glossy. Return the vegetables to the wok with the meat. Stir until combined. Add the rice to the wok, along with the coriander (reserving a few small sprigs of coriander for garnishing the plate), and combine thoroughly, making sure the rice is warmed through. Taste to ensure the rice is seasoned well; add additional salt, pepper or soy sauce if desired.
Transfer to a serving platter. Dice green onions and sprinkle on top of the rice along with reserved coriander sprigs. Serve warm.
Yields: 4 servings