Serious Eats: Recipes

'The Food Matters Cookbook': Spicy Fried Rice with Bean Sprouts, Chicken, and Peanuts

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

In The Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman has come up with over 500 recipes designed play down our reliance on animal products. But instead of forcing a strict vegan diet on all of his devotees, Bittman looks at meat and dairy as more of a garnish than the centerpiece of a meal.

My first foray into the world of Bittman's new take on responsible eating was this Spicy Fried Rice with Bean Sprouts, Chicken, and Peanuts, a spin on (not that great for you) pad thai and fried rice. Bittman uses a few simple rules to turn takeout go-tos into an inexpensive, simple to make, easy to enjoy one-plate meal that is far more enjoyable than anything that comes in a Styrofoam container.

In this recipe Bittman splits up a few ounces of chicken and one egg between four servings and bulks up the dish with nutty brown rice and lots of vegetables. If you are cutting down on meat and fat in favor of more healthful grains and veggies, you've got to be sure that your flavors are on point, lest you be left with a bland plate that tastes, well, healthy. Flavoring the fried rice with fish sauce, bird chiles, crushed peanuts, and basil gives the dish an unmistakably Thai flavor, fresh and bright, with spice, crunch, and a fantastic salty sourness.

We have five (5) copies of The Food Matters Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman. Copyright © 2010. Published by Simon & Schuster. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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