Fried rice is one of the great one-bowl meals, though this vegetarian version, packed with tender-crisp bok choy and kale and crispy nubs of fried garlic is so good that you'll probably want to keep it in your repertoire as a side dish as well.
Why this recipe works:
- Fried garlic is one of the best condiments to keep around, and the flavorful oil that is a by-product of its production makes the perfect medium for stir-frying.
- Bok choy and kale are two hearty greens that go hand in hand. With no meat in this recipe, cooking takes just a few moments.
Note: For best results, use day-old cooked rice that has been stored in the refrigerator overnight. If cooking same day, cook the rice then spread it in an even layer on a wide plate or rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for at least 1 hour before stir-frying. Once cooled completely, extra garlic can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 months.
- For the Fried Garlic:
- 1 whole head of garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- For the Fried Rice:
- 3 cups day-old cooked jasmine or short grain rice (see note)
- 2 cups chopped kale (about 4 ounces)
- 2 cups chopped bok choy (about 4 ounces)
- 1 Thai bird's eye chili, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
for the Fried Garlic: Transfer garlic to the bowl of a food processor or mini food processor. Pulse until garlic is very finely chopped but not a paste, about 12 short pulses, scraping down sides as necessary. Set aside 2 teaspoons and toss remaining garlic with a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Set a fine mesh strainer over a heat-proof bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring. Garlic should maintain a gently bubble. If bubbling vigorously, reduce heat. Cook until garlic is light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, then immediately strain. Transfer garlic to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Reserve fried garlic and oil separately (see note).
For the Fried Rice: Heat 1 tablespoon garlic oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the kale and bok choy, season with salt, and stir-fry until the vegetables are bright green and barely wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 more tablespoon garlic oil in the wok over high heat until smoking. Add reserved raw minced garlic and bird's eye chili and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add rice and stir immediately, breaking up any large chunks and adding remaining garlic oil as necessary to prevent sticking.
Season rice with salt and white pepper, then add soy sauce. Return kale and bok choy to rice and toss to combine. Transfer to warm serving bowl and sprinkle generously with fried garlic. Serve immediately.