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Volume 17

Dinner This Week: Fast Fried Rice

By Keith Dresser Published

Get into an easy-dinner groove with Fried Brown Rice with Napa Cabbage Salad; Thai Curry with Sticky Rice; and a Silician Fish Stew with Garlic Bread.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Fried Brown Rice with Pork and Napa Cabbage Slaw

For our Fried Brown Rice with Pork and Shrimpbrown rice stands in for the more conventional white rice. The bran layer keeps the grains from clumping, so we can use freshly cooked rice instead of fussing with the need for leftovers as white rice requires. Additionally, the bran acts as a nonstick coating on each grain, so brown rice requires far less oil in the frying stage. Napa Cabbage Slaw offers a more tender, delicate texture and a sweeter flavor than traditional green cabbage slaw. To avoid a bland, watered-down slaw, we make a potent dressing with a high ratio of vinegar to oil. After tossing the cabbage with the dressing and letting it sit for about 5 minutes, moisture from the cabbage dilutes the dressing slightly, so the slaw reaches the perfect level of bright acidity.

Printable Shopping ListsFried Brown Rice with Pork and Shrimp and Napa Cabbage Slaw

Equipment Review Gyutou

In Europe, the chef's knife is a sturdy tool that can chop and slice anything. In Japan it's a thin, light precision instrument. What happens when East meets West?

Dinner 2: Thai Chicken Curry and Sticky Rice

Our Thai Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Peanuts is a massaman-style curry known for its depth and warm spices, but it's not spicy. For a flavorful curry paste, we start with the traditional shallots, ginger, and garlic and add dried New Mexican chiles, five-spice powder, and ground cumin, which act as stand-ins for the customary but hard-to-track-down Thai spices and chiles. We sauté the paste to further intensify its flavors before stirring in coconut milk and chicken broth. We then simmer potatoes, onion, chicken, and peanuts in the broth until tender. Traditionally, Thai-Style Sticky Rice is cooked in a bamboo basket set over an hourglass-shaped aluminum pot, which allows the rice to steam on all sides. We mimic that setup with a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.

Printable Shopping ListsThai Chicken Curry and Thai-Style Sticky Rice

Equipment Review Large Saucepans

Most of us use a large saucepan daily, so it’s important to own one that performs flawlessly and will last for years. But how much does high quality have to cost?

Dinner 3: Sicilian Fish Stew and Cheesy Garlic Bread

For our Sicilian Fish Stew base, a ratio of 3 parts canned diced tomatoes to 2 parts fish stock strikes the perfect balance between the briny taste of the sea and the sweet acidity of tomatoes. Chunks of hearty swordfish stand up to the bold flavors, and finishes of fresh mint and toasted pine nuts add texture, color, and bursts of freshness. Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Garlic Bread starts with a generous amount of toasted garlic: Toasting helps to mellow the harshness and highlight the rich, sweet, nutty flavor of the allium. We use butter and cheese sparingly to give the bread ample richness and complexity without marring its texture or interfering with the garlic’s flavor.

Printable Shopping ListsSicilian Fish Stew and Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Garlic Bread


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.