Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger

Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger by

Open my refrigerator on any given day, and you will find leftover rice.  It’s a staple in the Asian kitchen.  You never really know how much rice will be eaten for dinner, so instead of guessing, just make a giant batch to assure yourself you will have plenty of leftovers for another meal or two.

That day old, crumbly, cold rice is essential for making the perfect fried rice dish.  Just cook up with piles of veggies, meat, or a simple fried egg.

Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger by

Leftover white rice usually means taking out the wok, cranking up the fire, and pouring in the cooking oil, to make a classic fried rice dish.  A tasty lunch, but not the healthiest of choices every week.

Since brown rice is one of our staple grains, I always double up the portion to stretch the leftovers into making a few meals.  It’s a nutritious grain, and offers a mild, nutty, toothsome texture that makes it ideal for creating simple, healthy, sautéed rice dishes in a non-stick pan, like Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger.

Shiitake mushrooms for Asian vegetarian dishes

In Asia, shiitake mushrooms have long been enjoyed for many of their health-promoting benefits, mainly to boost the immune system and to regulate blood pressure. But it is that versatile, extra mushroom-y flavor that makes shiitake an especially popular ingredient in a variety of Asian-style dishes.

Like brown rice, shiitake mushroom are a must-have for Asian vegetarian cooking, to give dishes a hardy flavor and a meaty texture.  An important ingredient on cold, spring days when you just want to stay inside and munch on a warm, comforting dish of Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger.

How to slice and stir-fry ginger by

For this Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice recipe, I use a technique in Chinese cooking where fresh ginger is cut into thin matchsticks, fried until crispy brown, and added to the dish as a garnish. The oil that has been infused with ginger is then used to lend flavor and aroma to the entire dish. 

Serve with a hot bowl of miso soup, or just enjoy it as a meal by itself.

Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger by
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Shiitake Mushroom Brown Rice with Crispy Ginger 
by Season with Spice 
Serves 2 - 3

2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or another neutral tasting cooking oil)
1 knob of fresh ginger (2-3 inches long) – peeled and sliced diagonally into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tsp red chili flakes
6 - 8 oz package of fresh shiitake mushrooms - stems discarded, thinly sliced
1/2 lb of thin asparagus - snapped into 2 inch length pieces
3 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (best cooked the day before, and refrigerated overnight) 
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
Salt to taste
Generous dashes of Season with Spice's ground white pepper

1. On medium fire, heat oil in a large sauté pan. Then add in ginger, and stir fry over medium-low heat (be careful not to burn the ginger). Cook until a light, crispy brown - about one minute. Turn heat off, remove the ginger immediately and set aside (leave the oil in the pan).
2. Reheat the ginger-infused oil. Add in garlic, red chili flakes, shiitakes mushrooms, and a small pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms start to release moisture – about 2-3 minutes. Toss in the asparagus and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Add in a bit more oil if needed. Then crumble in the rice to loosen the clumps. Then add in soy sauce (or tamari), salt, and Shaoxing wine (if using), and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until heated through. Turn fire off.
3. Finally, add in ground white pepper. And either stir in the crispy ginger slices to combine with the rice or use them as a garnish. Serve immediately.

- To prepare the mushrooms, wipe them clean with a damp towel. Do not soak mushrooms in water because they will get soggy.
- Instead of asparagus, try adding in fresh spinach or frozen peas. And for a non-vegetarian version, try adding in shrimp or chicken.