Kale Fried Rice is one of my favorite fake-out take-out meals to ever come out of my kitchen!
I’m sad I used up my “Best-Ever” claim for the week already. I mean, Best-Ever Black Bean Soup with Cilantro-Lime Rice definitely deserves the title, but OMG so does Kale Fried Rice!
The recipe is from my sister-in-law, Kerry, whose 3 year old son, Finn, is obsessed with kale. Like, throws out a request for it when she asks everybody what they want from the grocery store each week. (PS could you just nearly throw your computer out the window in reaction to how adorable they are?!)
Anyway, kale chips, one of his favorite preparations of kale, can get old so she’s always on the lookout for new recipes that incorporate the vitamin-packed green, and stumbled upon this recipe for Kale Fried Rice months ago. It was such a hit with her, my brother, AND Finn, that she now makes it regularly for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Except now she doubles the recipe. And now I know why.
I literally inhaled this plate of kale fried rice – it is the BEST! There. I said it. It almost has a sesame chicken flavor, from a secret ingredient I’ll divulge below. The kale is nice and chewy-crisp and, gosh, it’s just so much win on one plate. Which is exactly what I texted her after making this.
Kale Fried Rice = SO MUCH WIN!
As I was making the fried rice I thought it’d be nice to pump it up with egg, edamame, or broccoli, but seriously, it is perfect as is. Try it once as written then add whatever it is your heart desires to the next batch. Which there WILL be!
Start the Kale Fried Rice by making the delicious, sesame-chicken-esque sauce. You’ll need 2 Tablespoons each mirin (available in the Asian foods aisle at the grocery store) and gluten-free tamari or soy sauce if you don’t need the dish to be GF, as well as 2 teaspoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon maple syrup.
I was real, I mean REAL skeptical about adding maple syrup to the sauce, but it is ace. You can’t pick out the flavor, but it adds an awesome, slightly-sweet contrast to the salty soy sauce. MMM! Ok, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, then set it aside.
Next, get 3/4 cup long grain brown rice (I used jasmine) cooking in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth on the stove. Unpictured because I forgot, and well, you know what cooking rice looks like!
While that’s cooking away, strip 1/2 bunch kale from the stems then tear into bite-sized pieces. You’ll need 4 cups packed kale total. I was jazzed to see kale in this recipe because it’s so healthy, and I really do love its flavor and texture. Kale is totally the new spinach!
Finally, wash and dry the kale. I was also jazzed to try out my new salad spinner I got from IKEA last weekend. $2 for this baby!!
K. Calming down, we now bring 4 cups water plus 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a big wok or skillet. Add the kale then boil for 4-5 minutes or until it’s tender. Drain the kale then, when it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze the excess moisture out with your hands and set it aside.
Return the same wok to the stove then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 small minced onion then saute until golden brown and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Then add 4 cloves – yes, 4 CLOVES – minced garlic and saute for 1 more minute. I LOVED how garlicky this fried rice was!
Add the cooked/drained kale back to the wok then saute for 2 minutes. BTW – this Curtis Stone Wok would make an excellent holiday gift for the foodie in your life. Nothing sticks to it, and the sides have the perfect curvature for flipping ingredients like a professional chef. Fan-cay!
Add the cooked rice into the skillet then toss to combine.
Then add the pre-made sauce and toss again.
Scoop onto plates, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, which add a nice PoP on top!
Kale Fried Rice
Slightly adapted from My Wise Mom
3/4 cup long grain brown rice, like jasmine or basmati (I used jasmine)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups packed kale, removed from stems and chopped
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
sesame seeds, for garnish
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons mirin, or other sweet cooking wine
2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce if you don’t need the dish to be GF
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Stir together sauce ingredients in a small bowl then set aside. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan then add rice, place a lid on top, and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook rice until tender, about 30-40 minutes (or according to package directions.)
- When rice has 15 minutes left to cook, boil water and salt in a large wok or skillet. Add kale then cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then when kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze excess water out with hands. Set kale aside.
- Return skillet to stove then turn heat down to medium-high. Add oil then onion and saute, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Add garlic then saute, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add drained kale then saute for 2 minutes. Add cooked rice to the wok then toss to combine. Add sauce to the wok then toss to combine. Serve topped with sesame seeds.
Salty, garlicky, and just a touch sweet, the textures and flavors in the dish were top. Notch!
Plus, if a 3 year old loves it, how bad could it be?! ;)