This past week I taught two cooking classes that focused on using seasonal produce in Asian stir-fries, dumplings, salads, and noodle dishes. They were both really fun, and I got a lot of great feedback from students who loved that it was traditional cooking with a twist, using super fresh, locally sourced vegetables.
We used farmer's market produce in dishes such as a lamb and fava bean stir-fry, dumplings with Swiss chard and ramps, and miso cod with roasted red radishes. It goes to show that just because you're cooking Asian food doesn't mean you're limited to the usual suspects like bok choy, cabbage, and daikon, some of which aren't the best right now.
Throughout the year I like to adapt my fried rice ingredients to suit the seasons, such as using more root vegetables in the winter or pumpkin in the fall. Right now asparagus stalks are looking mighty fine at the Greenmarket, so this is my fried rice du jour.
Here, I also added a bit more ginger than usual for a sharper flavor. You can serve this as is or even with a bit of mint on the side, as we did in class this week in a fried rice using freshly shelled peas. Spring in a bowl!
Asparagus and Ginger Fried Rice
Serves 3 to 4 as a side
- 3 cups cooled leftover white rice
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Break up the cooled cooked rice into smaller clumps.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the ginger and scallions and cook for about 30 seconds, until just aromatic.
- Add the asparagus and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until tender crisp.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan. Toss in the rice and break up any remaining clumps with a spatula. Continue to stir-fry until the rice starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir until well-mixed with the rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the rice to a large communal bowl or individual bowls and serve.