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~ Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry ~

IMG_1365Of the original three Rice-a-Roni flavors (chicken, beef and Spanish-style), chicken is the undisputed favorite, with beef and tomatoey Spanish-style coming in a close second and third. Growing up in the 60's, all three flavors of "the San Francisco treat" were always in my mom's pantry, and, as a savvy cook and recipe developer, I'm proud of my copycat recipes for all three.  Over the decades, Rice-a-Roni has added many other flavors to their menu (long-grain & wild rice, rice pilaf, Japanese teriyaki, Chinese fried-rice, and Mexican-Style), twenty-six to be exact, along with other Pasta-Roni products.  Their stir-fried rice is one of my recent favorites.

In the case of this Chinese-Style Rice-a-Roni-for-dinner recipe, I'm not posting a copycat recipe for the rice and vermicelli, or, the seasoning packet, meaning,  I'm using the boxed mix and seasoning packet just as they are.  I simply adding several yummy Chinese-style pantry additions. It's these additions that turn this boxed mix into an absolutely-delightful super-easy-to-make one-skillet dinner:  sesame oil, diced pork loin, thinly-sliced fresh scallions, a can of well-drained straw mushrooms, garlic paste, ginger paste and Chinese soy sauce, plus, at the very end, a steamed, steam-in-bag bag of broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts gets stirred in.

IMG_1273For the pork stir-fry:

2  tablespoons sesame oil

2  tablespoons Chinese soy sauce

1  tablespoon hoisin sauce

2  teaspoons ginger paste

1 1/2-2  teaspoons garlic paste

1  pound pork tenderloin, sliced into very-thin strips

1  cup thin-sliced green onions, white and light green parts only

IMG_1277 IMG_1277 IMG_1277~ Step 1.  Slice pork as directed.  In a 1-gallon food storage bag, place sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic past.  Add pork to bag.  Seal the bag.  Using your fingertips, massage the bag to coat pork strips in marinade.  Marinate 30-60 minutes or longer -- this can be done the night before or in the morning and refrigerated.  Return to room temperature, about 1 hour, prior to stir-frying.

IMG_1284 2 IMG_1284 2 IMG_1284 2~ Step 2.  Heat a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan over medium-high.  Add the pork and all of the marinade, along with the green onions.  Using a large spoon, stir-fry the pork, stirring constantly, until just cooked through, 1 1/2-2 minutes.  Do not overcook pork.  Transfer the stir-fried pork mixture to a medium bowl.

For the Fried-Rice-a-Roni and steamed vegetables:

3  tablespoons sesame oil

1  teaspoon ginger paste

1/2-1  teaspoon garlic paste

1  6.8-ounce box Stir-Fried Rice-a-Roni + seasoning packet

2  cups water

2  tablespoons Chinese soy sauce

1  15-ounce can straw mushrooms, well-drained

1  10.8-ounce steam-in-bag stir-fry vegetables (a mixture of broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts)

IMG_1288 IMG_1288 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296 IMG_1296~Step 1.  In the chef's pan, heat the sesame oil over low heat. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste. Increase heat to medium-high.  Prepare the Rice-a-Roni according to package directions, starting by browning the rice and vermicelli in the sesame oil (in place of butter).  Stir in soy sauce and  mushrooms.  Add the water and contents of seasoning packet.  Adjust heat to simmer, covered, for 14-15 minutes.  About 12 minutes into the simmering process, steam the stir-fry vegetables in the microwave.  When steamed, open the bag and drain them thoroughly (I use a paper-towel lined plate).

IMG_1319 IMG_1324 IMG_1328 2 IMG_1328 IMG_1335 IMG_1341~Step 2.  Uncover the pan.  Using a fork, rake the Rice-a-Roni to separate the rice grains and pasta strands.  Add and stir in the stir-fried pork-scallion mixture and any and all juices in the bowl.  Add and stir in the well-drained steamed vegetables.  

Portion into bowls & serve immediately.  Take a bite.

IMG_1384Yea, you're coming back for more until this is gone.

IMG_1387Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry:  Recipe yields 6-8 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides; 2-cup measuring container; large spoon or spatula; paper towels; fork

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4dc7788200dCook's Note: Want to learn how to stir-fry or teach someone how to stir-fry?  Start with Chinese-American chicken and broccoli.  It is the quintessential basic stir-fry.  One protein (chicken).  One vegetable (broccoli).  One sauce (brown). Steamed rice (white).  Nine out of ten times, there will be some garlic, ginger and green onions in the mix too.  Chicken and Broccoli is on every Chinese take-out menu, it's one of the most popular Chinese chicken dishes, and, it is almost always the first stir-fry home cooks try to duplicate.  There's more.  No special hardware is required.  While stir-frying is typically done in a traditional wok or in an Americanized stir-fry pan, a skillet or an electric skillet work equally fine too.  Try my super-easy recipe for ~ Stir fry 101. Chinese-American Chicken & Broccoli ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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