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Pork-Fried Rice

Prep time: none Cook time: none Serves: none 3 Tbs peanut oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbs finely minced gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
1/4 cup finely diced celery
4 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 cup shredded cooked pork (see Note, below)
1/2 cup defrosted tiny peas, drained
2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (reserve green tops for garnish, if desired)
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp Asian dark sesame oil (available in Asian-food specialty stores) 1. Heat a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, swirling pan so oil covers the bottom.

2. Pour in eggs and cook undisturbed until they begin to set, 10 to 15 seconds. Using a spatula, stir eggs until medium-soft curds. Remove eggs from pan and reserve on a plate.

3. Return pan to high heat and add remaining oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add ginger, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

4. Add rice gradually, breaking up any clumps that may have formed as it cooled, while stirring frequently. Cook until warm, about 3 minutes.

5. Add pork, green peas, and scallions. Stir-fry until edges of scallions begin to color, another 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add soy sauce, drizzle with sesame oil, and stir to mix. Return eggs to pan, stirring carefully to incorporate them into the rice. Garnish with scallion tops, if desired. Serves 4.

Note: Instead of pork, you can substitute shelled shrimp, cooked chicken, or thin strips of flank steak.

No More Burnt Rice

Electric rice cookers take the guesswork out of cooking rice. Many major houseware companies (such as Rival, Oster, and Sanyo) make ones that cook 2 to 11 cups in 30 minutes. Look for a model with a nonstick pan and that will keep the rice warm after it's done. Most double as a steamer, so you can use it for vegetables, too.

Grain of Truth

Did you know that there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice? Check out www.usarice.com/domestic/recipes/types.htm brought to you by the USA Rice Federation. You'll find useful facts, clear photos, prep tips, and nutritional information about the little grain. And if you grew up cooking with Uncle Ben's rice in your home, you can now enter his cozy kitchen via his website, unclebens.com, and find recipes and rice-related products. 

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