Five-Spice Walnut Fried Rice

Fall has some how made its way back into our lives and while I do love everything that it brings, I was not quite ready to leave summer behind. However, in effort to keep a little bit of summer and somewhat welcome fall, this week’s recipe contains a little bit of each. The gentle warmness of the five-spice toasted walnuts brings a nice crunch on top of a more summer focused fried rice, but together, they pair beautifully for your early September dinner. 

I love Chinese five spice. It’s so unique because each spice on their own is fantastic and offers something so different, but when combined they create something so bold, flavorful and warming. Although the exact history is unknown, it’s thought that putting all five spices together creates the ultimate “wonder powder” because all five taste elements are combined- sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. In this recipe, you’ll gently toast the walnuts with the five spice, infusing your kitchen and likely house with this warming aroma. At first it’ll feel like fall. Then you’ll set the walnuts aside and make the stir fry with the zucchini to remind you that summer is in fact still around. 

I love using walnuts in something like a stir fry both inside it and on top as a garnish because they provide such a great nutrition punch, but also add that extra crunch. When balancing a dish, texture differences comes into play and I here the walnuts help provide that extra element to balance against the zucchini and rice. Here you get the crunchy walnut both inside the fried rice as well as on top in the garnish. Now here’s Becca my PR/dietitian guru to go into the nutrition more detail on why walnuts are so good for you!

Notes from Becca: 

Thanks Chef! Walnuts are in fact a great nutrition powerhouse. While walnuts do have a high fat content, they are high in unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are the only nut significantly high in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is incredibly important for heart health and is known to help decrease inflammation. Additionally, ALA is the precursor to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Plus walnuts are great sources of copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E. 

Eat Well With Ming: Did you know that walnuts contain multiple bioactive compounds that are known to have antiangiogenic activity including phytoserols, gamma-tocopherol, omega-3-fatty acids, ellagic acid and antioxidant polyphenols?

Allergy Free Note:shellfish free, fish free, peanut free, and egg free

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Five-Spice Walnut Fried Rice 

Serves 4-6

2 cups house rice, recipe below 
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil 
2 cups walnuts
1 tablespoon 5- spice freshly ground or store bought (see note at bottom if you want to make your own)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups house rice, recipe below 
1 bunch scallions, sliced white and green separated, 1 tablespoon green saved for garnish
1 jalapeno, minced
1 zucchini, ½ inch dice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 *Note, if you decide to make your own five-spice, use 1 teaspoon each of freshly ground Szechuan peppercorn, cinnamon, clove, star anise and fennel

1.    Make your house rice and set aside. 
2.    In a large sauté pan, add the grapeseed oil and heat on medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and the five spice and toss to mix well and combine. Continue to gently toss to allow the walnuts to toast, making sure they get coated in the spice. Once nicely toasted, about 4-5 minutes, set aside. 
3.    In a wok, heat 1 teaspoon oil and place on medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallion whites. Start to sauté until fragrant.
4.    Add the jalapeno and zucchini and sauté to cook down until the zucchini starts to cook through. Add the rice and soy sauce and toss to combine well. 
5.    While the rice is warming through, chop 1 cup of the walnuts and scallion greens. Add to the stir fry. 
6.    Serve hot in a bowl or mount in a bowl and flip over onto a plate so you have a nice mountain of rice. Garnish with reserved scallion greens and remaining walnuts. Enjoy! 

PERFECT HOUSE RICE  

Yields 6 cups

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 1/2 cups white rice
water

1. Rinse 1½ cups brown rice and soak it in fresh cold water to cover for 1 hour. Transfer the rice to a medium saucepan. 

2. Put 1½ cups white rice in a large bowl in the sink. Rinse the rice by filling the bowl with cold water and stirring the rice with your hand. Drain and repeat until the water in the bowl is clean. Transfer the rice to the same saucepan.

3. Flatten the rice with your palm and without removing it, add water until it touches the highest knuckle of your middle finger. Cover and boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, covered, to plump, for 20 minutes. 

5. Stir gently and serve.

Rebecca Noren