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Quesadilla Recipes For National Quesadilla Day

What’s for breakfast? Or lunch? Or dinner? How about some quesadilla recipes? September 25th is National Quesadilla Day.

The quesadilla is half indigenous Mexican, half Spanish, in origin.

  • From the New World: the corn tortillas, hot sauce and other salsas, and eggs* for breakfast quesadillas.
  • From Spain: the cheese†, beef-chicken-or-pork, and shredded lettuce…as well as the wheat for flour tortillas and the . And it’s very, very popular, from Mexican street food to restaurant fare in Mexico and the U.S.
    Traditionally in Mexico, quesadillas are made with corn tortillas and a melty, white cheese. Here in the states though, because of how close we are to the Sonoran area of northern Mexico, quesadillas are more often made with flour tortillas.

    Our featured recipe, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas, is below.

    > Plus, there are seven more yummy quesadilla recipes below.

    > The history of quesadillas.

    > Make quesadillas on the grill with a quesadilla grill basket.

    But first, some background:

    Pepper jack cheese is a variant of Monterey Jack cheese, a mild, creamy, semi-soft cheese. The “peppers” are sweet peppers as well as habaero and jalapeño chiles, or with peppercorns. It can also be made with garlic, rosemary, or other choices of the cheese maker.

    A great melter, the cheese is commonly used as in quesadillas and some burritos. It can also be used on cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as some pasta dishes

    Rather than a new type of cheese, Monterey Jack is a simple renaming of Mexican queso blanco.

    Jack cheese is the same as Monterey Jack, for reasons we describe next.

    Monterey Jack History

    In the 18th century, queso blanco was made by the Mexican Franciscan friars of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Monterey, California. It was then made by other dairies in the area.

    Much later, in the late 19th century, a local businessman named David Jacks owned a dairy along the Salinas River. Like other dairies in the area, it produced queso blanco.

    In 1883, Jacks’ dairy formed partnerships with other regional dairies, to sell their cheeses throughout California. His queso blanco was mass marketed, first as Jack’s Cheese and eventually as Monterey Jack for the county and his own name, minus the “s” [source].

    Variants of Monterey Jack include Pepper Jack (originally made with peppercorns, but more recently with chile peppers) and Dry Jack, an aged version.

    Dry Jack was created by accident in 1915, when a San Francisco wholesaler forgot about a number of wheels of fresh Jack that he had stored. He rediscovered the wheels as World War I intensified and shipments of hard cheese from Europe were interrupted.

    He found that his wheels had aged into a product his customers found to be a good substitute for classic hard cheeses like Parmesan.

    Prep and cook time: 30 minutes. Use whole wheat tortillas for better nutrition.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches)
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup salsa

    1. SCRUB the sweet potatoes. Pierce them several times with a fork and place them on a microwave-safe plate.

    2. MICROWAVE on high, uncovered, turning once, until very tender, 7-9 minutes. When cool enough to handle…

    3. CUT each potato lengthwise in half. Scoop out the pulp and spread it onto one half of each tortilla.

    4. TOP with the beans and cheese. Fold the other half of tortilla over filling.

    5. HEAT a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook the quesadillas until they are golden brown and cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes on each side. You can also cook them on a grill with a grill basket (photo #6).

    6. SERVE with salsa.

  • Breakfast: Fried Egg & Avocado Quesadillas
  • Lunch: “Christmas” Quesadillas (red and green)
  • Dinner: Bobby Flay’s Ribeye & Anaheim Chile Quesadilla
  • Snack: Mini Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
  • Snack: Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla With Fresh Fruit Salsa & Vanilla Yogurt
  • Snack: Peanut Butter & Jelly Quesadillas
  • Halloween: Mummy Quesadillas


    Sweet Potato & Bean Quesadillas On A Plate
    [1] Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas. The recipe is below (photo © Taste Of Home).

    Whole & Halved Sweet Potatoes
    [2] Start by microwaving sweet potatoes and scooping them onto tortillas (photo © Umami Information Center).

    Bush's Black Beans Canned
    [3] Add rinsed black beans (photo © Bush’s Beans).

    A Wedge Of Pepperjack Cheese With Chipotle
    [4] Top with shredded Pepper Jack cheese (photo © Eau Galle Cheese).

    Dish Of Salsa
    [5] Serve with salsa (photo © Marjorie Manicke | Stock Xchange).

    Quesadilla Grill Basket
    [6] Heat on the stove top, or grill your quesadillas with this special grilling basket (photo © Outset Grillware).


    *North America was plentiful with native turkeys and ducks. It is believed that chickens likely originated in Southeast Asia. Its wild progenitor is the red junglefowl, Gallus gallus. Some archaeologists believe that chickens were first introduced to the New World by Polynesians, who reached the Pacific coast of South America a century or so before the voyages of Columbus [source].

    †Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese from Mexico, or Cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack, which originated in the U.S. (Jack) and Europe (Cheddar, mozzarella).





    String Cheese Egg Rolls Recipe For National String Cheese Day

    September 20th is National String Cheese Day. Have some fun with this String Cheese Sushi recipe, an the String Cheese Egg Rolls recipe below.

    Unlike breaded mozzarella or string cheese sticks, in this recipe the melted cheese is surrounded by crunchy egg roll wrappers (plus, they’re baked, not fried).

    Food trivia: Pasta† filata (“pulled curd”) cheeses like mozzarella, provolone, and string cheese are named for the unique process of pulling the curds while they are dipped in hot water. The result is a paste that can be pulled apart in strips.

    Here’s more about the different types of Italian cheeses.
    The history of string cheese is below.

    > Here’s a longer discussion of the predecessors of string cheese.

    > The history of cheese.

    > The different types of cheese: a glossary.

    > 28 more cheese holidays.

    > String cheese sushi recipe.

    Prep time is 10 minutes and cook time is 12 minutes. The number of pieces, 20, is arbitrary: Make as many or few as you need. Just buy an equal number of string cheese sticks and egg roll wrappers.

    If you like things spicy, you can sprinkle the wrappers with cayenne or red chile flakes instead of garlic powder.

    You can also play with adding additional ingredients. We have both wrapped the cheese stick with a slice of prosciutto, and added chopped onions. We really loved the prosciutto, but next time will add a piece of lightly cooked bacon.
    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • Olive oil
  • 20 pieces string cheese
  • 1 pound egg roll wrappers (about 20 wrappers)
  • Water
  • Red chile flakes or other seasoning of choice
  • Marinara or other dipping sauce (see below)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

    2. LAY the egg roll wrappers flat on the counter and lightly brush the entire wrapper with water. Lightly sprinkle the wrappers with garlic powder. Do not over-season.

    3. PLACE each stick of string cheese diagonally across the wrappers. Fold both corners of the wrapper over the cheese. You will have a top “flap” (like an envelope).

    4. FOLD the rest of the wrapper over the cheese stick, tucking in slightly underneath cheese in order to roll firmly.

    5. TIGHTLY ROLL the rest of the wrapper over the cheese stick. If you don’t fold them tightly, the cheese will leak out. You can add a dab of water to the edges to seal the wrapper.

    6. LIGHTLY BRUSH the tops of the egg rolls with olive oil, which will make the egg rolls more crispy.

    7. TRANSFER the egg rolls to the baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes. Check them at 7 minutes for cheese leakage. If some have leaked, remove them from the oven. They will still be delicious, but you don’t want the leaked cheese to come into contact with any of the other pieces.

    8. REMOVE from the oven and let cool until they are comfortable to handle and eat. Serve plain or with your dip of choice.

    TIP: If you want the egg rolls to be as crisp as possible, you can broil them for the last 2 minutes of cooking, monitoring them carefully until they are golden brown, but not overly browned.

    You may enjoy these crunchy sticks with melted cheese as is. Or, you may like a dipping sauce. Here are some options:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Garlic honey sauce (recipe)
  • Gyoza sauce (recipe)
  • Honey mustard sauce
  • Marinara sauce
  • Nước chấm Vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe)
  • Pesto
  • Plum sauce (recipe)
  • Ranch dressing
  • Salsa
  • Spicy ketchup, mayonnaise, or yogurt*
  • Sweet and sour sauce (recipe)
  • Sweet chili sauce

    String Cheese Egg Roll s With Marinara Dipping Sauce
    [1] Fresh from the oven: string cheese egg rolls, served with a side of marinara sauce (photo © Frigo Cheese).

    Package Of Nasoya Egg Roll Wrappers
    [2] Egg roll wrappers (photo © Nasoya).

    Jar Of Chile Flakes
    [3] For spicy egg rolls, add chile flakes. Otherwise, garlic powder or another spice will do (photo © The Spice House).

    Folding Egg Roll Wrappers
    [4] Folding egg rolls (photo © Webstaurant Store).

    Pouring olive oil from the bottle into a ramekin.
    [5] Olive oil is the best cooking oil for this recipe (photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    Bowl Of Marinara Sauce
    [6] Marinara pasta sauce is also a popular dipping sauce (photo © St. Pierre Bakery).


    However, string cheese was actually invented in Wisconsin. It is believed that around 1976, Frank Baker of Baker Cheese (photo #7), a Wisconsin cheese maker, came up with the idea of snack-size pieces of mozzarella.

    Frank was an innovator by nature, says his grandson Brian who now runs the company [source].

    Normally, mozzarella is molded into a shape from a continuous flow of cheese that is shaped into a block. Frank thought to take the continuous flow of mozzarella and chopped them into strips.

    Frank cut off strips, hand-stretched them, rolled them, and cut them into ropes. By soaking them in salt brine, the cheese took on “stringing” characteristics.

    And thus a popular cheese snack was born.
    String Cheese Production Line
    [7] Sticks of string cheese rolling down the production line (photo © USA Today Network).

    *Blend regular ketchup, mayonnaise or yogurt with cayenne, chipotle, or red chili flakes to taste. You can also mince fresh hot chiles.

    †Pasta is the Italian word for paste. As such, it refers to noodles, which are made from a paste of flour and water, and other food products that are made from a paste.





    A Balsamic Negroni Recipe For Negroni Week

    A Negroni Cocktail
    [1] A Negroni (photos #1 and #2 © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    Bartender Pouring A Negroni Cocktail
    [2] Stir it and strain it.

    Bottle of Campari
    [3] A bottle of Campari will keep you in Negronis for some time (photo Wikipedia).


    This is Negroni Week, celebrated worldwide the third full week each September. THE NIBBLE team sat down with a pitcher of classic Negronis and one of the Balsamic Negroni recipe below.

    Negroni Week was established in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and a charitable money-raiser.

    According to a poll of bartenders worldwide to determine the world’s most popular cocktails, Drinks International, founder of the International Spirits Challenge, named the Negroni as #1 among the world’s top 10 cocktails for 2022*.

    The Balsamic Negroni recipe was sent to us by our colleague Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog.

    The classic Negroni is made with Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, and garnished with an orange twist.

    Hannah’s version adds white balsamic vinegar to the mix.

    Hannah notes that a sweet vinegar like white balsamic diffuses some of the bitterness—a bright hit of acidic contrast—that she personally found in the classic Negroni.

    Other vinegars to consider:

  • Champagne vinegar
  • Coconut vinegar
  • Sherry vinegar
    What is Campari? See below.

    > The classic Negroni recipe and the history of the Negroni.

    > Negroni food pairings.

    > The top 12 gin cocktails.

    > The history of cocktails.

    Prep time is 2 minutes.
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce white balsamic vinegar
  • Ice
  • Garnish: orange peel twist

    1. POUR the Campari, gin, vermouth, and balsamic vinegar into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir with a bar spoon for 20-30 seconds, until incorporated.

    2. ADD fresh ice to a rocks glass and strain the cocktail into the glass.

    3. RUB the orange peel along the rim of the glass, squeeze the oils directly into the drink, then add it as a garnish. Serve immediately.


    Campari is an Italian apéritif liqueur, distilled from an infusion of herbs and fruits in alcohol, characterized by its deep red color (photo #3). It is a type of bitters†.

    It was invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari of Novara, Italy. Under the direction of Davide Campari, Gaspare’s son, the company began to export the beverage.

    Today it is distributed in more than 190 countries.

    Before 2006, the deep red color Campari came from a small insect called cochineal, dried and crushed. Since 2006, Campari has opted instead for an artificial dye.

    In addition to the Negroni, Campari is often used in other cocktails:

  • Americano: Campari and sweet vermouth in equal parts topped with sparkling water.
  • Boulevardier: Campari, Bourbon or rye, and sweet vermouth.
  • Garibadi: Campari and orange juice.
  • Spritz: Campari with soda water or Prosecco.

    *The 2022 standings: 1) Negroni, 2) Old Fashioned, 3) Dry Martini, 4) Margarita, 5) Daiquiri, 6) Aperol Spritz, 7) Espresso Martini, 8) Manhattan, 9) Mojito, 10) Whiskey Sour [source].

    †A bitters is an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter for a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Originally they were developed as patent medicines, non-prescription medicinal preparations that claimed to be effective against minor disorders (here’s more about them). Now, they are sold as digestifs and cocktail flavorings.




    Cheeseburger Meatloaf Recipe & History Of The Cheeseburger

    September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day, and October 18th is National Meatloaf Appreciation Day. So how about combining them into a Cheeseburger Meatloaf recipe (photo #1)?

    It’s the creation of Beverly Goldberg, author of The Goldbergs Cookbook (photo #2). Inspiration came when she was contemplating new comfort food recipes.

    “Once I discovered I could combine cheeseburger and lasagna, I started to wonder what other dishes I could mash together in the name of dinner science,” she says.

    One of the results: this delightful Cheeseburger Meatloaf. It’s one of the meaty recipes in the cookbook below.

    For those who might like a Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf, we’ve added a couple of extra steps.

    > 15 yummy cheeseburger recipes

    The history of the cheeseburger is below.

    > The history of hamburgers.

    > The history of cheese.
    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Meatloaf

  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 2½ pounds ground beef
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    To Make It A Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

  • 2 slices thick cut bacon diced for the mixed beef
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon for garnish
    For Finishing

  • 10 slices American cheese
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 5 frozen onion rings, baked

    1. MAKE the meatloaf. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan with oil.

    2. COMBINE in a bowl the beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and optional diced bacon. Press the beef mixture into the loaf pan. Top vertically with the 4 slices of thick cut bacon.

    3. BAKE for 70 to 80 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Don’t overcook; it will dry out the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes; then cut the meatloaf into thirds, lengthwise.

    If using bacon: Bake for 50 to 60 minutes and test for an internal temperature of 165°. If the bacon isn’t crisped on top, turn the oven to broil and carefully broil the bacon until crispy.

    4. FINISH the meatloaf. Using a serving platter, place 5 slices of cheese on top of the bottom layer of meatloaf. Stack the second layer of meat, add 5 more
    slices of cheese, then top with the last layer of meat.

    5. SPREAD the ketchup on top and add the onion rings to serve.

    Adding cheese to hamburgers first became popular in 1920, with several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger.

  • The original. Lionel Sternberger of Pasadena, California is reputed to have created the cheeseburger in 1924. At the tender age of 16, he was working as a fry cook at his father’s sandwich shop, The Rite Spot. On a whim, he “experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.” It delighted customers, and was named “The Aristocratic Burger.” It’s the first recorded instance of a hamburger with cheese served to a customer. While The Rite Spot is long gone, the site is now home to the L.A. Financial Credit Union. On January 5, 2017, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and the Credit Union unveiled a plaque commemorating the invention of the cheeseburger.
  • The chili cheeseburger. A chili cheeseburger is listed on a 1928 menu for O’Dell’s restaurant in Los Angeles.
  • A pretender. Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, established in 1934 (and still operating), claims to have invented the cheeseburger, calling itself the “birthplace of the cheeseburger.” While that’s not likely, it does have some authenticated culinary fame: A cook named Harland Sanders made what would become his famous chicken at Kaelin’s. What became KFC was first served at Kaelin’s [source].
  • Trademark. In 1935, a trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was granted to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive-In in Denver, Colorado, who claimed to have invented it. The restaurant is long gone, but there’s a granite marker where it once stood. He never enforced the trademark, allowing “cheeseburger” to become a generic term. But, he did hang a sign on the restaurant reading “Home Of The Original Cheeseburger” [source]. The trademark has since expired.
  • Bacon cheeseburger. An A&W Restaurants franchise in Lansing, Michigan, is credited with inventing the bacon cheeseburger in 1963, putting it on the menu after repeated requests from customers [source].
    According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans consume an average of 2.4 burgers per day, which is about 50 billion burgers per year [source]. That number includes cheeseburgers, but it isn’t broken out.

    According to GrubHub, the most eaten and most popular burger in the world by far is the cheeseburger [source].

    According a survey by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the cheeseburger is indeed the winner, with regular and large sizes and the bacon cheeseburger totaling 72% of burgers consumed. The percentages are:

  • Regular Burger: 13%
  • Regular Cheeseburger: 20%
  • Large Cheeseburger: 39%
  • Large Burger: 15%
  • Bacon Cheeseburger: 13%
    Who eats the most burgers? Oregon tops the list, followed by Arizona and Utah a close second and third, and Utah, New Mexico, and Michigan rounded out the top five.

    The top three states at the bottom, starting with the lowest, are D.C., New York, and Massachusetts [source].


    [1] The Cheeseburger Meatloaf (photos #1 and #2 © Universe Publishing).

    [2] Get the book.

    Bacon Cheeseburger With Pickled Jalapenos
    [3] More cheeseburger creativity: two types of cheese, bacon, bacon jam, and a large jalapeño garnish (photo © Dave Spataro | Aussie Grill).

    Ham & Egg Cheeseburger With A Fried Egg
    [4] Combine breakfast and lunch with this ham-and-egg cheeseburger (photo © Chad Montano | Unsplash).

    A Mushroom Cheeseburger With Fries
    [5] A cheeseburger topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions (photo © Good Eggs).

    Cheeseburger With 2 Cheeses
    [6] A cheeseburger with Swiss cheese, sliced onions, and pickles (photo © Truffle Melbourne | Facebook).

    Cheeseburger With Onion Rings & Sliced Jalapenos
    [7] Another yummy option: a cheeseburger with Jarlsberg cheese, Cheddar, jalapeño slices, and onion rings (photo © Jarlsberg USA | Facebook).

    The Goldbergs Cookbook is the official cookbook to features the “totally eighties” dishes from the hit TV series.

    Fans have been clamoring for the recipes created by the series’ mother, Beverly Goldberg. Thus, The Goldbergs Cookbook was born.

    The seventy recipes, most taken from the same recipe box prominently featured in the show’s sixth season, give hungry fans their best chance to cook like Beverly—who uses outlandish quantities of cheeses and meats (with veggies few and far between), and who doles out unwanted help and snuggies (wedgies) to her ungrateful kids as she goes.

    When you get to the book’s page on Amazon, scroll all the way down the page for some of the book’s recipes.




    Easy Masala Fried Rice Recipe For National Rice Month

    A Plate Of Masala Fried Rice
    [1] Masala fried rice. The recipe is below (photo © Abrams Books).

    The Chutney Life Book Cover - Indian Cookbook
    [2] Indian recipes for the home cook. Get your copy (photo © Abrams Books).

    Bowl Of Rice
    [3] Start with a bowl of leftover rice (photo © Robert Moutongoh | Pexels).

    Pav Bhaji Masala Indian Spice Blend
    [4] There are different types of masala spice blend. Pav bhaji masala is used in this recipe Here’s a recipe to make it from scratch (photo © Indian Healthy Recipes).

    Garam Masala Powder
    [5] You can substitute garam masala (photo © Aromatiques Tropicales).

    Whole Cumin Seeds
    [6] The recipe uses whole cumin seeds (photo © Planet Spices).

    Sliced Jalapeno Chile Peppers
    [7] Use jalapeños or other green chiles (photo © Good Eggs).

    Red & Green Bell Peppers
    [8] Use both red and green bell peppers (photo © Burpee).

    Raw Green Beans On A Cutting Board
    [9] Add some green beans (photo © Neha Deshmukh } Wesual | Unsplash).

    A Tube Of Tomato Paste
    [10] A bit of tomato paste (photo © Good Eggs).

    Whole & Halved Red Onions
    [11] Red onions (photo © Umami Info).

    Garlic Bulbs & Cloves
    [12] A bit of garlic improves many recipes (photo Wesual Click | Public Domain).


    September is National Rice Month. How about a spin on the conventional fried rice recipe, which you can make with leftover rice?

    It can be a quick weeknight meal or a way to use up leftovers crowding your fridge.

    Fried rice is popular in East Asian, Southeast Asian and certain South Asian cuisines, as well as a staple national dish of Indonesia.

    Homemade fried rice is typically made with ingredients left over from other dishes, as is the recipe below. The leftovers lead to countless variations.

    The recipe below, Masala Fried Rice, adds a fusion food, Indian spin, courtesy of Palak Patel.

    Ms. Patel is author of The Chutney Life blog and a new cookbook, The Chutney Life: 100 Easy-To-Make Indian-Inspired Recipes.

    There’s more about Ms. Patel below.

    Masala means both “spice” and a blend of spices.

    As with all spice blends, the exact spices and proportions vary from region to region and from cook to cook.

    Pav bhaji masala, which is used in the recipe below, is a spice powder ground from whole spices such as black cardamom, black peppercorn, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seed, cumin seed, dried ginger, dried mango powder (amchur), fennel seed, green cardamom, red chile, and star anise.

    In addition to pav bhaji masala, there are numerous other masala blends, that used for different recipes (biryani, chaat, chana masala, masala tea, and tandoori, e.g.

    Here are recipes for eight of these.

    Perhaps the most familiar to Americans is the broader-use garam masala (phoro #5).

    > The different types of rice: a glossary.

    > The history of rice.

    > The history of fried rice is below.
    > 40+ more rice recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
    The recipe follows, but first:

    While most Americans are familiar with fried rice, here are some particulars.

    Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice that has been stir-fried in a wok or a frying pan. It is usually mixed with other ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Aromatics (garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, shallots)
  • Meat (chicken, beef, pork, lamb, mutton)
  • Preserved meat (bacon, ham, sausage)
  • Seafood (fish, shrimp, crab)
  • Vegetables (carrot, mushroom, peas)

  • Fats to prevent sticking and for flavor (vegetable oil, sesame oil, clarified butter, lard)
  • Seasonings (salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce, other sauces and spices)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped scallions, coriander or parsley sprigs, diced tomato, fried shallots, pickled vegetables, seaweed flakes, sliced chile, sliced cucumber, toasted sesame seeds)
    Recipes vary from place to place and from cook to cook. In different countries, for example:

  • Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean nasi goreng and Thai khao phat are similar constructs.
  • Latin American variations include Ecuadorian chaulafan, Peruvian arroz chaufa, Cuban arroz frito, and Puerto Rican arroz mamposteao.

    While this recipe is a way to use up leftover white rice, you can make fresh rice if you have none left over.

    You can also take the opportunity to use up leftover proteins: beef, chicken, pork, seafood, etc.

    In addition to the ingredients below, you can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge or freezer. There is no right or wrong.

  • 2 cups leftover rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green chiles, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces (we used leftover peas instead)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced into small strips or a small dice
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into small strips or a small dice
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into small strips or a small dice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons Badshah Pav Bhaji Masala (substitute garam masala and a bit of lemon juice)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust as needed if your leftover rice was also salted)
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro (substitute scallion tops)
  • Optional inclusions: diced chicken, shrimp, or other protein

    1. HEAT a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and diced chiles.

    2. ADD the green beans and let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sliced bell peppers and onions and cook until halfway through, about 4-6 minutes.

    3. ADD the tomato paste, minced garlic, and pav bhaji masala and stir to combine well. Cook for an additional 2-4 minutes.

    4. ADD the rice and salt and mix well until everything is combined. If using diced proteins, warm them briefly in the microwave and stir them into the rice.

    5. SERVE hot with a garnish of chopped cilantro.

    The earliest record of fried rice appears during China’s Sui dynasty (589–618 C.E.), in Yangzhou in the eastern Jiangsu province of China. The dish was a favorite of Emperor Yang Guang of Sui [source].

    During this period, peasants learned of the dish, and adopted it as a way to use their leftovers in an especially tasty way.

    That sixth-century recipe, incorporating day-old rice, eggs, and vegetables on hand, is not different from today’s fried rice.

    Though the stir-frying technique used for fried rice was recorded in a much earlier period, it was only in the late Ming dynasty (1368–1644 C.E.) that the technique became widely popular [source].

    Fried Rice Comes To The U.S.

    Chinese restaurants in the United States first appeared during the California Gold Rush (1848–1855).

    The Gold Rush and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1869) brought some 20,000–30,000 immigrants to the West Coast, mostly from the Canton (Guangdong) region of China.

    In addition to opportunities offered by the Gold Rush, they were also fleeing economic problems and famine in China.

    Although some immigrants headed to the gold fields, most stayed in the San Francisco Bay area, serving as grocers, merchants, restaurateurs, and traders for the miners [source].

    The first Chinese restaurants* were founded in 1849 in San Francisco. By 1850, there were five Chinese restaurants in the city. [source].

    No menus remain to indicate when fried rice appeared, but we can deduce that the restaurants’ leftover rice was repurposed into other dishes.

    After the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, Chinese laborers fanned out across the U.S. to work on at least 71 other rail lines.

    Unfortunately, with this came anti-Chinese discrimination, hostility and violence. Whites blamed the Chinese for taking their jobs by accepting work at lower wages.

    Tens of thousands of Chinese were forced to leave the U.S. by 1882 [source].

    However, thousands more stayed, and restaurants popped up to service the Chinese communities and subsequently, their white neighbors.

    It must be noticed that in a period of the violence and exclusion suffered by Chinese immigrants, white Americans still liked their food [source].

    Today, there are more than 45,000 Chinese restaurants across the U.S.—more than the combined number of McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Wendy’s outlets [source].

    Palak Patel is a home chef and mom of two who cooks for her family five nights and week, no matter how chaotic the schedule may be.

    On her blog, The Chutney Life, Palak breaks down the intricacies of Indian cooking into accessible recipes for all home cooks.

    From the importance of a good tadka—a means through which whole spices are tempered in oil to increase their flavor profile—to countless easy hacks such as upgrading a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup with a little ginger, garlic, and coriander, her recipes are fresh, inventive, and delicious.

    Palak’s signature snacks—spreading lasan ni chutney (a spicy spread made by pounding together fresh garlic cloves and chili powder in a mortar and pestle) inside of a quesadilla or adding just a touch of cumin and coriander powder to cream of cauliflower soup—mean that you’ll never get bored or see the same old stuff.

    The Masala Fried Rice recipe above is a prime example of the flavor-packed recipes, tips, tricks and hacks that make up her debut cookbook: The Chutney Life: 100 Easy-To-Make Indian-Inspired Recipes.

    The cookbook celebrates the Indian food Palak grew up eating. Filled with anecdotes, love notes to her favorite kitchen tools, and many time-saving tips, Palak’s recipes find inspiration in resourcefulness.

    Busy moms and curious cooks alike will find new, exciting flavors here, inspired by souvenirs of Patel’s travels, makeovers of classics, and Indian remakes of favorites, including:

  • Coconut Shrimp Po’ Boys with Panang Curry Remoulade
  • Crispy Barbecue Chicken Keema Tacos
  • Masala Pot Pies In Golden Puff Pastry
  • Unbeatable Chutneys
    By embracing the magic that happens when flavors transcend continents and cultures, The Chutney Life finds the perfect balance in Indian-American cooking.

    Here’s a recipe to make your own from scratch. A quickie substitute: Blend 1 to 2 teaspoons of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander, 1 tablespoon red chili powder, and 1 to 2 teaspoons dry mango powder (amchur) or lemon or lime juice. Sumac is also a substitute for mango powder. Here are more substitutes.

    †The oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant in the U.S. is the Pekin Noodle Parlor, established in 1909 in Butte, Montana.





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