Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Purple fried rice

For some time now, I have been admiring purple carrots on other people's blogs. Johanna almost has a purple carrot recipe collection happening over at Green Gourmet Giraffe, and then there is Brydie's purple carrot bread, not to mention recipes like purple carrot cake trifle. I tell you, purple is the new black!

I had resigned myself to purple carrots not being available near me, and thought that they may be a cold weather vegetable not grown in Western Australia. When I saw a punnet of multi-coloured heirloom carrots in January, I even bought some in the hope of growing my own. Of course, this wasn't entirely logical given my thoughts about the carrots potentially needing cold weather. They haven't done very well, something that could be related to my planting them in the middle of Perth's hottest summer ever!


Given all of the above, I was thrilled when I found that purple carrots had arrived at my local Coles supermarket. The fact that they were flown over from Tasmania (for non-Australians, the other side of Australia to where I am...) may explain why I don't see them at the fruit and vegetable markets where I usually buy fresh produce. I swallowed my guilt over buying non-local carrots, packaged in plastic wrap no less, and took them home with a certain amount of glee.




Initially, I just wanted to try the carrots raw. Would they taste different? Would they smell different? The answer, to my surprise, was both yes and no. They seemed a little earthier, a little mustier, than the orange carrots I know so well, but they were still definitely carrot-like.

This, I am a little embarrassed to confess, is dinner when I'm tired and don't get to starting it until 7pm: steamed vegetables, baked potato, and a vegetable burger

With the initial tasting out the way, I wanted to try purple carrots in a proper dish. In the end, I made variation of a dish I make regularly, which in our house tends to be referred to as 'mixed up rice dish'. A combination of some variety of rice, some mix of vegetables, and some protein - often tofu.

For this dish, I used 'Mathew's Delicious Tofu', as previously mentioned in this post and featured on Veganise This and In the Mood for Noodles. I made smaller pieces than the first time I made it, and they worked well mixed through the rice.


This is similar to rice dishes I have made previously, so I expected it to taste similar too. However, it didn't! It tasted quite considerably better - like the fried rice of my childhood Chinese take-away memories, but fresher and with more distinct flavours. 

I wasn't expecting that and am still unsure if the purple carrots were responsible or if it was just the particular combination of ingredients I used. Irrespective, it was quite ridiculously good. We both agreed that it tasted better than the usual, orange carrot version - so much so that I think it may be worth the ongoing, occasional purchase of purple carrots!

Purple fried rice

Serves 2 - 3

Ingredients
2/3 cup white or brown rice, uncooked
~175g (I used half of a 350g packet) firm tofu, pressed and cut into pieces
~1 - 2 tsp oil
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chilli sauce
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 onion, diced
3 purple carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 capsicum, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced



Method

Cook the rice according to packet instructions, until just cooked (I used white rice and cooked it on the stove top using the absorption method).

Meanwhile, stir fry the tofu until golden brown on both sides (use oil to taste; I used a drizzle). Combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon juice, chilli sauce and ginger and whisk together. Pour over the tofu and cook until the sauce is nearly evaporated. Set aside.

In a large non-stick pan, stir fry the onion (again, use oil to taste) until lightly browned. Add the carrot, capsicum and celery and stir fry for a further 2 - 3 minutes. Add the tofu and remaining sauce and mix through. Keep over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked and can be added.

Add the rice to the vegetable and tofu mix and stir over low to medium heat for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow the dish to stand for 10 - 20 minutes. Reheat in the pan before serving.





Have you used purple carrots? Do you find them to taste any different to the orange variety?!

Update 11th June 2012: Version two of this dish (with tofu bacon) can be found here.

30 comments:

  1. i must go in search of purple carrots! how awesome!

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  2. cool purple rice! I like to believe that different coloured veg have distinctive tastes of sorts but in my heart of hearts I am not so sure - and yet when I used purple carrots instead of beetroots recently I could swear they added some of the beetroot colour - because of the different antioxidants or something - I have bought the colour me vegan cookbook so I should read more about what the author writes about tastes of colours!

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    1. That would be a wonderful cookbook - I haven't seen it but imagine it would be very appealing. It is hard to disentangle the visual effects of the colour on any actual taste differences...it doesn't seem logical that the taste should change, but perhaps it doesn't matter so long as the experience is enjoyable!

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  3. I have never seen nor heard of purple carrots. Looks interesting!

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    Replies
    1. They are hard to find I think...but worth it if you do see any :)

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  4. This looks delicious! Love that color!
    I have never tried purple carrots but I definitely need to try. :)

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    Replies
    1. The purple just adds a certain something!

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  5. That is so freaking cool!!!!!!! Purple carrots look awesome!

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    Replies
    1. They really are! It makes cooking with them incredibly fun.

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  6. I adore the colours in your purple fried rice - they are magnificent! Purple carrots aren't usually in supermarkets here either - you normally have to scour farmer's markets for them.

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    1. It's interesting, the way orange has completely taken over...I suppose over time it's just become normal and purple is now a novelty but harder to source. All the more fun when they are available though :)

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  7. I've never seen these before -so fun!

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  8. Woah! Purple fried rice!? Is it bad that I didn't even know purple carrots existed? Well carrots just got A LOT prettier!!

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    1. I only discovered them quite recently too, so I wouldn't worry :) Definitely prettier!

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  9. confession, i didn't even kno there were purple carrots!! i'm a dork, but now i have to seek these babies out! :) fried rice shares a little special spot in my heart cuz my dad used to cook it for us lots growing up and i loved it. i'll have to try it purple-fried sometime. :) i have seen purple rice too, but i think they call it black rice, it's be funny to use that rice with the purple carrots too. :)

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    Replies
    1. Black-purple rice would be doubley purple I guess! It really is a fun twist on rice dishes :)

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  10. Haven't used them yet, but they are on my list :)

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    1. I'll look forward to hearing how you use them, if you post about it! It's funny how such a simple vegetable can become such a notable thing.

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  11. I'm OBSESSED with purple carrots. Looks amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jamie - I see some obsession of my own starting up :P

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  12. I saw some in coles the other day but they looked very - well "supermarket fresh" if you know what I mean. I'm intrigued by how much they dyed the rice! Must give them a go if I can find some that actually look worth eating.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean :P I really wish I could find them somewhere other than Coles! Mine were ok though, once I got over the packaging and cost. I hope you find some decent ones worth trying out.

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  13. Oh how pretty! I've seen them in coles for the last few weeks, but haven't made the plunge. I think they might be a home-alone treat, because I would love to eat such a pretty rice dish!

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    1. Yes, Mr Bite liked them but I'm not sure he shared my level of excitement! They would be a lovely home-alone meal base.

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  14. I have never used purple carrots! Never even knew they existed! I only recently knew that potatoes could be purple. :) Great recipes Kari!

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  15. What a snazzy purple dish! I like purple carrots and they're fairly easy to find here and I love fried rice.

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