Sweet and Spicy Chicken with Fried Rice

I LOVE making "fried" rice with veggies.  It's seriously one of my favorite meals.  My best friend Bibi made it for us once with crispy fried tofu and it was all over after that.  I've made it many times with her crispy fried tofu, and lots of times with just the rice and veggies and no protein, and sometimes I like to make it with crispy fried chicken instead.

This time, I decided to use one of my jars of Hot Pepper Jelly as the base of the sauce.  So, so yummy.  I'll share my process below in case you want to try it out!  (btw...I'm not sure I know the 'proper' preparation of actual fried rice.  This is how I like to eat it, but by all means, make the real stuff if you know how)

I start by boiling the water for the rice.  Twice as much water as rice, so I usually boil 3 cups of water and add some chicken bouillon for flavor and a pat of butter.  Once it's boiling I add the white rice, cover, and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

Then I start on the veggies.  I dice up an onion and a few cloves of garlic and start that sauteing in a deep pot with some olive oil.  I add diced carrots, chopped green and red bell pepper and fresh broccoli florets.  I try not to chop anything too finely, as it starts to disintegrate as it cooks and I like recognizable pieces.  After the ingredients have been added, I put the lid on for a while to help everything soften up.

The trick to the crispy fried chicken (or tofu) is cornstarch.  We season up a big plate of cornstarch with salt and spices, dredge the pieces in it and fry til crispy (this is not a particularly healthy meal ;)

I usually leave that part to Michael.  Meanwhile, I warmed up the sauce--one 1/2 pint jar of Hot Pepper Jelly, 1/2 c of Apricot Jam and some soy sauce.  Once the chicken was cooked, I put the pieces in a bowl and poured the sauce over.

The last step is to add frozen peas directly into the rice pot just before serving, along with a scrambled egg or two and some soy sauce.  This is my favorite part!

We like to layer everything in a bowl with an extra drizzle of soy sauce and voila!  Super yummy dinner!  This isn't a particularly precise recipe (obviously)--but it's a jumping off point to make your own version just how you like it.  Enjoy!

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