I have my first week at my new job under my belt. I’ve been working very late hours and sometimes through lunch to really knock my first assignment out of the park. But the lunches at my desk and working until 7 leaves me famished and exhausted by the end of the day.

I don’t anticipate that I’ll be working these hours always. Last night a colleague let me in on a secret: everyone is staying so late so they can get a voucher for the company to pay for a cab home for them. The first time I left at 7 I felt guilty for sneaking out early, while other people were dutifully typing away, but not anymore.

Fried rice also happens to be one of my very favorite dishes to order at Chinese restaurants. “Dan chao fan,” or egg fried rice, has been a staple in my diet since I moved out here. But I have to be honest – ordering it at local restaurants tends to produce a pretty greasy dish which leaves my stomach feeling a little unsettled later.

Lucky for me, fried rice is a quick and easy meal to throw together after a long day at work. I originally saw a version of this at Smitten Kitchen, which brought homemade fried rice back up on the radar. And in an effort to eat more sustainably, I’ve been trying to cut down on the meat in our diets, so this makes a very flavorful vegetarian dish on a busy week night. Though Walker did say he wouldn’t mind some beef stirred in too.

Ginger Fried Rice
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s version of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recipe

Serves 4

1/2 cup sunflower seed oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
1 cup carrot, finely diced
4 cups day-old cooked rice – we cut out another step and pick up two boxes of rice from the Chinese restaurant downstairs
2 eggs, plus 1 egg for every serving of rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil (for some heat but the same awesome flavor, use hot sesame oil)
4 teaspoons soy sauce

1. In a large wok, heat 1/4 cup sunflower seed oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly. Don’t let them get too dark, or what would have been a very pleasant taste will become too bitter to eat.

2. Leaving the remaining oil in the wok, reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Add in carrots and continue cooking until the carrots are slightly soft but still have a little crunch. Season lightly with salt.

3. Raise heat to medium and add rice. Toss the rice with the vegetables quickly, and push it to the outsides of the wok, making a nest. Crack two eggs into the bottom of the nest, directly onto the metal, and working quickly, mix the yolks into the whites, stirring continuously. When almost cooked through, fold into the rice, and let the rice heat all the way through. Drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.

4. In a skillet, fry eggs in a little oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny. (I dont like sunny side up, so I cook them over easy. Your call, based on how you like your eggs.)

5. Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.