Got leftover rice? Love “stir fries”? The quotations are there because I, like many others, forgo the wok and use a flaming hot skillet to make my quick stir fries and have had great results in doing so. Making a successful stir fry comes down to timing. The main “cookin” is done before the heat is even applied to the pan. Having everything prepped up and ready to go makes everything run smoother when your ingredients are lined up (like lil’ soldiers) in the order that they go into the sizzlin’ hot pan).
I’ve made quite the memorable meal with leftover rice. Making a breakfast scramble using hot bacon fat as my fry oil of choice or sesame oil to do an Asian rice dish or plain ol’ olive oil even. The possibilities are endless.
Most recipes call for a medium grain rice when making a stir fry but I’ve had great success with white rice. My favorite go to rice at the moment is Jasmine rice. It has a lovely fragrant smell (almost like popcorn popping) when it’s cooking and is very versatile in most recipes.
I find that using leftover rice does the best for frying because the grain has been allowed to dry out a bit and doesn’t absorb the hot oil as much as using fresh rice. I’ve also found that the rice tends to be less sticky due to the decreased moisture content.
With this recipe I used 2 1/2 cups of cooked cold Jasmine rice. Before frying, use your fingers to gently break up any clumps that may have formed in the rice.
Cajun Seasoning Mix is typically paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and a mix of dried of herbs such as oregano and thyme, as well as salt and pepper. When I make my own I usually leave out the salt and pepper so that I can add more heat (if needed) to a dish without adding more salt. But that’s really up to you- the cook! For this recipe I used a store bought brand which had the salt included in the mix. To control the salt content I didn’t add anymore salt until the rice was cooked and mixed with the vegetables. Then I tasted it and adjusted the seasoning as needed. Just remember, you can always add seasoning, but you can’t take it away!
Let’s get started!
Cajun Stir Fry
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. bell peppers, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small sweet onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 1/2 cups to 3 cups leftover cooked Jasmine rice
4 to 5 ounces Smoked Sausage, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
8 ounces shrimp, cleaned
8 ounces sirloin steak
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning Mix, of your choice, divided
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil, about 3-4 Tablespoons
Butter, about 2 Tablespoons
I use two pans for this recipe. One pan is a stainless steel pan I use for searing and sauteing. The other is a 9 inch nonstick. I sear the steak first and let it rest and then turn the heat down a notch, add some whole butter, and then sear the shrimp.
In the metal pan turn heat to medium high heat. Once hot, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil followed by 1 tablespoon butter. Season steak on both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Sear steak on each side until cooked to your liking. I like mine medium rare so for a smaller 1/2″ thick sirloin I cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove steak from pan and turn down heat to moderate heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and cook shrimp for about 3 minutes total. In the video below you can see I’ve cooked them lightly on both sides and then flipped them on their belly to finish them off for about 30 seconds before removing to a plate.
In the nonstick pan add about 1/2 Tablespoon of oil with your smoked sausage. I used a blend of chicken, pork and beef sausage for this recipe but if you’re using all pork you can skip the extra oil because of the high fat content in the sausage. Cook sausage on medium heat until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and add onions and peppers. Cook for about a minute before adding in 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Continuing to stir, cook for 2 minutes and add in garlic and continue cooking (and stirring) until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Remove vegetables to plate. Add one tablespoon oil to pan and add in remaining 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Stir seasoning in pan for about 30 seconds just to toast it a bit and now add your rice. Cook rice and coat in oil and seasoning until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cooked vegetables.
Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt or more spices. Plate up Cajun rice. Thinly slice your rested steak and place on top of rice along with cooked shrimp.
What does your family do with leftover rice? Do you have any tried and true recipe favorites that you love making with leftover rice, or leftovers in general? Leave me a comment below!:)