Vegetable fried rice is a classic lunch side dish in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is made with parboiled rice or any long grain rice that won’t lose its shape or become mushy when mixed with vegetables and sauces.
I’ve made this recipe countless times with red jasmine rice and it is definitely a delicious favorite in my home. I hope you enjoy it too.
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What is in this Trini fried rice recipe
For this recipe, you will need:
- rice (like parboiled, long grain basmati, brown, or red jasmine rice)
- bell peppers
- chadon beni (culantro)
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- peanut oil
- vegetable oil
- purple onion
- bodi (long beans)
- string beans
- green peas
- corn kernels
You will want to use a long grain rice that will not lose its shape or become mushy in this dish. From my experience, I recommend using parboiled, brown, red, wild, and basmati rice for this recipe. I do not recommend white jasmine, sushi and sticky rice.
Here’s a look at the red jasmine rice I’ll be using (find it on Amazon here).
Please use the above ingredients as only a suggestion. Experiment and have fun with the recipe; make it your own; and use up those leftover veggies in your fridge.
How to make this veggie fried rice
To make Trini vegetable fried rice, boil the rice until it is al dente (slightly chewy), sauté the vegetables, then mix the strained rice together with the vegetables and all the flavorings, toasted cashews, sauces, salt and pepper. It is a simple recipe to make.
Here are more details.
Prep the vegetables
Step 1: For this recipe, wash, peel/scrape, and dice the onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot. Wash and remove the seeds from the bell peppers before dicing. Do the same for pimento pepper, if you are using it. I used bodi (long beans) here as well, so I washed them, removed the ends and broke them into small one to two inch pieces. I also used chadon beni, chives, cilantro and thyme from my garden. Be sure to wash and finely chop them. That’s pretty much it for prep.
Pro tip: To speed up the vegetable prep, you can use a mini chopper or food processor. Add the peeled onions, scraped carrots and bell peppers with seeds removed and pulse a couple times until they become small, chunky pieces.
Another option is to prep the vegetables the day before, so making the rice is quick and easy.
Boil the rice
Red jasmine rice is my favorite type of rice to use for this recipe. It is a little chewy but holds its shape really well when mixed with the vegetables. Also, according to healthline.com, red rice is higher in fiber, protein and antioxidants when compared to white rice.
Oh and, due to the color, you won’t need to add soy sauce or browning for “color”.
Step 2: Wash the rice and add to a pot of boiling water on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and leave uncovered to boil for 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 3: The rice should be cooked all the way through before removing from the heat and straining. Leave the rice to cool completely.
Sauté the veggies
Step 4: Place a large pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and allow to heat up.
Step 5: Toss in the diced onions and cook until translucent (2 minutes or so). Add the diced pimento pepper (or any type of fresh pepper) and cook for a minute. Mix in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
Step 6: Next, throw in the diced carrots, chopped bodi and one teaspoon of salt. Stir and allow to cook for three minutes before adding the bell peppers. Also, add in the chopped chadon beni, chives, cilantro and thyme.
After a couple minutes, when the carrots and bodi have softened, it is time for the rice.
Sometimes, I add cashews to the veggies. I usually spread them out on a small tray and pop them in the toaster for about five minutes or so. Then, I add them to the softened carrots and bodi before mixing in the rice.
Mix in the rice
Step 7: It is best to use cooled rice for fried rice. Hot rice – especially hot white rice – will become overly mushy so the cooler the better. Since the vegetables are cooked at this point and the red rice I am using here has cooled sufficiently, it is time to combine the two.
Step 8: Mix in the sesame oil, peanut oil, salt, and pepper. I don’t always add browning or soy sauce, but feel free to add a few dashes in here.
Taste test and adjust the salt and pepper levels. Serve hot with your favorite sides for a tasty Trini lunch.
Pro tip: If you are using white rice to make this recipe, consider boiling the rice the day before. Leave it to cool before refrigerating. The next day, the cold, “stale” rice isn’t as moist and will not become mushy when making this recipe.
Can you batch make this recipe
This recipe makes about 8 portions. Usually, I make it as part of my Trini Sunday lunch and enjoy leftovers on Monday and Tuesday. I also freeze some for later on in the week. The rice often defrosts quickly and after two minutes in the microwave it will become piping hot and ready to enjoy.
So, feel free to scale up the recipe for get togethers or to freeze for those lazy or pot tun down days.
Calories in this Trini fried rice
According to the Recipe Nutrition Calculator from verywellfit.com, this recipe provides a total of 2,400 calories; and, for an estimated 8 servings, each fried rice serving gives 300 calories.
Vegetarian fried rice recipe
Trini vegetable fried rice
- 2 cups red jasmine rice (or use parboiled, long grain basmati, brown rice)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (grated)
- 2 inch ginger (grated)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- 1 large bell pepper (diced)
- 1 pimento pepper (chopped)
- 1/2 cup cashews (toasted)
- 1/2 cup chives (chopped)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1/4 cup chadon beni (culantro) (chopped)
- 1 tsp fine thyme
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce (increase for darker color)
- 2 tsp salt (plus to taste)
- pepper to taste
- Place a large pot on medium heat.
- Add water to the pot until it is 3/4 filled.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Wash red jasmine rice. Drain and wash again a few more times.
- Add to the pot of boiling water.
- Mix in 1 tsp of salt.
- Leave uncovered to boil. Add more water if necessary during boiling.
- Boil until the rice is cooked all the way through (20 – 30 minutes).
- Strain and set aside to cool.
- Wash, peel and dice onions. Wash, peel and grate ginger. Wash, scrape and dice carrots.
- Wash and remove seeds from bell peppers and pimento pepper. Dice.
- Wash the bodi. Cut the ends off and break into 1-inch pieces.
- Wash and finely chop chadon beni, chives, cilantro and thyme.
- Place a large pot on medium heat.
- Add 2 tbsps of oil.
- Toss in the onions. Cook until translucent (2 minutes).
- Mix in the pimento peppers. Cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the carrots, bodi and 1 tsp of salt. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add bell peppers, chadon beni, chives, cilantro and thyme.
- Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Toast the cashews in the toaster oven for 5 minutes then mix with the vegetables.
- Mix in the rice, sesame oil, peanut oil and soy sauce.
- Taste test and adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.