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Often times, the meals that I make in a time crunch end up being amazing. I’m talking 30 minutes until I need to leave for work kind of time crunch. It’s not very often that I am able to cook lunch for myself in advance, but on the days that I have to think quick, beautiful recipes like this Arroz Chaufa inspired dish come to be.
Arroz Chaufa is a popular Peruvian dish that is heavily inspired by Chinese culture. This fried rice dish is typically made with a mixture of delicious seasonings like soy sauce, sesame oil, onions, and garlic, and often cooked with eggs and a type of meat. For this version, I draw from the same flavor combos, adding spinach and sweet potato in place of the eggs and meat. The flavor combination of both the spinach and sweet potato somehow create a very similar flavor profile of the traditional dish, which was very surprising to me!
For this version of the dish, I used leftover white rice that I cooked in a rice cooker the night before. Of course, fresh rice would be ideal but for the purposes of staying true to this quick meal, I will leave that element in the recipe. I encourage those trying this recipe to experiment with different veggies like red pepper, mushrooms, or whatever you have in your fridge that could use some purpose.
- 2 cups of leftover white rice
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
- 1 cup of fresh spinach
- ¼ cup of diced red onions
- ¼ cup of thinly sliced scallions
- 1 tablespoon of my Vegan Puerto Rican Sofrito (recipe on my page)
Note: My sofrito recipe can take a while to make. You can substitute the sofrito by adding one green and red bell pepper and 3-4 cloves of garlic in its place.
First, prep your veggies! Julienne the sweet potato, dice up the red onion, and thinly slice the scallions.
Heat up two medium skillets on a medium-low flame with enough olive oil to lightly cover the pan (I’d say roughly 2 tablespoons) Once heated, add sofrito to one skillet and cook until it for 3 minutes or until it turns light green. For the other skillet, add your sweet potatoes and cook until they are nice and crisp, like french fries!
While the sweet potatoes are cooking in one skillet, you will work on the fried rice in the other. Once the sofrito is ready, add the red onions and scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or until the mix becomes soft. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Cook until the spinach is slightly wilted.
Once the spinach is ready, add the rice to the skillet and mix until the rice is evenly distributed throughout the pan (my leftover rice was a little clumpy, so it took a minute or so to break it up!). Add a dash or roughly half of a teaspoon of the sesame oil and mix. Using a very small amount will go a long way! Next, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and mix. You’ll want to let this cook for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
As pictured, I packed the rice and sweet potato fries in a mason jar with a little ketchup on top. I only took a small amount with me, but I honestly could have eaten the whole batch! The taste instantly brought me back to the comfort of eating Arroz Chaufa. This recipe is easy and quick to make for a last minute lunch or a quick no-hassle dinner.