by Kenneth Ramos
Photography by Kenny Ramos
For many BU students, there comes a time when meals stop coming from West, Warren or Bay State. Maybe you switch to an apartment style residence or completely take the leap and go off campus. Either way, the luxuries of the dining hall are in your past. Don’t fret, cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating or a series of dull gross dishes where you can’t make it past the second bite.
It may seem far-fetched, but it’s possible to make quick wholesome meals with minimal skill and prep involved. With some patience and practice, you’ll eventually build up a few recipes to stay full for all three meals of the day.
A bonus: the items listed below were purchased on a student’s budget (none of that bourgeois Whole Foods nonsense), and these ingredients can be found at any supermarket.
We can agree that hibachi is amazing, but we can’t always go out to Osaka or other hibachi destinations. On the bright side, it is possible to make that delicious fried rice in your favorite sweatpants.
Here’s a recipe to make Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Fried Rice for one. If you want to make this for a group of friends, just adjust the ingredients accordingly.
½ cup diced carrots, green beans, corn, peas and lima beans
½ cup cut broccoli
¼ cup diced onions
½ cup cooked white rice
3 cut raw chicken breast tenders
3 ½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
salt and black pepper
As a tip for every meal, prepping the ingredients beforehand expedites the process. Also, another shortcut is buying the bags of frozen vegetables, which are already cut and diced. Either the night before, or the morning of, take a moment to cut up the chicken and onions then season them with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Wrap it, and let it marinate in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Also, it can’t hurt to steam the rice and frozen vegetables beforehand and store them too.
If you do this, the actual cook time of the fried rice should take about 10 minutes. It may feel strange to prep meals this early in advance, but when you’re trying to sneak a meal in between classes and schoolwork it’s definitely essential.
Now for the fun part—the actual cooking.
This meal only requires one medium or large sized saucepan (excluding steaming the vegetables and rice). First, lightly coat the pan in the coconut oil and heat it up. Depending on the size of the pan, use medium or high heat. Remember the raw chicken and onions marinating in salt, pepper and cayenne? Now is the time to grab that.
Cook the chicken and onions. Hear the sizzle in the pan, but make sure you cook the chicken all the way through (white center). After that, lower the heat, throw in the rice and vegetables and vigorously mix everything together. Mix for two to three minutes. It’s important to make sure everything is evenly distributed otherwise the texture and taste will be off.
When you think it’s time, drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the fried rice, and begin mixing it all in. Start off with 3 ½ tablespoons of sauce, but you can eyeball it or put your desired amount of sauce. As a word of caution, teriyaki sauce is very sweet and savory, so depending on your taste it’s better to add less first. You can always just add a bit more afterwards.
Once your fried rice is looking nice and brown, it’s ready to be enjoyed.
This meal can be modified so you don’t have to eat the same tasting fried rice each time. For example, scramble some eggs before and add them into the rice. Or perhaps use regular soy sauce instead of teriyaki sauce. If you’re using soy sauce, you can add a little sugar to balance out the saltiness. Other options are substituting the chicken for tofu, pork, beef or shrimp. Another favorite modification worth trying is using sesame oil instead of the coconut oil and then adding the teriyaki or soy sauce later.
This is a great dish to try if you have little cooking experience since it really depends on your personal preference. Cook it according to your taste, and feel free to change up the recipe.
Hopefully by the end you’ll not only be able to enjoy a self-made meal, but also realize that cooking in college is more than Easy Mac and take out.