Melissa Elsmo

Oak Parkers have been ordered to shelter-in-place and social distancing has us all rethinking our trips to the grocery store. Sure, I am choosing to support our local restaurants by taking advantage of curbside pick up services, but I am still cooking at home–a lot.

These circumstances have made it all the more important to look at our refrigerators and pantries in new and creative ways. A couple of days ago I threw together this  simple Asian inspired chicken and easy fried rice–my family loved it and hope yours will, too.

Asian Chicken and Fried Rice

For the Chicken:


  • 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1-inch piece of peeled ginger grated*
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce or Oyster sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry or orange juice
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sriracha (more or less to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil


Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover and allow the chicken to marinate several hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Discard remaining marinade. Bake the chicken, basting occasionally for 1 hour or until internal temperature reached 165 degrees and skin is deeply lacquered. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving with rice and veggies.

*In a pinch you can substitute ½ teaspoon of dry ginger for the fresh.

For the Fried Rice:


  • 3 eggs beaten with 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ -2 Cups leftover rice
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¾ Cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed*
  • 1 Cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Snipped scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)


Spray a large skillet with pan spray and add 1 Tablespoon of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Scramble quickly until eggs are just set. Remove eggs from pan and set aside. Wipe the pan and return to the burner. Spray with pan spray and add remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant-about 30 seconds. Add the rice to pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as needed. Allow the rice to fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until starting to crisp in places. Add the soy sauce, peas and carrots, and cooked eggs. Fold gently until heated through. Add the lettuce to pan and fold until just wilted. Serve at once garnished with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.

*Use your favorite veggies in this recipe to change things up!

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