Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs)

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This light and fresh Bún Chả recipe features flavorful and juicy pork meatballs paired with vermicelli noodles and plenty of herbs and vegetables. Bún chả is light yet filling and it comes together effortlessly in a few straightforward steps. Served with a homemade dipping sauce, this refreshing recipe is perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

Close up of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

What is Bún Chả?

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was a name for these delicious juicy pork meatballs. They were just something my mom made for me because it was one of the five things that I was willing to eat without question. It’s a recipe that you can easily make, you can scale it up or down, and most importantly, it’s super flavorful. 

Bún chả, also known as Vietnamese pork meatballs with vermicelli noodles, is a popular Vietnamese dish that is thought to have originated in Hanoi. You can find them served anywhere from street food stalls to restaurants in Hanoi. While a popular lunchtime recipe, you can enjoy this recipe any time of the day. I love how refreshing the noodles, vegetables, and herbs are on a hot summer day. You can even find Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama enjoying it on an episode of Parts Unknown!

What is fish sauce? 

Fish sauce is the secret ingredient of this entire recipe. It goes into the meatballs as well as the dipping sauce (nước chấm) and is an absolute umami bomb. It is a liquid condiment that is made from fermenting fish over time. It adds major savory, salty, and general deliciousness to the overall dish. You can find fish sauce in the international aisle in most grocery stores, or at an Asian grocer.

Bún chả being dipped in a bowl of sauce with ingredients on the sides.

What is lemongrass? 

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb that has a fragrant complex flavor that is bright and citrusy. You can purchase lemongrass fresh or frozen. I usually find frozen lemongrass at Asian grocers and like to stock up my freezer with them. If you can’t find lemongrass, lemon zest and some ginger could work in a pinch, but I highly recommend not substituting the lemongrass because it is key to achieving the authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

When using fresh lemongrass, keep in mind that the bottom woody section should be discarded. I’ve been noticing more chain grocery stores carrying fresh lemongrass so you should be able to find it relatively easily. If not, check where the ginger paste is kept and you might find lemongrass paste instead for an easy swap!

How to store leftovers

This recipe is perfect for meal prepping! Store the rice noodles, veggies, and herbs in one container and the pork meatballs in another container. This makes reheating the meatballs much easier, especially at work. Everything should keep and stay fresh for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tips for Making Bún Chả

  • Do not overpack the meatballs while shaping the meatballs as you do not want them to be dense. 
  • For uniformed meatballs, use a cookie scoop. This helps them cook evenly as well. You do not want to go any larger than around a golf ball’s size.
  • For the nước chấm, feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. 
  • While I use a non-stick skillet, you can use a grilling pan or cast-iron skillet as well. 
  • When buying rice vermicelli noodles, make sure to double-check the ingredients. At first glance, they look similar to cellophane noodles but they are not the same.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

Bún chả

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnames
Total Cost $16.22 recipe / $4.06 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 469kcal
Author Carmy Do

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork $4.49
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped $0.24
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot $0.68
  • 4 Tbsp minced lemongrass $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce $0.23
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02

Dipping Sauce (​​Nuoc Cham)

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes) $1.20
  • 3/4 cup water $0.00
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce $0.68
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper $0.10
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced $0.16

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles $2.99
  • 1 head butter lettuce $1.59
  • 1 handful fresh mint $2.19
  • 1 carrot, sliced $0.16
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced $0.50

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  • CHop the garlic and shallots, and mince the lemongrass.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.
  • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 20 meatballs), and then gently flatten them a bit.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

For the Sauce:

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together and adjust to your tastes. Optional: heat the water and whisk the sugar in to dissolve before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the Bowls:

  • Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (usually cook 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).
  • Serve the noodles with the meatballs along with a handful of lettuce, mint, carrots, and cucumbers with the nuoc cham on the side.

Notes

Editor’s note: The prices listed above are from U.S. chain grocery stores. If you have an Asian market in your area you’ll be able to source ingredients like fish sauce, lemongrass, limes, Thai chilis, mint, and rice noodles for much cheaper and often with much higher quality.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 2098mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

How to Make Bún chả – Step by Step Photos

Prepared aromatics for the meatballs on a cutting board.

First, prepare the aromatics for the meatballs. Mince three cloves of garlic, ¼ cup shallots, and 4 tablespoons lemongrass.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Add the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass to a bowl with about one pound of ground pork, 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix the ingredients together then set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge so the flavors can blend.

Shaped meatballs in a casserole dish.

Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and then gently flatten them a bit. To help divide the mixture evenly, first, dive the meat into four equal pieces, then divide each quarter into five pieces to yield 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

Prepared dipping sauce in a small container with a whisk.

For the sauce, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, ¾ cup water, 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped red chili, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and some thinly sliced carrots (optional garnish). Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients to your taste buds.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a sieve over a bowl.

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (they usually require cooking for 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water). Drain the noodles and set them aside.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables for your bowls. Slice a cucumber, slice a carrot into matchsticks, pull a handful of mint leaves from the stems, and wash some tender lettuce.

Finished Bún chả bowl from above.

Build the Bún chả bowls by adding the rice vermicelli noodles to a bowl along with some lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and Bún chả. Dip the Bún chả into the sauce, or drizzle a little over the bowl.

Bún chả in a bowl of dipping sauce.

SO fresh and so GOOD!

Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with noodles and vegetables, dipping sauce on the side.

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Coconut Rice

This savory coconut rice features fragrant jasmine rice, rich coconut milk, and savory garlic for a simple yet delicious side dish.

The post Coconut Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m not kidding when I say this coconut rice is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. There’s something about it that literally just makes my body melt upon the first bite. It’s rich, savory, carby, and just insanely delicious. It’s pretty simple to make, too, which is always a plus. Whether you like to make rice on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, you can make this incredible savory coconut rice with very little effort.

Originally posted 12-22-2011, updated 5-4-2022.

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut rice on a bamboo mat.

What’s in Coconut Rice?

This incredible rice is deceptively simple. It’s just long-grain white jasmine rice cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and water, with a little minced garlic and salt for depth. THAT’S IT. It sounds so plain, but you’ll be blown away on first bite. 

What Kind of Coconut Milk?

For this recipe you’ll need canned coconut milk, not the kind that is meant to be used as a substitute for dairy milk–that’s just too watery. As far as canned coconut milk goes, I’ve used both full fat and light and it turns out great with both. Full-fat coconut milk creates an ultra-rich rice (because it has so much more fat), while lite coconut milk has a slightly more mild coconut flavor and the rice will have a lighter, fluffier texture (less fat weighing it down).

What is Jasmine Rice?

Jasmine rice is a fragrant variety of rice grown in Southeast Asia. Using jasmine rice in this recipe really takes the flavor over the top, so definitely get it if you can! Jasmine rice is becoming more popular in the U.S. so you can find it at most grocery stores these days. Check the bottom shelf of the rice aisle for large 5 lb. bags to get the best deal. While jasmine rice is more expensive than plain white rice, it is totally worth the price. Plus, since it’s shelf-stable, it won’t go to waste! You can use long grain jasmine rice in place of plain white rice in most recipes for an extra flavor boost.

Can I Use a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you can make this coconut rice with a rice cooker instead of in a pot on the stovetop, as directed below. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and press go! 

What to Serve with Coconut Rice

This super delish rice is a great side dish to any Asian or tropical-inspired meal. Use it as a bed for Honey Sriracha Tofu, Teriyaki Chicken, Baked Ginger Salmon, or Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry Bowls.

Coconut rice in a saucepot on a bamboo mat, garnish with green onion and toasted coconut.

Coconut rice on a plate garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

Coconut Rice

This savory coconut rice features fragrant jasmine rice, rich coconut milk, and savory garlic for a simple yet delicious side dish.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Total Cost $2.88 recipe / $0.48 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 about ¾ cup each
Calories 295kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain jasmine rice $0.48
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1 13.5oz. can coconut milk $2.29
  • 1 cup water $0.00

Instructions

  • Rinse the jasmine rice using a wire mesh strainer or a bowl, making sure to pour off as much excess water as possible. Add the rinsed rice to a pot along with the minced garlic and salt.
  • Add the coconut milk and water to the pot. Give the rice a brief stir.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the liquid to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low. Allow the rice to simmer over low for 15 minutes. Make sure the pot maintains a simmer. Do not stir or lift the lid as the rice simmers.
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Finally, after the rice has rested, you lift the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 303mg | Fiber: 1g

Close up side view of coconut rice on a plate, garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

How to Make Coconut Rice – Step By Step Photos

Rinsed rice in a saucepot with minced garlic and salt.

Rinse 1.5 cups long grain white jasmine rice, making sure to pour off as much excess water as possible. Add the rinsed rice to a pot along with one clove of minced garlic and ¾ tsp salt.

Coconut milk being poured into the saucepot.

Add one 13.5oz. can of coconut milk to the saucepot with the rice.

Water being poured into the saucepot.

Add an additional cup of water. Give the rice a brief stir. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the liquid to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low. Allow the rice to simmer over low for 15 minutes. Make sure the pot maintains a simmer. Do not stir or lift the lid as the rice simmers.

Cooked rice in the saucepot.

After simmering for 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Finally, after the rice has rested, you may lift the lid.

Rice being fluffed in the saucepot.

Fluff the rice with a fork and then serve.

Coconut rice on a plate garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

I garnished my rice with sliced green onion and toasted coconut, but neither is needed to make this rice taste amazing! It’s mind-blowing on its own!

The post Coconut Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

This Easy Teriyaki Chicken is perfect for quick weeknight dinners, and has the most delicious salty, sweet, and savory flavor!

The post Easy Teriyaki Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about quick weeknight dinner recipes and this Easy Teriyaki Chicken is one that I think you’ll come back to over and over again. It’s almost too easy, and who doesn’t love teriyaki chicken?? The simple marinade turns into a gorgeous light glaze that adds just the right amount of salty, sweet, and savory flavor to juicy chicken thighs for a simple yet satisfying dinner. The leftovers are pretty good for lunch the next day, too. ;)

sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to broccoli.

What’s in Teriyaki Sauce?

Traditional teriyaki from Japan is grilled meat with a simple glaze made of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. My teriyaki sauce, while still fairly simple, is a bit close to what you’ll find in bottled teriyaki sauce in the U.S. It has the basic salty-sweet flavor of soy and sugar, but you’ll also find a little garlic and ginger for extra complexity. If you prefer the flavor of an authentic teriyaki sauce, make sure to check out this recipe from Just One Cookbook.

Which is Best, Chicken Thighs or Breasts?

You can make this teriyaki chicken with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or even chicken tenders. I find chicken thighs to be the best for this recipe because they cook quickly and stay super tender and juicy. If using chicken breasts, make sure to fillet them into two thinner pieces or pound the chicken to a ½-inch thickness before marinating. This will help them cook quickly and evenly in the skillet before the glaze burns.

How Long Should I Marinade the Teriyaki Chicken?

You can marinate your chicken for as little as 30 minutes, or up to a full day for maximum flavor. This gives you the flexibility to start marinating the chicken just before you begin preparing dinner, in the morning before you leave for work, or even the night before. The longer it marinates, the more delicious it will be!

What to Serve with Teriyaki Chicken

When I’m in a hurry I just keep things simple with some long-grain white rice and steamed broccoli, but you could always make your meal a little more interesting by pairing your teriyaki chicken with something like a Crunchy Cabbage Salad, Sesame Roasted Green Beans, or a Sesame Cucumber Salad.

Close up side view of sliced teriyaki chicken on a platter.
Sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to steamed broccoli.

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

This Easy Teriyaki Chicken is perfect for quick weeknight dinners, and has the most delicious salty, sweet, and savory flavor!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Asian, Japanese
Total Cost $6.34 recipe / $1.27 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 5 thighs
Calories 274kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce $0.24
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp water $0.00
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.08
  • 1.75 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs $5.72

Instructions

  • Prepare the marinade first. Stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic, ginger, and 1 Tbsp of the cooking oil in a bowl.
  • Place the chicken in a shallow bowl or dish, then pour the marinade over top. Turn the chicken a couple of times to make sure it's well coated. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes to one day (refrigerated), turning the chicken occasionally as it marinates.
  • When ready to cook the chicken, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken, discarding the remaining used marinade.
  • Cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through and the liquid in the skillet has reduced to a light coating of glaze on the chicken.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1thigh | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 792mg | Fiber: 1g
Side view of sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice with broccoli on the side.

How to Make Teriyaki Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Teriyaki marinade in a bowl with a fork.

Make the marinade first. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp water, and 1 Tbsp cooking oil.

boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a shallow dish with marinade.

Place about 1.75 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a wide bowl or dish (or a zip top bag), then pour the marinade over top. Flip the chicken thighs a few times to make sure they’re fully coated in the marinade. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or up to a full day (refrigerated). Turn the chicken occasionally as they marinate.

Raw marinated chicken thighs in a skillet.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken. Discard the remaining used marinade.

Cooked teriyaki chicken in the skillet.

Cook the chicken thighs in the skillet for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through and the excess liquid in the skillet has reduced into a light coating of glaze on the chicken.

Finished teriyaki chicken thighs on a cutting board.

Transfer the cooked teriyaki chicken to a cutting board to rest for about five minutes before slicing and serving.

Sliced teriyaki chicken thighs on a black ceramic platter.

This teriyaki chicken is so extremely juicy and delicious. You’re going to love it!

Sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to steamed broccoli.

The post Easy Teriyaki Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice is a fast, easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal that you can whip up with ingredients on hand at any time!

The post Vegetable Fried Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Fried rice is a take-out classic because it’s fast, easy, filling, delicious, and inexpensive, which is everything I want from a meal made at home, too! I love making vegetable fried rice at home because it’s an easy way to use up odds and ends in my fridge, it’s always satisfying, and it’s FAST. Plus, I can always add some meat or seafood if I’m feeling it!

Originally posted 6/2/2010, updated 3/30/2022.

Overhead view of a black plate full of vegetable fried rice on a yellow background

What is Fried Rice?

Fried rice is a Chinese dish made with cooked rice that is then stir-fried in a wok with other ingredients, like meat, seafood, vegetables, and eggs, and then seasoned with a savory sauce. It’s extremely flexible and budget-friendly, which is why we love this dish! The recipe below is an American adaptation, using a skillet instead of a wok and ingredients that are easily sourced in most American grocery stores. If you’d like to try an authentic Chinese Fried Rice recipe, be sure to check out Chinese Fried Rice from Rasa Malaysia, Egg Fried Rice from Red House Spice, or Classic Chicken Fried Rice from The Woks of Life.

Use Leftover Rice for Best Results

To avoid clumpy or gummy fried rice, use rice that has been previously cooked and completely cooled, preferably overnight. The slightly drier, less starchy rice is perfect for stir-frying because it can absorb moisture from the sauce and vegetables without becoming overly sticky. If you don’t have leftover rice from the day before, simply cook some rice, spread it out thin on a baking sheet or wide baking dish for faster cooling, then refrigerate until completely cool before using in the stir fry. 

Do I Need a Wok?

Woks are wonderful for stir fry because the large surface area makes it possible to add a lot of ingredients without overcrowding. While using a frying pan doesn’t work quite as well, we can make up for the crowding issue by cooking the ingredients separately, then combining them at the very end. 

What Else Can I Add to Vegetable Stir Fry?

Here’s my favorite part. A simple Vegetable Stiry is a blank slate for all sorts of add ins, whether it’s more vegetables, a meat or seafood, a different sauce, or even a crunchy topping! Here are some other fun add-ins for your stir fry:

  • Other vegetables like beansprouts, mushrooms, green beans, corn, broccoli, red chiles, or kimchi
  • Meat or seafood like chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, or sausage
  • Other sauces like oyster sauce, sriracha, or chili crisp
  • Crunchy toppers like cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, crushed ramen noodles

Overhead view of fried rice in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Overhead view of a plate full of vegetable fried rice on a yellow background.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice is a fast, easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal that you can whip up with ingredients on hand at any time!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Chinese
Total Cost $4.50 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 336kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 carrot, diced $0.16
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced $1.50
  • 4 green onions, sliced $0.40
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.50
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.12
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled rice $0.62
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce $0.18
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.30

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetables before hand so they're ready to go when needed. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, dice the carrot and bell pepper, slice the green onions (separate the green ends from the white ends), and measure the frozen peas.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs and gently scramble until cooked through. Transfer the cooked eggs to a clean bowl or plate.
  • There should be a good amount of oil left in the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrots and stir and cook for about two minutes. Next add the bell pepper and the white firm ends of the green onions. Cook and stir for one minute more. Finally, add the frozen peas and stir and cook until heated through. Transfer the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic, ginger, and cooked and cooled rice to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.
  • Pour the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil over the rice. Stir the rice and sauce together until evenly combined. Turn the heat off.
  • Add the eggs and vegetables back to the skillet with the rice and stir to combine. Allow the residual heat to heat everything through. Top with the remaining green ends of the sliced green onions. Taste and adjust the soy sauce or sesame oil to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 771mg | Fiber: 4g

side view of a plate full of fried rice with chop sticks on the side.

How to Make Fried Rice – Step By Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Prep the vegetables before you begin cooking because once you start, it will go fast! Mince two cloves of garlic and mince or grate about 1 tsp fresh ginger. Peel and dice one large carrot and one red bell pepper. Slice four green onions, separating the tender green top half from the firm lower half, and measure out one cup of frozen peas.

Scrambled eggs in a skillet

Lightly whisk two large eggs. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs to the skillet and gently scramble until cooked through. Remove the scrambled eggs to a clean bowl or plate.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

There should be quite a bit of oil left in the skillet after removing the eggs. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrot to the skillet and stir fry for about two minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and the firm white ends of the sliced green onion. Stir fry for about a minute more. Lastly, add the frozen peas and stir fry just until heated through. Remove the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.

Stir fried rice in the skillet.

Add another tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface again. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and three cups of cooked and cooled rice to the hot skillet. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don’t worry if the rice sticks a bit to the bottom. It will loosen after the sauce is added.

Stir fry sauce being poured over the rice.

Add 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to the rice. Fold the rice and sauce together until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.

vegetables and eggs added back to the rice.

Add the vegetables and eggs back to the skillet. Turn the heat off and stir to combine, allowing the residual heat to reheat everything through.

Finished vegetable fried rice in the skillet.

Top with the sliced green ends of the green onions and you’re done! Give it a taste and add extra soy sauce or sesame oil to fit your taste buds.

finished vegetable fried rice in a skillet against a yellow background.

What do you like to put in your fried rice?

You Might Also Like:

The post Vegetable Fried Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable stir fry is a quick and easy option for dinner, plus it’s super flexible and a great way to use up leftovers from your fridge!

The post Easy Vegetable Stir Fry appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We love a good “catch-all” recipe here at Budget Bytes, and a simple vegetable stir fry is the perfect example of that. Whether you’re using up leftover vegetables from your freezer or using a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, a quick and easy vegetable stir fry is an easy solution for dinner. In addition to the very simple version below, I’ve got plenty of ideas for add-ins and flavor modifications in case you want to switch it up!

Vegetable stir fry in a skillet against a blue background

What Vegetables are Good for Stir Fry?

It’s important to get a variety of colors and textures when you make a vegetable stir fry. I chose to use onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots to provide that variety, but here are some other vegetables that are great in stir fry:

  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Baby corn
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Green onion
  • Sweet peas
  • Spinach

Other Stir Fry Add-ins

In addition to vegetables, you can add all sorts of other ingredients, like:

  • Chicken, beef, or pork
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Noodles
  • Scrambled egg
  • Peanuts or cashews

Customize the Sauce

I’ve included a very basic brown stir fry sauce below, but there are so many options for customizing the sauce to fit your taste buds. Here are some options:

  • Make it spicy: add a tablespoon or so of sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or gochujang
  • Make it extra rich: stir in a couple tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • Make it sweet and tangy: stir in a couple tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • Give it a tropical twist: use pineapple juice instead of water (add a little less brown sugar)

The Trick to Good Stir Fry at Home

There are two important tips for making stir fry at home:

1) Use a big wok or skillet and high heat. If your pan is too small there won’t be enough surface area for the steam to evaporate and the vegetables will get soupy. Likewise, if the heat isn’t high enough the steam will not evaporate fast enough and the vegetables will also get soupy.

2) Don’t overcook the vegetables. You want the vegetables to just be tender-crisp and vibrantly colored. You can always cook them a little longer once the sauce is added at the end, but if you cook them too long in the first steps you’ll end up with limp vegetables that are drab color.

Two bowls with vegetable stir fry and rice
close up of stir fry vegetables from above.

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable stir fry is a quick and easy option for dinner, plus it's super flexible and a great way to use up leftovers from your fridge!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Total Cost $9.06 recipe / $2.27 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 209kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce $0.24
  • 1/4 cup water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.10
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.03

Vegetables*

  • 3/4 lb. broccoli $1.34
  • 2 carrots $0.33
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.69
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas $2.99
  • 1 small onion $0.28
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.16
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds $0.06

Instructions

  • Make the stir fry sauce first. Combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set the sauce aside.
  • Chop the vegetables into similar-sized pieces. It's up to you whether you slice, dice, or cut into any other shape you prefer.
  • Add the cooking oil to a very large skillet or wok. Heat over medium-high. When the pan and oil are very hot (but not smoking), add the hardest vegetables first: carrots and broccoli. Cook and stir for about a minute, or just until the broccoli begins to turn bright green.
  • Next, add the mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Continue to cook and stir for a minute or two more, or just until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  • Finally, add the softest vegetables, bell pepper and onion. Continue to cook and stir just until the onion begins to soften.
  • Give the stir fry sauce another brief stir, then pour it over the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and turn glossy. Remove the vegetables from the heat, or continue to cook until they are to your desired doneness.
  • Top the stir fry with sesame seeds and serve!

Notes

*You can use any mix of vegetables you like. You’ll need about 8 cups once chopped.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 869mg | Fiber: 6g
close up of stir fry vegetables from above.

How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos

stir fry sauce being whisked in a white bowl

Make the stir fry sauce first so the flavors have a little time to blend and the sauce is ready to go when you need it. Vegetable stir fry is a fast process, so you’ve got to be ready! Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk until combined, then set aside.

Whole vegetables on a cutting board.

For my stir fry mix, I used 1 small yellow onion, ½ lb. broccoli, 2 carrots, 8oz. mushrooms, and 8oz. sugar snap peas. You can use any mix of vegetables you’d like, just try to get a good variety of colors and textures. You’ll want about 8 cups once chopped.

Chopped vegetables on the cutting board

Chop the vegetables into similar sized pieces. Since carrots take so long to soften, it was okay to cut them much smaller than the rest.

Sautéed broccoli and carrots in the skillet first.

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a very large skillet or wok. Heat over medium-high until the pan is very hot. Once hot, add the hardest vegetables first (or the vegetables that take the longest to soften), in this case, it was carrots and broccoli. Stir briskly for about one minute, or just until you start to see the color of the broccoli turn bright green. They will continue to cook as you add more vegetables.

Mushrooms and peas added to the skillet.

Next, add the vegetables that soften semi-quickly, in this case, the mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Again, stir briskly and cook only for about 1-2 minutes, or just until you see the mushrooms begin to soften. They will continue to cook further as you add more vegetables.

peppers and onions added to the skillet.

Lastly, add your softest vegetables, in this case, the onion and bell pepper. Stir and cook just for one minute more, or just until the onions begin to soften. They will continue to cook and soften after you add the sauce.

stir fry sauce being poured over the vegetables in the skillet.

Give the stir fry sauce a quick stir to recombine, then pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir and cook until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and turn glossy. Remove the skillet from the heat, or continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

Finished stir fry in the skillet

Top the stir fry with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Vegetable stir fry in the skillet against a blue background.

Try These Other Stir Fry Recipes:

The post Easy Vegetable Stir Fry appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Coconut Curry Ramen

You only need 5 simple ingredients and about 10 minutes to make this Coconut Curry Ramen, a vibrant bowl full of bold colors and flavors.

The post Coconut Curry Ramen appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You know how I love my instant ramen upgrades and this coconut curry ramen might just be one of my most favorite yet! You only need five simple ingredients and about ten minutes to make this bowl of delicious noodles. Plus, there’s no chopping required, so this coconut curry ramen is a really great choice for anyone cooking in small spaces or with limited cooking equipment (dorm room, hotel room, RV, etc.). But what I love the most is just how vibrant the colors and flavors are in this bowl.

Overhead view of a bowl of coconut curry ramen on a yellow background

What Kind of Vegetables to Use

I suggest keeping a bag of frozen mixed vegetables on hand for this ramen. Frozen vegetables are already chopped, which makes this recipe a breeze to put together. There are so many different vegetable mix combos available to choose from (see photos below for examples) and you can use just a cup at a time without worrying about the rest going bad. That being said, you can use any fresh vegetables you might have on hand, as well.

I’ve made this coconut curry ramen with a few different mixes of frozen vegetables already, and they’ve all been great. Scroll down to the step by step photos below the recipes to see the three types that I’ve tried so far.

What Flavor Ramen to Use

Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s flexible. You can use several different flavors of ramen. I used chicken, but shrimp would also be good. If you don’t want to use the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen, you can replace the water in the recipe below with any type of broth that you like (vegetable, chicken, mushroom, etc.).

What Kind of Curry Powder to Use

I used a yellow curry powder for this recipe, but it’s quite flexible and I think it would work well with just about any type of curry powder. The flavor of curry powder can vary quite a bit from brand to brand, so you may need to do some experimenting to find one that you like. You can use either a mild or spicy curry powder, whichever you prefer.

What Else Can I Add?

The recipe below is very simple but very delicious, but you can always add more ingredients if you have them on hand! I don’t like to see things go to waste and this recipe is perfect for add-ins! If you have shrimp or cooked chicken, you can toss that in there. You can top it with green onions or a drizzle of sriracha. This would also be a great way to use up an extra handful or two of any leftover greens that you may have (spinach, kale, etc.).

a fork lifting ramen noodles from the bowl
Close up overhead view of a bowl of coconut curry ramen

Coconut Curry Ramen

You only need 5 simple ingredients and about 10 minutes to make this Coconut Curry Ramen, a vibrant bowl full of bold colors and flavors. 
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American, Asian, Indian
Total Cost $1.34 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 or 2
Calories 770kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables $0.47
  • 1.5 cups water $0.00
  • 1 3oz. package instant ramen $0.25
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk* $0.52
  • 1 tsp curry powder $0.10

Instructions

  • Add the frozen vegetables and water to a small saucepot. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the ramen noodles (without seasoning). Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are soft.
  • Shake the coconut can well to combine the solid fat and liquid before measuring. Add the coconut milk to the saucepot and stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the seasoning packet from the instant ramen and the curry powder. Stir to combine. Serve hot.

Notes

*Use canned coconut milk, not the type in a carton meant to be used as a dairy milk substitute.

Nutrition

Serving: 1recipe | Calories: 770kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 43g | Sodium: 1853mg | Fiber: 13g
close up side view of a bowl of coconut curry ramen

How to Make Coconut Curry Ramen – Step by Step Photos

Three bags of frozen vegetable mixes

You can use just about any type of mixed frozen vegetables for this recipe. Here are three examples of vegetable mixes that I’ve used and enjoyed. The vegetables used in the ramen bowl pictured in this post were the “stir-fry starters” mix on the top right.

water pouring into a saucepot with frozen vegetables

Add one cup of frozen vegetables to a saucepot with 1.5 cups water. Place a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a boil.

Ramen noodles added to the pot

Once boiling, add the ramen noodles to the pot (without the seasoning). Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or just until the noodles soften.

Coconut milk being poured into the pot

Add ½ cup full-fat coconut milk to the pot and stir to combine. Make sure your coconut milk is very well mixed before measuring, so you get an even mix of the solid fat and liquid.

seasonings added to the pot of noodles

Finally, add the seasoning packet from the instant ramen and one teaspoon curry powder. Stir to combine.

Finished coconut curry ramen in the saucepot

And that’s it! Your deliciously creamy pot of coconut curry ramen is done and ready to devour!

Close up of coconut curry ramen in the bowl with a fork

Try These Other Instant Ramen Recipes:

The post Coconut Curry Ramen appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One Pot Veggie Rice Bowl

This simple veggie rice bowl can be made with just one pot and a hot plate, or a rice cooker. It’s a simple meal when resources are limited! BudgetBytes.com

The post One Pot Veggie Rice Bowl appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You can never have too many of these quick and easy “emergency” meals. Things you can whip up with very little effort, using things you probably have on hand. I love this One Pot Veggie Rice Bowl because it uses very few dishes, requires next to no chopping, and it’s perfect for people with limited cooking equipment (dorms, RVs, hotel stays). Plus, as always, there are plenty of ways to customize it. ;)

overhead view of veggie and rice bowl topped with sriracha

Cooking Rice and Eggs Together in One Pot

Last summer when talking about favorite potato salad recipes with our community, several people mentioned that they boil eggs for their salad right along with the potatoes in one pot. That got me thinking. It takes about 15 minutes to steam rice, which is really close to the amount of time it takes to hard boil an egg. So I had to try cooking rice and hard boiled eggs at the same time in one pot. Guess what? IT WORKS. But you definitely want to make to wash your egg(s) well first. ;)

Single Serving Recipe

This recipe is designed to be a quick and easy single serving meal for one. It’s perfect for those who are traveling or living in housing with limited cooking equipment. You can scale this up, if needed, by adjusting the number of servings in the recipe card below. Cooking times do not need to be adjusted if scaling the recipe up. Here is a similar recipe for One Pot Chicken Teriyaki and Rice that feeds four.

Use a Pot or Rice Cooker

The instructions below are for making this recipe using a saucepot on a burner or hotplate, but you can also do this using a rice cooker. To use a rice cooker, just add everything to the rice cooker in the same order as described below, then select the cook function. The only caveat with using a rice cooker is that you have a little less control over the cooking time, so if the programmed cooking time is too long, you may end up with an egg yolk that is a little green around the edges.

A green-tinged egg yolk is a classic sign that an egg has been overcooked. It does not mean that the egg is bad, rotten, or unsafe to eat and in most cases, it does not affect the flavor. It’s simply a chemical reaction between the naturally occurring hydrogen, sulfur, and iron in the egg that happens with a certain amount of heat exposure.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

This recipe is best used with white rice. Brown rice needs about three times longer to cook, at which point your egg and vegetables will be far overcooked. For best results, cook the brown rice separately.

What Else Can I Add to My Veggie Rice Bowl?

The other great thing about this bowl is just how flexible it is. You can use any type of frozen veggie mix (a stir fry mix works great), you can adjust the seasonings to your liking, and you can add all sorts of fun toppings if you happen to have them on hand! Here are some things that would taste great as an additional topping for your veggie rice bowl:

  • Avocado
  • Sesame seeds
  • Leftover cooked meat (ham, rotisserie chicken, etc.)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Kimchi
  • Cucumber
  • Sautéed spinach
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Jalapeño
  • Cilantro
  • Red bell pepper
Close up side view of one pot veggie rice bowl
Overhead view of a rice and veggie bowl

One Pot Veggie Rice Bowl

This simple veggie rice bowl can be made with just one pot and a hot plate, or a rice cooker. It's a simple meal when resources are limited!
Total Cost $1.29 per bowl
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 561kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice $0.31
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables $0.38
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, divided $0.04
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1 green onion, sliced $0.11
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (or to taste) $0.11

Instructions

  • Add the rice, garlic, and frozen vegetables to a small saucepot.
  • Combine the water with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, then pour that into the pot. Stir to combine with the rice, vegetables, and garlic.
  • Wash one large egg well, then place it in the center of the pot, on top of the rice.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and allow the water to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, and allow the water to continue to simmer for 15 minutes without removing the lid or stirring.
  • After 15 minutes of simmering, turn the heat off. Remove the egg from the pot and replace the lid right away. Allow the rice to rest with the heat turned off and the lid in place for another five minutes.
  • After removing the egg from the pot, place the egg in a bowl of ice water or place it under cold running water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.
  • After letting the rice and veggies rest for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Season the rice and veggies with the sesame oil and another 1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste.
  • Transfer the rice and vegetables to a bowl. Peel the egg and slice it in half or into quarters, then place it on top of the rice. Top the bowl with sliced green onion and a drizzle of sriracha.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1190mg | Fiber: 9g

How to Make A One Pot Veggie Rice Bowl – Step by Step Photos

Rice, vegetables, and garlic in a pot

Combine ½ cup long grain white rice, 1 cup frozen vegetables, and one clove of minced garlic in a small saucepot.

soy sauce and water being poured into a pot

Combine 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Add that to the saucepot and stir everything to combine.

Egg added to the pot

Wash one large egg well, then place it in the center of the pot on top of the rice. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the water to come up to a full boil. Once the water reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer over low for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring.

Egg being removed from the pot with cooked rice

After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and remove the egg from the pot. Replace the lid on the pot and let the rice rest for 5 more minutes. Place the hot egg in a bowl of ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.

fluffed rice and vegetables in the pot

After letting the rice rest with the heat turned off and lid on for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice and vegetables with a fork.

sesame oil being sprinkled over the rice

Season the rice and vegetables with ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil and another teaspoon of soy sauce, or to taste.

Sriracha being drizzled over the veggie rice bowl

Transfer the rice and veggies to a bowl. Peel your egg, cut it in half or quarters, and add it to the bowl. Top the bowl with sliced green onion and a drizzle of sriracha to taste. Enjoy!

Overhead view of a rice and veggie bowl

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Honey Sriracha Tofu

This sweet, spicy, and sticky honey sriracha tofu is addictively delicious! Add it to salads, bowl meals, noodles, wraps, and more.

The post Honey Sriracha Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I haven’t made tofu in a while but I can tell you one thing, I’m going to be making this Honey Sriracha Tofu a lot from here on out. These tasty little tofu cubes are pan-fried until crispy on the outside and then drenched in a sweet and spicy sriracha glaze. It’s simple but so addictive! They’re so good that I sat there eating the tofu right out of the pan, nearly polishing off the entire batch myself. 😬 Realistically, you’ll probably want to stretch this out to about four servings as part of a full meal, and I’ve got some great ideas for that below. 😉

honey sriracha tofu in a bowl with rice and cucumber
Serving suggestion: in a bowl with rice, cucumber, and sesame seeds.

What Kind of Tofu to Use

I suggest using either firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe so that the tofu cubes hold their shape during frying. Even with firm or extra-firm tofu, you’ll want to stir gently to prevent the cubes from crumbling.

To add even more texture in your tofu, you can freeze the tofu (right in the package) and then thaw before pressing. This makes the tofu a little more dense and texturized, rather than soft and smooth.

Can I Substitute the Sriracha?

Sriracha is the main flavor in this recipe and it provides several flavor elements to the sauce like heat, acidity, garlic, and salt. You could potentially substitute it with another chili sauce, like chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek, or maybe even gochujang. But if you’re looking for a non-spicy option, it will take several ingredients to replace all the flavors contained in the sriracha. I suggest using this recipe for Pan Fried Sesame Tofu as a non-spicy alternative.

Close up of honey sriracha tofu in the skillet

Make it Vegan

To make this honey sriracha tofu vegan you only need to swap one ingredient—honey. Substitute the honey with either brown sugar or agave nectar. Brown sugar is my top choice because I love the deep flavors that the molasses in the brown sugar provides.

Use Non-Stick Cookware for Best Results

Cornstarch helps create a nice crispy coating on the tofu, but cornstarch also likes to stick to cookware. For that reason, I suggest using some type of non-stick cookware, whether that be ceramic, cast iron, or Teflon.

How to Serve Honey Sriracha Tofu

Do as I say and don’t do as I do (almost eat the entire batch straight out of the skillet). Use this honey sriracha tofu to top salads, like Crunchy Cabbage Salad or Cold Peanut Noodle Salad. Make it into a bowl meal with rice and cooling cucumbers (as pictured) and maybe some Peanut Lime Dressing. Or add it to some noodles like these Sesame Noodles with Wilted Greens or Garlic Noodles. You could even stuff it into a big tortilla with Crunchy Cabbage Salad and make it a wrap!

Honey sriracha tofu in the skillet with a spatula, ingredients on the sides
Close up of honey sriracha tofu in the skillet

Honey Sriracha Tofu

This sweet, spicy, and sticky honey sriracha tofu is addictively delicious! Add it to salads, bowl meals, wraps, and more.
Total Cost $2.64 recipe / $0.66 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Press Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 161kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu $1.79
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, divided $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.03
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.22

Instructions

  • Press the tofu for 30 minutes to remove the excess moisture. You can do this by either using a tofu press, or placing the block of tofu on a rimmed plate or tray, then topping with something flat like a cutting board and placing a heavy object on top (cast iron skillet or pot of water). After pressing for 30 minutes, pour off the extra liquid.
  • While the tofu is pressing, make the honey sriracha sauce. In a small bowl, combine the sriracha, honey, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and the crushed red pepper. Set the sauce aside.
  • Cut the pressed tofu into ½-inch cubes. Use a paper towel to lightly pat dry the tofu cubes.
  • Add the cooking oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to a large bowl. Lightly whisk the soy sauce into the oil. Add the cubed tofu and gently stir until the tofu is coated in oil and soy sauce.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cornstarch over the cubed tofu and gently stir. Repeat two more times, or until 3 teaspoon (1 Tablespoon) cornstarch has been added to the tofu.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet over medium. When the skillet is hot, add the prepared tofu. The tofu will fry in the oil that is coating the cubes. Cook the tofu, stirring only occasionally, until it is brown and crispy on all sides (about 10 minutes).
  • Pour the honey sriracha sauce over the tofu and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until the glaze is thick and sticky.
  • Top the honey sriracha tofu with sliced green onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 405mg | Fiber: 1g
close up of honey sriracha tofu in a bowl with cucumber

How to Make Honey Sriracha Tofu – Step by Step Photos

Homemade tofu press with cutting boards and cast iron skillet

Drain one 14oz. block of firm or extra-firm tofu. Press the tofu for 30 minutes using either a tofu press, or a homemade press like in the photo above. To make the homemade press, place the block of tofu on a plate or rimmed baking sheet, then top with a cutting board and a heavy object, like a cast-iron skillet or pot of water.

honey sriracha sauce

While the tofu is pressing, prepare the honey sriracha sauce. Stir together 2 Tablespoons sriracha, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper.

pressed tofu with liquid all around the dish

You can see how much more liquid came out of the block of tofu after pressing for 30 minutes. Pour off the excess liquid.

Cubed tofu on a cutting board

Cut the block of tofu into ½-inch cubes and lightly pat dry with a paper towel.

cooking oil and soy sauce in a large bowl

Add 2 Tablespoons of cooking oil and one teaspoon soy sauce to a large bowl. Whisk until they are somewhat combined, then add the cubed tofu and gently stir until the tofu is coated.

cubed tofu in the bowl with cornstarch

Add one teaspoon cornstarch to the bowl with the tofu and gently stir again. Repeat two more times until you’ve added 3 teaspoons (or one tablespoon) cornstarch and the tofu is coated.

cooked tofu cubes in a skillet

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is very hot, add the tofu. The tofu is coated in oil, so there is no need to add extra oil to the skillet. Cook the tofu, stirring occasionally, until it is golden brown and crispy on all sides.

honey sriracha sauce being poured over the tofu in the skillet

Pour the prepared honey sriracha sauce over the tofu.

finished honey sriracha tofu in the skillet garnished with sliced green onions

Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes more or until the sauce is thick and sticky. Top with sliced green onions and serve!

honey sriracha tofu in a bowl with rice, cucumber, and sesame seeds

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Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing […]

The post Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing a perfectly golden brown and crispy exterior. Pair that with a bowl of cool, sweet, and tangy Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping and I’m in absolute heaven. So if you love chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless wings, or anything along those lines, I think you’re going to love these Coconut Chicken Strips.

Originally posted 1-18-2010, updated 5-10-2021.

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with one being dipped into a bowl of sweet chili sauce

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I’ve tried this recipe with both chicken breast (boneless, skinless) and chicken tenders. Chicken tenders ended up being too large when used whole, so while they are an option you’ll probably still want to slice them into thinner pieces before breading and cooking. 

Another option would be to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks, so you’ll have something more along the lines of coconut chicken “bites” than strips. I think that would be awesome! The dark meat of chicken thighs will be extra tender and juicy.

Cooking Options

Frying – I chose to shallow fry my coconut chicken strips in a skillet because I don’t have a deep fryer and I don’t deep fry often enough to warrant using as much oil as deep-frying requires. Shallow frying will still get you that great super crispy exterior without allowing the inside to dry out.

Baking – While you can bake these, the results won’t be as awesome as frying. Baking takes longer and the hot air causes more evaporation, which results in drier chicken. You also won’t get as much browning as you will with frying. To help the browning issue, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut breading mixture, similar to the technique used in my Homemade Chicken Nuggets. I suggest using the baking temperature and technique used for the chicken nuggets as well, but increasing the bake time by a few minutes.

Air Frying – I do not own an air fryer, so unfortunately I can’t offer suggestions for cooking times and temperature, but I suspect these chicken strips would be a good candidate for air frying. Because this appliance uses hot air, similar to an oven, I would suggest either spritzing the strips with a little spray oil or mixing a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut mixture to help with browning.

What to Serve with Coconut Chicken Strips

Don’t skip that sweet chili sauce! You can find sweet chili sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or you can try making your own with my Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce recipe. For side dishes, you can pair this with something like Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing, Cucumber Mango Salad, or Savory Coconut Rice

What Oil is Good For Frying?

It’s really important to use the right kind of cooking oil for frying. Every type of cooking oil has a different “smoke point,” which is the temperature that the oil begins to smoke and burn. And obviously, we want to avoid that because burned oil does not taste good (and it’s a fire hazard!). So, you’ll want to choose an oil that can withstand the high temperature of frying and an oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own. Some good oils to choose from are canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil.

Close up of a coconut chicken strip being dipped into sweet chili sauce

A plate of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center, a hand dipping one chicken strip into the sauce

Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

These tender and crispy homemade Coconut Chicken Strips are perfect for dipping in a tangy and sweet chili sauce.
Total Cost $10.95 recipe / $2.73 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 4 strips each
Calories 873.13kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $7.70
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.01
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk $0.25
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs $0.22
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut $0.56
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil, divided* $0.32
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce $1.43

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken breasts into ½-inch wide strips, slicing diagonally to maintain a more even length among the strips.
  • Sprinkle the salt and flour over top of the sliced chicken. Toss the chicken until they're evenly coated.
  • Whisk together the eggs and coconut milk in a bowl. In a separate wide shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and flaked coconut.
  • To bread the chicken, dip each chicken strip into the egg wash, allow the excess to drip off, then dip it into the breadcrumb mixture until it's fully coated. Place the breaded chicken strips on a clean plate or tray until they're all breaded.
  • Once they're all breaded, it's time to fry. Heat ¼ cup cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. To test the heat of the oil, drop a breadcrumb into the oil. It should begin to sizzle immediately. If the oil begins to smoke at anytime, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chicken strips, several at a time, leaving a little space between each one. Cook the chicken strips for about three minutes on on each side, or until they're deeply golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain, then repeat with another batch of chicken. Remove any burned pieces of coconut before beginning the next batch, and add more oil as needed, making sure to wait until it is hot before adding more chicken.
  • After frying all of the chicken, it's time to serve! Serve hot with a bowl of sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Notes

*Use a high heat cooking oil. Good options include: canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 873.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 82.7g | Protein: 39.45g | Fat: 42.1g | Sodium: 1313.3mg | Fiber: 3.15g

Close up of coconut chicken strips on a plate with a bowl of thai sweet chili sauce

How to Make Coconut Chicken Strips – Step by Step Photos

Sliced chicken breasts

Start with about 1.3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cut them into ½-inch wide strips. I like to do this sort of on a diagonal to keep them more even in length. If your chicken breasts are very large, you might want to cut the length of the strip in half as well. Cutting the chicken strips thin enough is important because this allows it to cook through quickly. 

Chicken strips coated in flour and salt

Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt and 2 Tbsp flour over the chicken strips, then toss until they’re evenly coated.

Egg and coconut milk mixed in a bowl

Whisk together two large eggs and ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk in a bowl. Make sure to use the type of coconut milk that is in a can, not the type in a carton that is meant to be a dairy milk substitute.

Coconut and panko breadcrumbs mixed together in a bowl

Combine 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl.

Breading station with chicken, egg wash, coconut and breadcrumbs

Set up your breading station with the bowl of coconut egg wash, the bowl with coconut and breadcrumbs, and a plate or tray for the breaded chicken. I’m using a parchment lined baking sheet to hold the breaded chicken just for easy cleanup. Dip each chicken strip first into the eggwash (let excess drip off), then into the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the breadcrumbs and coconut fully coat all sides, then place the chicken strip on your holding tray.

Breaded chicken strips on a baking tray

Once all of the chicken strips are breaded, it’s time to start cooking. Add ¼ cup cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Wait until the oil is very hot, but not smoking. If you drop one of the panko breadcrumbs into the hot oil, it should immediately begin sizzling. If it doesn’t sizzle right away, the oil is not hot enough. If at any point during the cooking process the oil begins to smoke, remove it from the heat immediately and wait for it to cool down. 

Browned chicken strips in the skillet

Once the oil is good and hot, add several of the chicken strips, leaving a little space between each. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they are deeply golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Scoop out any loose pieces of coconut, add a little more oil if needed, wait for it to get hot again, and then cook a second batch of chicken strips. You should be able to cook them all in 2-3 batches. 

Finished Coconut Chicken Strips on a paper towel lined plate

Once they’re all cooked, it’s time to serve! 

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center

Pour about one cup of sweet chili sauce into a bowl and place that in the center of the coconut chicken strips. I sprinkled the chicken strips with a little cilantro for color, but that’s not needed for flavor. Sliced green onions are another optional garnish idea. Enjoy!

The post Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls

These Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls feature light and airy rice noodles, cold crunchy vegetables, and a deliciously bright peanut lime dressing.

The post Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m sooooo ready for the lighter foods of spring and summer! This week I made a deliciously light and fresh noodle bowl with crispy tofu, fresh vegetables, and a simple peanut lime dressing. I’m just loving all the cold crunchy vegetables and the light and airy rice noodles in this bowl. As always, I’ve got some substitution options for these Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls below, so make sure to keep reading!

Overhead view of a peanut tofu noodle bowl on a blue background and a fork on the side

What Kind of Noodles Can I Use?

I love rice noodles for this bowl because they’re super light and they taste great cold. I used a vermicelli style rice noodle because that was what was available at the store, but a slightly wider noodle would probably work best (wider noodles tangle less).

If you don’t have rice noodles available or want a less expensive option, these bowls are very similar to my Cold Peanut Noodle Salad, which uses whole what spaghetti, so I think that could also work here.

A third option is to serve these bowls over rice in stead of noodles. Jasmine rice would be my pick!

A fourth option is to serve this like a salad over shredded cabbage or lettuce.

Can I Substitute the Tofu?

Sure! I think both chicken and shrimp would also go great in this bowl. For chicken, just cube it up and sauté in oil until cooked through. You could even toss it in a little bit of the peanut dressing, making sure to save some for the rest of the bowls. For shrimp, just make sure they’re peeled and tails removed, then sauté in oil over medium until they’re opaque and pink (this only takes a few minutes).

Are Tofu Peanut Noodle Bowls Served Hot or Cold?

I eat this bowl cold. When you make them fresh the noodles may still be slightly warm or room temperature, but they’ll be cool enough to not heat the rest of the ingredients. The tofu also cools very rapidly.

How Are the Leftovers?

These bowls hold up pretty good in the fridge! The tofu doesn’t stay crispy, like any fried food, but it’s still tasty in the bowl. You can refrigerate these bowls, with the dressing kept separately, for about 4 days.

Three peanut tofu noodle bowls in glass containers, dressing being poured over one
Overhead view of a peanut tofu noodle bowl with a black fork on the side

Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls

These Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls feature light and airy rice noodles, cold crunchy vegetables, and a deliciously bright peanut lime dressing.
Total Cost $10.40 recipe / $2.60 serving
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 53.25kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu $2.79
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04

Peanut Lime Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter $0.38
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice $0.50
  • 2 tsp soy sauce $0.04
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil* $0.04

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice noodles $2.69
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 cucumber $1.49
  • 1 carrot $0.08
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro $0.40
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • Start by pressing the tofu. Remove the tofu from the package, then place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a cutting board, plate, or another flat object over top, then place something heavy on top of that, like a cast iron skillet or a pot of water. Let the tofu sit with the weight on top for about 30 minutes to press the excess moisture out of the tofu.
  • While the tofu is pressing, prepare the peanut lime dressing. Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, lime juice, soy sauce and oil in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • You can also prep the vegetables while the tofu is pressing. Slice the red bell pepper, slice the cucumber into thin sticks, shred the carrot using a cheese grater, and remove the cilantro leaves from the stems (or just roughly chop them).
  • After the tofu has been pressing for about 30 minutes, pour off the excess water from the baking sheet. Transfer the pressed tofu to a cutting board, and cut the block into ½-inch cubes.
  • Place the tofu cubes in a bowl or shallow dish and sprinkle with salt and cornstarch. Gently toss the tofu cubes until they are coated in cornstarch.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu cubes and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy. Once crispy, remove them from the heat.
  • Finally, cook the rice noodles. Bring a pot of water to a full boil, then add the noodles. Boil only for about three minutes, or the recommended time on the package. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the noodles drain well.
  • To assemble the bowls, place ¼ of the noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Top with some bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, and crispy tofu. Sprinkle some chopped peanuts over top, then drizzle with the peanut lime dressing. Enjoy!

Notes

*Any light, neutral-flavored oil will work here, like canola, peanut, sesame (not toasted), avocado, grapeseed, etc. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 53.25kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.08g | Protein: 25.35g | Fat: 38g | Sodium: 437.33mg | Fiber: 6.05g
close up side view of peanut lime dressing being drizzled over a peanut tofu noodle bowl

How to Make Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls – Step by Step Photos

A block of tofu on a baking tray with a cast iron skillet on one side, cutting board on the other side

Start by pressing the tofu. This removes the excess moisture and takes about a half hour, so start with this first. Remove the tofu from its package and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Place something flat on top, like a cutting board or plate, then place something heavy on top of that. I use a cast iron skillet, but a pot of water also works. Let it press for about a half hour. You can see in the photo above all the water that came out.

Peanut lime dressing being whisked in a bowl

While the tofu is pressing, make the peanut lime dressing. Add 3 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 clove of garlic (minced), ½ tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp soy sauce, and ¼ cup neutral oil (anything light flavored) in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Prepped vegetables on a cutting board

You should also have time to prep the vegetables while the tofu presses. Slice one red bell pepper, one cucumber (depending on the size you may only need half), grate one carrot using a cheese grater, and pull about ½ bunch cilantro leaves from the stems.

Cubed tofu being sprinkled with cornstarch

After the tofu has pressed, transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into ½-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl or shallow dish, then sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Gently toss the tofu until it is coated in cornstarch.

Crispy tofu in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and cook until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Remove the tofu from the heat.

package of rice noodles

Lastly, cook the rice noodles. I used vermicelli, but if you can find a slightly wider rice noodle that may work better because they won’t tangle as much. I used one 8 oz. package of rice noodles.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a colander

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and boil for about three minutes, or the recommended time on the package. Drain the rice noodles in a colander and rise briefly with cool water. Let them drain well.

rice noodles in a bowl topped with tofu, bell pepper, cucumber, and carrots

Now it’s time to build the bowls! Place ¼ of the rice noodles in each bowl. Top with bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, and tofu.

Finished peanut tofu noodle bowl, minus dressing

Top the bowl with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.

Peanut lime dressing being drizzled over a peanut tofu noodle bowl

And finally, drizzle that delicious peanut lime dressing over top of the peanut tofu noodle bowls when you’re ready to eat!

Half-stirred peanut tofu noodle bowl with a fork in the center

The post Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.