If you order Chinese takeout with any regularity, you know the drill: You need to do something with all that leftover rice languishing in your fridge. It dries out and hardens a little, which would be a problem except that when you make fried rice — and you absolutely should make fried rice — that’s just what you want.

I’ve made it off the cuff plenty of times, throwing in whatever I have and following the basic rules of stir-frying: cutting the ingredients small, having everything prepped in advance and neatly arranged next to the stove, and starting with the longer-cooking items first and the quicker-cooking ones later. And it’s always pretty good. But this recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Atlanta’s Steven Satterfield, applies a more careful approach — and achieves something much better.

The brilliant thing about Satterfield’s recipe is that he has you cook the dish in stages, one set of ingredients at a time, then scoop them out as they’re ready. You repeat with another set and combine them all at the end. (The rice goes last.) Every piece turns out perfectly cooked. Bonus: If your skillet (or wok) isn’t quite big enough for the whole shebang, you can still avoid major spillovers. (You can even do the final combining in a separate bowl if you’d like.)

And then there’s the flavor. The dish gets plenty from the aromatic combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, scallion and chile pepper, and Satterfield throws in another punch: peppery mustard greens. How very Southern of him.


1 small head broccoli (12 ounces), cut into small florets and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 rib celery, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced into half-moons (1/2 cup)

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (1 cup)

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root

1 jalapeño pepper or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1 bunch mustard greens (about 8 ounces), trimmed, washed and chopped

5 large eggs (optional)

5 cups cooked rice, chilled

2 tablespoons coconut aminos

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed

1 tablespoon Sriracha

3 or 4 tablespoons peanut oil


Step 1

In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, celery and carrot. In a small bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, ginger and jalapeño or serrano. Place the mustard greens in a separate bowl.

Step 2

Crack the eggs, if using, into a medium bowl and lightly whisk. Place the cold rice into a medium bowl and, using your hands, break it up. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut aminos, lime juice, soy sauce and Sriracha.

Step 3

Set all of these bowls near your stove, along with a large, shallow dish.

Step 4

In a large wide skillet or wok over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the broccoli mixture to the pan and quickly toss to coat, cooking until the broccoli turns bright green, 30 seconds. Add about one-third of the scallion mixture and toss well. Add one-third of the soy sauce mixture and toss well. Transfer everything from the pan to the shallow dish and spread out in a single layer to cool. (Do not pile the vegetables in a mound or they will overcook.)

Step 5

Return the skillet or wok to high heat and add another 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mustard greens to the hot pan, then add one-third of the scallion mixture and one-third of the soy sauce mixture. Toss well to coat, and cook until the mustard greens wilt, 30 seconds. Spread the greens out over the broccoli mixture.

Step 6

If using the eggs, return the skillet or wok to high heat and add another 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggs to the pan and quickly swirl them against the hot surface, using the back of a spoon or spatula to make as thin a layer as possible. Cook, stirring, until the eggs are softly set, 30 seconds, and immediately transfer to the vegetable mixture.

Step 7

Return the skillet or wok to high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the rice to the pan, and immediately stir in the remaining scallion and soy sauce mixtures, tossing and stirring constantly to prevent sticking. When the rice is hot (less than 1 minute), return the cooked ingredients to the pan and stir well to combine. Taste, and add more soy sauce, if needed. Serve right away.

Adapted from “Root to Leaf” by Steven Satterfield (Harper Wave, 2015).

Tested by Joe Yonan; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

NOTE: The nutritional analysis is with the eggs.

More vegetarian recipes from Voraciously:

This quick Korean stir-fry serves up a bounty of fresh-cut vegetables

If you hate a dry sandwich, this vegetable-packed, delectably messy ciabatta is for you

This crunchy salad is a ‘mostly plants’ recipe approved by Michael Pollan


Calories: 360; Total Fat: 14 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 180 mg; Sodium: 320 mg; Carbohydrates: 48 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 12 g.