Take-out-worthy fried rice gets healthful twist

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Starchy, crunchy and flavorful, fried rice is a deeply satisfying dish no matter what you add to it. And you can add just about any vegetable or protein you care to name, fresh or left over.

I love fried rice not only for its taste and versatility, but also because it's so easy to make at the last minute. I almost always have most of the core ingredients stocked in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. If a carton of leftover take-out restaurant rice suddenly appears on a shelf next to the milk, I'm good to go.

This being spring, I made sure that the stars of the recipe were seasonal ingredients, starting with peas. Fresh peas are heavenly, of course, but they start turning to starch as soon as they're harvested, so be sure to cook them right away. I also incorporated two other spring vegetables — sugar snap peas and radishes.

But I like the kick of a raw radish, so I simply shredded them, then tossed them with a little seasoned rice vinegar. Sprinkled on top of the finished dish, these raw radishes are similar to a pickle.

Protein-wise, this recipe calls for shrimp, but you can use any protein you choose, or toss in mushrooms instead and call it a vegetarian's delight.

As is typical in Chinese cuisine, this dish requires little cooking time. But you must have all the ingredients measured and chopped before you toss them in the pan.

In the end, I can pretty much guarantee that if you try this recipe even once, you'll be inspired to make it again and again, changing it slightly every time to make room for whichever delicious seasonal ingredients happen to be at hand or whichever leftovers are crying out to be used up.