Kid-friendly Broccoli Fried "Rice" Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Broccoli Fried "Rice"

Recipe: Broccoli Fried "Rice"

Broccoli Fried "Rice"

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by s_derevianko/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Broccoli Fried "Rice"

Do you know that fried rice is one of the most popular rice dishes in the world? While it’s often associated with Chinese cuisine, fried rice is also commonly eaten in Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Not only is fried rice super tasty - it’s also a smart way to make use of all kinds of leftovers!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • season :

    to add flavor to food with spices, herbs, and salt.

  • stir-fry :

    to cook meat, fish, or vegetables rapidly over high heat while stirring briskly—used in Asian cooking.

Equipment Checklist



Broccoli Fried "Rice"

  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onion
  • 1 bell pepper (red, green, yellow or orange are all fine)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 T soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, ground or fresh
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

Broccoli Fried "Rice"

  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Fried "Rice."


Broccoli Fried "Rice"

chop + stir fry

Chop 1 head of broccoli. The curly, green top of the broccoli will be the “rice” in this dish. Grate the top off the broccoli over a large bowl, then chop the rest of the broccoli as finely as possible. Also, chop 1 carrot, 2 green onions, and 1 bell pepper into a rough chop. Measure 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and pour into a large sauté pan or a wok, then turn the heat to medium-high.

important note

Stir-frying was traditionally done over an open fire with excessive heat touching the bottom of the pan, so it is crucial to stir while you fry to prevent the food from burning on the bottom of the pan. Also, never leave the skillet uncovered and unattended. It's important for the safety of your students that you monitor the skillet thoroughly whenever frying.

add + stir

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan or wok. Sizzle and stir for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat if the oil is sizzling out of the pan.

measure + simmer

Reduce the heat to low, then measure 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger and add to a small bowl. Whisk until the cornstarch is fully incorporated. Then, pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan. Stir for 5 more minutes. The sauce will thicken and coat the stir fried vegetables. Serve with the Japanese Tofu Crispy Katsu (see recipe) over top and some Lucky Melon Soda (see recipe) to wash it down.

Surprise Ingredient: Broccoli!

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Photo by Amber Ocean Tindall/

Hi! I'm Broccoli!

"Hello! Did you know that cabbage and cauliflower are my cousins? I resemble a small tree with a green trunk and branches topped with blueish-green flower buds—my crown!" 

History & Etymology

  • Broccoli first came from the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor and spread to Italy in the 16th century. 
  • Broccoli was once known as Italian asparagus.
  • Broccoli is a member of the Brassica oleracea family, an important group of vegetables that can help reduce cancer risk.
  • China and India produce the most broccoli in the world. Over 90 percent of the broccoli crop in the United States is from California, where it is grown year-round.  
  • The word "broccoli" is Italian, the plural form of "broccolo," from "brocco," (a shoot, arm, or branch), from the Latin "broccus," (projecting).  


  • The main broccoli crown or head and the group of flower buds on the side shoots are harvested when the flower buds are closed and compact with no yellowing buds or flowers. Heads are removed with about 4 to 6 inches of stem attached. When the main head is cut, new shoots with smaller heads form, so a single plant will keep producing for many weeks. 
  • It is essential to cool down broccoli as soon as possible after harvest; otherwise, small yellow flower heads will develop rapidly, which are bitter. Often you may see boxes of broccoli arriving at the greengrocers covered in ice to prevent further maturing.

How to Pick, Buy & Eat

  • To pick the best broccoli, select fresh, bright-green heads with compact clusters of tightly closed flowerets. Stalks and stem leaves should be tender yet firm. Avoid any with yellowing flowerets and thick, woody stems.
  • Keep broccoli dry and store it in a vented plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Broccoli can be boiled, steamed, grilled, and roasted. It is added to green salads, either raw or cooked, and included in soups, stir-fries, fried rice, and pasta dishes. It is also a tasty and healthy vegetable to pair with every type of meat and fish. 


  • Don't underestimate the power of broccoli! It became famous when researchers found it contained a compound called sulforaphane, which can function as an anticancer agent.
  • Just one serving has two days' supply of vitamin C (don't overcook, or you'll lose some). It is also a good source of dietary fiber and provides potassium, vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene.

History of Stir-Fry!

Photo by Joshua Resnick/
  • Stir-frying began in China, possibly as early as 400-500 CE. It became more common during the late Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Chinese cooks would place a "wok" (pronounced like "walk"), a deep frying pan with a wide bottom, over a flame in the hole of a simple stove to cook meat, fish, and vegetables. 
  • Chinese immigrants eventually brought their stir-frying cooking method to America in the mid-1800s. Then, in the 1970s, with the trend toward healthy eating and using fresh ingredients in recipes, along with their busier lifestyles, people wanted a quick, easy way to cook healthy food, and stir-frying became more popular. As a result, you could find a wok in more kitchens than ever before!
  • To stir-fry, you continually stir until the dish is finished. The wok was created to go over an open flame. Woks have slanted edges to disperse the heat while cooking. When one vegetable is finished cooking, push it up the edges (which are cooler so those veggies do not burn), then place the next veggie in the center. Using this method, you can cook all the food for your stir-fry at the same time.

Let's Learn About Japan!

Photo by yamasan0708/
  • Japan is an East Asian island country with more than 6,800 islands! However, there are five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu (called "Hondo" or "mainland"), Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku. 
  • The country is governed by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with an emperor, a prime minister, and a legislature. 
  • Japanese is the official language, with English becoming more widespread in business and education. 
  • Japan lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," contributing to its island geography. There are more than 111 active volcanoes, and Japan has the most earthquakes every year. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain and volcano in Japan at 12,389.2 feet. 
  • Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. Japan's total area is 145,937 square miles, and its population is over 125.5 million. 
  • The Japanese word for Japan is "Nihon" or "Nippon." The Japanese or "kanji" characters used for its name mean "origin of the sun." This is the source of Japan's nickname, "Land of the Rising Sun." The red circle in the center of the Japanese flag represents the rising sun, or "circle of the sun." 
  • "Kanji" is a Japanese writing system that uses characters derived from Chinese writing. Each character represents a word or words. 
  • Ancient warriors of Japan were known as Samurai and were highly skilled swordsmen and fighters. 
  • Japan's national flower is the cherry blossom. The symbolism of the cherry blossom is abundant in Japan. The cherry blossom tree is also known as the Japanese cherry or "Sakura" (which means "cherry blossoms").
  • Haiku poetry originated in Japan. Haiku consists of just three lines, with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the 3rd line 5 syllables. 
  • Shigeichi Negishi, a Japanese engineer, created the first karaoke-like machine in 1967, using 8-track tapes and booklets for the lyrics. However, he was not successful in distributing his "Sparko Box" machines. 
  • Then, in the early 1970s, a Japanese musician, Daisuke Inoue, marketed tape machines, taped music, and amplifiers to bars to accompany regular people who wanted to get up on stage and sing, and his karaoke business model took off. 
  • Japan produces the most robotics globally. The ASIMO is a human-like robot created by Japanese engineers of Honda Motor Company in 2000. The acronym stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.
  • Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and like sumo, other martial arts originated in Japan, including karate, judo, kendo, jujutsu, and aikido. Western sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer are also popular.
  • Since the 8th century, Coming of Age Day has been a holiday to celebrate a young person reaching the age of maturity—20 years old in Japan. Their special day serves to encourage them as they realize their adulthood. 
  • The Japanese tea ceremony is considered a traditional art in Japan, and some practice it as a hobby to share with family and friends. Tea was brought to Japan from China in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk. It is said that the ritual of drinking green tea began as a way for the monks to keep awake during meditation.
  • Japan has about four million vending machines, the highest per capita worldwide. The machines sell everything from hotdogs to underwear and soup to umbrellas!
  • In addition to sushi, other Japanese dishes include "soba" (thin buckwheat noodles), "teriyaki" (broiled or grilled seafood or meat with a soy sauce glaze), "tempura" (battered and deep-fried seafood, meat, and veggies), and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken). 
  • Many kids and adults enjoy bento boxes, which are lunch boxes filled with sushi and other snacks. Bento boxes are an experience with texture, shapes, and flavors!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Japan?

  • Most school children in Japan wear uniforms, and their school breaks are shorter than in other countries. 
  • Kids have to learn 1,026 basic kanji characters by the time they finish sixth grade.
  • Parents and schools teach kids to respect their elders, teachers, and each other.
  • Primary school kids eat lunch together in their classrooms. A few students are assigned to get the lunches, serve them to their classmates, and return the dirty dishes to the school kitchen. Every student prepares themselves for lunch by cleaning their desks and washing their hands. In some schools they even put on a lunch uniform—a white garment and hat—to protect their clothes.
  • Some of the sports and martial arts kids participate in are baseball, soccer, swimming, judo, kendo, and karate.
  • School lunch may consist of rice or noodles, soup, fish or meat, fruit, salad, a cup of tea, and always a bottle or carton of milk.  
  • Two popular sweet treats kids in Japan like are "mochi," a molded cake made of rice, sugar, cornstarch, and water, sometimes with a sweet red bean filling, and "Pocky," a brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.

That's Berry Funny

What did the broccoli say to the ranch dressing?

I’m going to take a dip.

Lettuce Joke Around

What is the difference between broccoli and boogers?

Not every kid will eat broccoli.

That's Berry Funny

How did the broccoli feel about being served for dinner?

It was steamed.

Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of music does broccoli like to listen to?

Broc and Roll.

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