Let’s talk about fried rice, shall we?
First, how could I have this blog for almost a year (hooray!) and not talk about fried rice? It’s an Asian fail and I apologize. Second, I love fried rice. Seriously, this is a classic dish that is inherently versatile because everyone has their own preferences of what goes into fried rice. I keep it pretty basic: garlic, eggs, peas, carrots and diced ham. But you could throw in snap peas, broccoli, baby corn, sliced pork… Really, whatever works for you.
Making fried rice is simple and can come together in less than 20 minutes, if you have all of the ingredients ready. This is the best time to use canned or frozen vegetables. Trust me – no one is going to notice whether your carrots are fresh or frozen.
And while you can vary the ingredients, please heed the basics of the proper way to make fried rice:
1. Use day-old white rice. Grab those extra containers of white rice from the Chinese takeout you had the other night. You want the rice to be as dry as possible in order to soak up the soy sauce added to the dish. Don’t have any leftover rice on hand? Spread out freshly made rice on a cookie sheet and cool in the fridge for an hour or two (or more). It’s an extra step but without dry grains, your fried rice is going to be mushy.
2. Cook the eggs slightly first, then add the rice in while the yolk is still runny. This is a technique you’ll see in Chinese restaurants and teppanyaki – cooking the rice in the egg yolks adds some flavor and moisture to the rice – because your rice is dry and ready to soak up liquid, remember?
3. Use a wide, shallow pan or a wok. You want your fried rice to be fried, not steamed. Provide as much surface area as you can to fry your ingredients.
Let’s get to cooking!
- 2-3 cups of day-old white rice (if you don't have leftover rice, spread freshly made rice on a cookie sheet and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour).
- 2-4 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs
- 3-4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups of vegetables of choice, frozen or canned
- 1 cup of protein of choice, cooked and diced - ham, pork, chicken, tofu, etc. (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- If your protein and vegetables are not already cooked, cook according to directions.
- Heat oil in a wide, shallow pan or wok on medium high heat.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add eggs to oil and cook slightly for 10-15 seconds.
- Add rice to pan and mix thoroughly with eggs and garlic.
- Add vegetables and protein and continue to stir fry.
- Create a well in the pan and pour soy sauce in the well. Add soy sauce 1 tbsp at a time. Mix soy sauce thoroughly. Taste and create a new well to add more soy sauce, if needed.
- Cook for 5-8 minutes or until rice is fried.
- Season with salt and pepper as desire and serve immediately.