HOW TO MAKE PERFECT FRIED RICE
For many, fried rice is the ultimate comfort food. Fried rice can be a great dish for those looking to save time and money in the kitchen because it combines both vegetables and protein without being too expensive or requiring much cooking time.
Do you ever find yourself craving fried rice, but don’t know how to make it? Well now we can all stop worrying because this blog post will show you exactly how to fry the perfect batch of rice. All you need is a wok and some ingredients!
HOMEMADE CHINESE FRIED RICE INGREDIENTS
1) 1 bag (¾ cup) Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix
2) 2 tsp olive oil
3) 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast, optional
4) 3 tbsp minced onion and/or shallots, divided in half
5) 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled and divided into two portions (~.20 oz each)
6) 8 large eggs (you will separate the yolks from the egg whites), warmed to room-temperature before cooking, optional – see note below on how to warm up your eggs so they mix together more easily without breaking them apart too much!
7) 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press or finely minced
8) 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables with broccoli and red bell pepper (green beans, carrots, peas are great too!)
9) 1 cup frozen green peas or thawed previously frozen peas
10) Salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
11) Optional for garnish: sliced green onion tops (scallions), chopped peanuts, additional minced garlic or shallots – do not use the pre-minced stuff in a jar! It tastes awful. You can also add sesame oil if you want. Just drizzle it on top when serving and give everyone the option of adding more before eating.
12) Rice – I try not to make my fried rice too starchy, so I usually opt for brown instead of white rice, but it’s your choice! You can use a bag of uncooked brown or white rice. Just make sure you dump the entire bag into your measuring cup (when it is dry) before adding to the freezer bag and sealing.
13) Optional *if you want extra yummy fried rice*: 5 green onion tops cut into rings + 1 tsp sesame oil + ½ tsp ground ginger – I add this at the very end with my other garnishes once everything else has been added to the wok.
14) Optional side dish: Fried egg on top for an “egg fried rice” complete meal.
HOMEMADE FRIED RICE PROCEDURE
1) Begin by preparing meats/vegetables that are already cooked – shredded chicken, chopped bacon, etc.
2) Next prepare your garnishes (optional): mince onions/shallots and cut green onion greens into rings. If you want to add the sesame oil with ginger and ground ginger combination (mentioned above), do so now. Set aside in a small bowl or ramekin for later adding into the wok at the end if desired.
3) Dump rice mix from bag into a large freezer Ziplock container. Leave entire bag in there for now because we will be adding additional things to it as we go along to create our fried rice recipe!
4) In a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat, slowly melt butter/oil and sauté onion/shallots in two batches. Do not brown too much or you will get a burnt flavor. Add garlic when onions start to turn clear and then add your other meats, frozen vegetables with red peppers, and frozen peas if using all at once.
5) Fry for about 5 minutes stirring every minute or so until veggies are thawed – it’s ok if they start to disintegrate, we just don’t want them too raw! You may have to add additional oil here depending on how big the frozen block is that you purchased (you can measure this amount by pouring out some into your measuring cup).
Some people also like to use sesame oil instead of olive oil here, but I prefer the taste without it since there is no fish in this dish and sesame oil is usually made with a lot of fish.
6) Once veggies are thawed, add rice to the pan along with chicken if using (I did not). Mix together everything that has been added thus far: stir fry and rice. Try to break up all frozen pieces into smaller chunks so they can be cooked more evenly. Stir for 2-3 minutes until hot again.
7) Begin moving things around the wok or pan more now – don’t worry about breaking apart the grains of rice yet but you want some parts of them showing too! This will make your fried rice taste very authentic if you stir often enough, I promise! Do not use any utensils like wooden spoons or spatulas to stir – the metal ones will get too hot and ruin your rice mixture. Stir fry with your hands or large spoon if possible!
8) Add another 1-2 tablespoons of oil (or butter if you prefer; it’s totally up to you) along with all frozen vegetables into the pan and mix them in with everything else. Let that cook for about 2 minutes until heated through again.
9) Spritz a lid onto the pan from contact spray (pam, etc.) so that all moisture gets trapped when added next…
10) Time for the eggs! Break one egg at a time directly into the wok over high heat after spraying contents of pan with cooking spray again. Make sure there is plenty of stirring going on, so nothing burns or sticks to the bottom!
11) When egg mixture has been cooked through, it’s time to add our rice from the freezer Ziplock mix. Add all in as a single frozen block into the pan and stir-fry together with everything else for about 3 minutes. You will have trouble getting everything to mix well but that’s ok because some of the rice will break apart and create more room for things to move around freely. Again, do not use any metal utensils at this point!
12) Continue adding items you would like in your fried rice recipe (see above list). I added diced carrots here and stirred them in with everything else; cook for another 2-3 minutes until heated through again. If you want your carrots to be softer, add them into the pan before everything else!
13) Remove wok from heat and pour all contents into a large serving bowl (make sure there is plenty of room for it to cool off in – I used my huge 8-quart stock pot!). You can use a slotted spoon to remove any rice/eggs that stuck to the bottom of the pan if necessary but don’t worry about too much because you want some crispy pieces left behind!
Let freeze mixture completely so that all cooked items have time to cool down; at least an hour or so will do just fine. It may take longer depending on how warm you keep your house!
14) When finished cooling, dump frozen fried rice mixture into a large mixing bowl. I used my kitchen aid stand mixer with paddle attachment to mix up everything together, but you can also use your hands (make sure they are completely clean) if you don’t mind ruining the texture of whatever you are wearing!
15) Mix contents until all ingredients have been fully integrated; add cheese and soy sauce for last minute stirring.
16) Enjoy your heart dish of fried rice – it should taste pretty darn good by this point but if not, add more butter or salt & pepper as needed before serving! Your stomach will thank me later 🙂
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST FRIED RICE
1) Use cold steamed rice
Make and cool the rice at least one hour before frying. Cold or room temperature rice absorbs less oil when you fry it, and this is the key to making crunchy fried rice that doesn’t taste oily or greasy.
2) Use a large non-stick pan for best results
A large surface area means more room for tossing or stirring the condiments around which helps them soak into the grains better. The result will be an evenly seasoned, fluffy texture without clumps of ingredients.
Our favorite pan is an inexpensive non-stick 12″ x 3 long chef’s skillet from Ikea. It’s cheap but durable and has held up well over all these years we’ve been cooking with it.
3) Use a well-seasoned wok or non-stick skillet!!
The best fried rice is made in a well-seasoned cast iron wok or heavy gauge stainless steel pan (such as the 12″ x 3″ I talked about). This type of heavy metal conducts heats evenly and distributes it consistently across the entire bottom surface.
You can tell if your pan is not properly seasoned by adding water to the pan and shaking it over high heat…. if you see big bubbles forming around the edge then you know that this is not a good choice of pan.
Just be patient and keep seasoning it until you get even bubbling when you do this. It only takes a few minutes for each layer to get nice black coloring on the surface. It’s worth it for stir frying.
4) Use a neutral oil, such as canola or safflower.
Peanut oil is very strong and has a tendency to overpower other flavors in your dish. If you insist on using peanut oil, make sure that you use just a small amount of it when cooking the rice (not more than 1/3 cup).
5) Speaking of rice
The best to use is “long grain” white rice (such as jasmine). It comes in a plastic bag and is usually found with all other types of white/brown rice. Do not substitute with brown or red rice. Basmati can be used but you must soak it for about 30 minutes first to soften it up before cooking.
6) For best results
Wait until the very last minute to add your raw eggs so that they have less time to cook when stirred into the hot fried rice. This will keep them nice and creamy compared to going chalky hard (like scrambled eggs.) You may even want to take off the heat just as soon as they are done…this way, you’ll still have the heat of the rice cooking it through, but you won’t overcook them by stirring them around too much.
7) Season with salt and pepper after cooking…
Don’t add it during cooking or else it will burn and become bitter. You should be using sea salt here since regular table salt has anti-clumping agents that won’t let it dissolve properly and will taste too salty (especially in Asian dishes.)
8) If you like your fried rice on the soy sauce side
Try adding 1 tablespoon of light or regular soy sauce after cooking. This really perks up the flavor especially if you’re using a salty sausage like chicken chorizo that can make everything taste bland in comparison to how much salt it has (like most regular sausages.)
9) Fried rice goes great with
Fried rice goes really great with dumplings, seafood and/or chicken stir fries. It is also awesome on top of salads such as a Thai style shredded cabbage salad (pictured below). You can add fresh bean sprouts and carrots to your fried rice during the last minute of cooking for added color and crunch.
10) To re-heat fried rice
Do not put it in the microwave. Instead, stir fry for about a minute on medium heat until warm and then add any additional ingredients you want to turn it into a full meal. Alternatively, you could just mix your rice with some scrambled or over easy eggs.
11) For cleanliness
Drain the oil and wipe out the pan then re-season your pan before making fried rice again. This will prevent any bits of food from early stir fry adventures to be cooked in with your new batch of rice. However, if you’re going to be eating those same bites at another meal (like a couple hours later), then don’t bother doing this step because they won’t taste as good next time around.
FRIED RICE VARIATIONS
Fried rice is made in many ways, depending on the cuisine and region. The following are some of the popular variations of fried rice.
1. Great Northern
Most common version, with soy sauce and scrambled egg used instead of fish-sauce based master stock
Often eaten with oyster sauce and topped with salted duck eggs
Similar to a Cantonese style but uses light soy sauce as its base
4. Soy sauce
Tofu or bean sprouts are sometimes added, also dried shrimp for extra flavor
5. Black pepper
Best served hot right after it’s cooked; no need to cool first before serving if it’s to be eaten alone
6. Fried rice with lardons
Rich in fat and aroma; usually eaten during breakfast
7. Seaweed/fish paste
Sometimes mixed with scrambled eggs or bacon
8. Chinese sausage
Also referred to as Chinese pork loafs (lap cheong) Pork fried rice is by far the most common type of pork dish in Hong Kong. Most people believe that it was invented at Lau Chi Kee Porridge & Congee Restaurant, which has been serving this dish since the 1960s.
It is said that when they ran out of bread one day for making sandwiches, they cooked a batch of fried rice with leftover sausage instead. It became so popular that they started selling the fried rice on its own from then onwards, and the dish gradually developed into a full-blown specialty in Hong Kong cuisine.
Chinese sausage fried rice is almost always served with soy sauce and chilli sauce, but some restaurants also serve it with black vinegar or even tomato ketchup.
FRIED RICE IN OTHER COUNTRIES
1. In Indonesia
Fried rice is commonly known as nasi goreng and it may contain either chicken or beef, fried with spices such as shallot, garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric while mixing other ingredients such as onion, bell pepper, carrot, etc. Then add in uncooked steamed rice and stir until all combined well.
Variations are found across regions with the spices used; some prefer to use soy sauce in place of salt for its savoury taste. Nasi goreng is the common type of fried rice eaten for breakfast in Indonesia, but another version called nasi uduk (in Central Java) or nasi liwet (in East Java), which is cooked with coconut milk and lemongrass, also exist.
2. In Malaysia and Singapore
Fried rice is a popular dish usually served for breakfast or as one of many components of a Chinese-style lunch. It may be cooked with eggs, onions and even salted fish or lardons. In some restaurants, it is topped with dried shrimp or chicken floss to add flavour.
Malaysians tend to eat their fried rice with ketchup and chilli sauce alone as soy sauce has been traditionally used only at Chinese restaurants. Curry, soy sauce or laksa gravy may also be served with it.
3. In the Philippines
Fried rice is called “Arroz caldo” (Spanish: hot rice) or “Arroz a la cubana”. It is usually flavored with tomato sauce and finely diced vegetables such as red bell pepper, carrots and peas. Some versions of this dish are topped with an egg fried sunny side up or scrambled.
Another version is “arroz guisado”, which can be described as a Spanish-influenced paella made with saffron rice. The Arroz caldo is served hot while the Arroz guisado is sometimes eaten cold in summertime. In the southern part of the Philippines, this type of fried rice is traditionally eaten during breakfast.
From a Chinese take-out favorite to an everyday staple, fried rice is one of the most popular dishes in America. It’s also easy to make at home and can be customized with any ingredient you like! We hope that this guide has been helpful for those looking to try their hand at making perfect fried rice.
If you still have questions about how best to prepare your own dish, don’t hesitate to ask our team for advice on what ingredients work well together or tips from experts who fans of this dish are themselves.