I’ve been in the mood for fried rice lately. Maybe it’s the cold, wet, and seattle-ish Spring weather we have or the Chinese New Year that just passed. Nevertheless, it’s one of my ethnic comfort foods that fills me right up. It’s no wonder that fried rice is one of the most popular dishes in the world. Simple pearls of vegetable, rice, egg, and meat meld together with salty soy sauce in what can be described as a Chinese casserole.
The beauty of fried rice is that it is highly adaptable. I rarely make it the same way twice. The recipe is more dependent on what’s in my fridge than what a recipe calls for. It might as well be called the clean out your refrigerator meal. Take morsels of frozen vegetables, shredded egg, day old rice and you are well on your way.
The first time I tried to cook fried rice it was a complete disaster. “Simple” is the key ingredient in this comfort food meal. Let me share a few keys to the perfect fried rice that I wish I knew the first time I tried my hand at this dish.
- RICE: Day old rice is key, and 2-3 day old rice is even better. Older rice with less moisture content will result in light fluffy dish. If you try to make it with freshly cooked rice you will likely have a heap of fried blob on your hands.
- EGG: There are a few schools of thought on how to cook the egg. I prefer to scramble the egg and mix it in with the rice – the egg is scrambled separately and added to the rice in the final stages of cooking. Others prefer to fry it up, slice it, and place it on top like a garnish. This is a choose your own adventure here, either is fine.
- INGREDIENTS: One of the secrets of fried rice is that the ingredients are cooked separately – helping them maintain their distinct flavors. Once cooked, combine them in the final stages of cooking.
- 2.5 cups cooked cold long-grain brown rice (1-3 days old)
- 1 cup mixed peas and carrots
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 lightly beaten eggs
- 1 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 sliced green onion
- Boil a medium pot of salted water
- Stir in the rice and boil for 10 minutes (until done)
- Drain the rice and set aside to cool
- Microwave the carrots and peas for about 5 minutes (until tender); Drain and set aside
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over high heat
- Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds
- Add the cooked peas and carrots
- Remove from heat and move to a mixture to a bowl
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan over high heat and add the rice to the pan; Stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes
- Make a well in center of rice and pour in the beaten eggs
- Stir the eggs until they are scrambled; Stir-fry the eggs into the rice until thoroughly blended
- Add soy sauce and chicken broth and stir fry for 3 minutes
- Add the vegetable mixture and scallions