"Fried rice" is a misnomer, it's actually pan-seared and you don't use much of oil. I love fried rice for late breakfast, but there's nothing worse than when it's made either dry or too soppy. Here are a few tips for making the perfect fried rice. It all starts with a hot pan and left-overs.
It's all about the rice. In our age of healthy eating, white rice still works best. Brown rice becomes very gummy and tends to stick and burn... and wild rice is not rice at all. Rice works best when it's made the day before — sugars have settled near the surface of the grain and the moisture is evenly distributed. So if you have one of those take-out containers of rice from last night, keep it tightly sealed at room temperature and use it the next day.
There aren't too many tricks to how to make fried rice. Here's a simple recipe. Rice, as it sears, will shrink down so use a large flat pan. Don't use a lot of oil, a non-stick pan is not a bad idea. All ingredients should be cooked separately then combined later. Vegetables and meat should be cut relatively to the same size for even cooking. Delicate things like scallion, chives, basil, or fresh peas are added last.
- a large frying pan or a flat bottom wok
- a flat spatula
- a bowl for preparing the rice
- ¼ cup peanut or canola oil
- 2 teaspoon of course salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 ½ cups cooked rice (packed)
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 egg
- ⅛ cup leek greens, or kale
- ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ white onion, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup diced left-over pork, or dark meat chicken
- 1 tbs ketchup
- ⅛ cup chopped scallions
Step 1: Place cooked rice in a bowl and add salt and garlic powder. Add vinegar then wet you hands. Run your hands through the rice to break up clumps. The vinegar keeps the rice from sticking.
Step 2: In a hot pan add a little oil. Scramble one egg. Put egg aside and slice it into small pieces. Add more oil to the pan if needed. Sear the left-over diced pork or chicken with ketchup then set aside. Now pan fry the all the vegetables except of the scallions, and set them aside.
Step 3: Rinse the pan. Make sure the pan is very hot before you add the remaining oil, then put the rice into the pan. With a flat spatula, press it into the pan — it should make a sizzling sound. Don't stir it up yet, let is sear for two minutes then break it up and flatten it into the pan again. Repeat until the volume of rice has reduced to about 85% of it's original size. Now, add meat and vegetables and stir it up. Be sure to taste and add more salt if it needed. Before your ready to serve, stir in the scrambled egg and chopped scallion and give it one last press into the pan. If you have cooked fresh peas, this is when you throw them in.
Keep it covered and warm until you're ready to serve, no ones likes cold soggy fried rice. Top it with a fried egg, ham, or steamed vegetables like collards or kale. I prefer fried chicken myself.