What is it about fried rice that makes it so popular? Is it the simple ingredients? The deeply savoury flavour that hooks your taste buds? Or is it the trademark chewy yet tender texture that sets it apart from other rice dishes? Whatever it is, there’s no denying that fried rice is a takeout classic.
But it doesn’t have to stop at takeout. A good fried rice recipe is a valuable thing to have on hand. It is speedy and simple to prepare, making it an easy go-to when you have a busy schedule. Fried rice is also a reliable way to use up those extra leftovers. While traditional fried rice calls for carrots, peas, and corn, it is easy to swap these for any other veggies you might have. It is also an easy recipe to double or even triple as you need. So go ahead and make enough fried rice for you and the family to have for days to come.
Before you get started, let’s take a closer look at what makes fried rice so deliciously iconic.
Rice: It might seem obvious that rice can make or break a batch of fried rice, but it’s important to note that this recipe calls specifically for leftover rice. Ideally, it is at least a day old and has been chilling in the fridge since last night’s dinner. Using chilled, leftover rice is important because this means it has had time to dry out. Less moisture means the rice is better able to fry. Fresh rice tends to release moisture as it fries, creating a steaming effect, which will leave you with a mushy mess. So next time you’re preparing rice for dinner, make it a double batch so you’ll have enough for some fried rice the next day.
If you’re making fried rice on a whim and don’t have any leftovers on hand, there’s an easy way to get the next best thing. Cook up a batch of rice and then spread it out on a lined baking sheet, as thin as you can. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This should dry out and chill your rice enough for frying.
Veggies: This part of the recipe is pretty flexible. Go ahead and throw in any veggies you think will taste good. Don’t be afraid to get creative. The important thing to remember, regardless of which veggies you choose, is to size them as uniformly as possible to ensure even cooking. If you have veggies that can’t easily be cut up in matching sizes, make sure to add them according to their cooking time. Ingredients that need to cook longer should be added first.
Seasoning: Again, this part of the recipe can be modified to your taste. Purists can keep it simple with a little salt and pepper, and the adventurous can bump it up with some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, or chilli sauce.
Preparation: Fried rice is a one-stop shop when it comes to dishes. All you need is one non-stick skillet large enough to accommodate your ingredients. Begin by heating your oil and aromatics over medium-high heat. Add your veggies according to their cooking time, and stir-fry until they are tender but still crisp. Next, add your meat and stir-fry until cooked. Finally, add your seasoning liquids (like soy sauce or broth) and your rice. Simmer to reduce the liquid, and then stir-fry until the rice is chewy and golden. Top with any garnishes you like and serve!
Pretty straightforward, right? Now that you’ve mastered the basics, here’s our foolproof and healthy take Chicken Fried Rice – you’re going to love it!