I tried to make fried rice many times over the years; the first time I was in my early 20’s. When I think back on that now, I just about shudder! It was pretty horrible and since I love Fried Rice, I’d try now and then with a bit of improvement. Back then we didn’t have the internet and only a couple of TV shows, and you’d better be up early on Saturday morning to see them on PBS! And we didn’t have the Asian Grandmother, Patricia Tanumihardja. And I didn’t have this Fried Rice Recipe!
I think you are going to love this Fried Rice Recipe; it’s absolutely simple & really outstanding. But that being said, what makes this recipe so great is that I customized my Fried Rice Recipe from Pat’s Five Secrets to Make Fabulous Fried Rice. That means that you can, too. And you are going to up your Fried Rice Recipe game if stop over and read all about Fried Rice on her site. And buy Pat’s cookbook, while you’re at it! The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens.
About My Fried Rice Recipe:
Every culture has their go-to dishes that have been developed and refined over the years, decades and maybe even centuries with frugalness in mind – and as much as I love recipes passed down from my Mother and my Grandmother, I love this Fried Rice Recipe even more – essentially passed down by the Asian Grandmother. Pat, by the way, in addition to being a blogger and a cookbook author, has a new site, Pickles & Tea, a part of the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center.
And while I’ve incorporated some of Pat’s secrets, I’m not giving them all away. And while I am using the sauces and ingredients I love, you’re gonna need to stop by Pat’s site and check out some of the options she gives. I varied my ingredients just a touch, to adapt to my tastes.
It was Pat that is responsible for the bones of my recipe, and responsible for turning my mushy old fried rice into something fabulous. My first batch, following Pat’s careful instructions, was a vast improvement, and the taste was out of this world. I shared a second batch with a neighbor, who thought I was a genius, and by the third batch, I started feeling like a pro!
A couple of money saving hints:
Making My Fried Rice Recipe:
First of all, I’ve owned a couple woks over the years and always found storage in my tiny kitchen and my stoves, for the most part, not hot enough to give me the high heat to cook with. I have better results with my cast iron skillet; it’s very well seasoned from decades of use. Don’t use cast iron though if yours isn’t’ well seasoned, or your rice will stick. A good stainless steel skillet works great. too.
The key things that I think are important (other than all Pat’s hints) is cook hot and fast, make in small batches, don’t stir, just fold the ingredients over as needed and not too often, don’t use too much sauce. (That’s the mistake I still make! And the Fried Rice in my photos is just a little too wet.) And as far as cooking, you can keep your fried rice light colored and take it off when it’s just hot if you want. That’s always good. What I think is even better is to leave the rice, when finished and let it toast just a bit. Turn it when you get a whiff of that tasty toasty flavor; don’t overdo or burn it.
You’ve got a lot of latitude as far as sauces and flavors you can add to your fried rice, and this same formula works with all kinds of veggies and different meats. You can follow the exact recipe or use it as a jumping off point; don’t be afraid to experiment with your flavors (sauces) and ingredients. I follow Pat’s lead and use a mix of one thick and flavorful sauce like oyster or hoisin and the other a thin sauce like soy or fish sauce. I like to go half and half on that.
Saving Money on a Fried Rice Recipe:
Fried Rice has actually become a “go to” recipe for me when I have leftover rice. Heck, I make extra rice now when I cook any rice, just as a shortcut to make this Fried Rice. When we get takeout, it seems we always have too much rice so this is a great way to use that up because it’s pretty sad to have leftover rice just sitting there all alone in the fridge only to be tossed later.
When meat prices aren’t what I think they should be, I start looking for alternative ways to fill up my family and still get some vegetables and protein into them. This fried rice even as is with no meat still has enough protein.
And this Fried Rice Recipe is so great when started with the classic vegetables, but is a great place to sneak in any leftover vegetables from the previous few days. You can chop up and add any leftover vegetables to heat through just before you add your rice. And you can do the same with any bits of just about any meats you might have. Think of this Fried Rice Recipe as the perfect place to hide small bits of just about any veggie or meat in your fridge that needs to be used up.
Fried Rice Recipe
3 to 4 cups (about) cooked long or medium grain rice, leftover from the day before or refrigerated for at least 2 hours.
- 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil (see note)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots chopped into small pieces
- 3 eggs, mixed together in a small bowl
- 1 cup of frozen peas, defrosted and well drained
- 1/2 of small can of bean sprouts, well drained
- 2 tablespoons oyster or hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce or fish sauce or 1/2 tablespoon each
- White pepper (see note)
- a few shakes of sesame oil (see note)
- Green onion for garnish, if desired
You’ll want to cook this in two batches, so mentally divide the ingredients but prep them all at once. Break up large clumps of rice and separate the grains. Mix eggs together Have everything ready because it cooks in minutes.
Since this cooks in two batches, I like to cook the vegetables and eggs all at once, then take half of that mixture out and set aside for the second batch. That saves a few minutes.
Heat a large 12-inch skillet over high heat for about 1 minute. Add oil. Slightly reduce heat to medium and onion, carrots and garlic and cook three to four minutes until vegetables have just begun to soften. Push aside the vegetables and pour half the eggs in. Let them set up for a minute, then scramble with your spatula. Continue to cook until lightly cooked through; not wet but not completely dry throughout.
Divide your vegetable egg mixture in half; put half on a plate for the second batch.
Into the skillet, with the remaining vegetables, add the half the rice, then half the peas and 1/2 the bean sprouts, tossing between each addition. Use your spatula to break up any clumps. Add the sauces, half of each, white pepper and fold over several times to mix. A few bits of white rice here and there are ok. Continue to cook three to four more minutes longer.
Add more oil if the rice begins to stick to the pan; reduce the heat if it starts to scorch. Sprinkle with sesame oil, carefully; it can be strong. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Divide the rice among 2 serving plates. Serve immediately, garnishing with green onion if desired.
Wipe the skillet, reheat and add the reserved vegetables, heat through for about a minute and cook the second batch of fried rice.
- A full can of bean sprouts can be overwhelming. Drain a can into a container, catching the liquid. Use half of the sprouts but put the rest, covered in the liquid in a Ziploc and freeze. No waste.
- White Pepper and Sesame Oil – these add the elusive taste so many feel can’t be recreated at home.
- Even with no meat the nutritional values show there is enough protein, but many leftover or already cooked meats can be added to fried rice.
very slightly adapted from the Asian Grandmother
Nutrition: Per Serving (estimation based on 3/4 cup of rice, four servings total): 276 Calories; 14g Fat, 10g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber.