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Fried Rice

fried rice

Rourke was out of town for a few days, so I was on my own for dinner. Left to my own devices, I generally do one of two things:

  • Experiment. Sometimes this has led to tasty things, and sometimes this has led to awful things that immediately needed to be thrown out.
  • Scavenge. It is amazing what you will put together when you are too lazy to cook or go out for food. Cheese and crackers + can of tuna + a few carrots = a somewhat balanced meal?

The thing that I end up cooking often, though, is fried rice. Easy, quick, and a good way to throw together odds and ends that you might have in the fridge. For me, you need just a few basic ingredients for fried rice: leftover rice, eggs, scallions, white pepper, salt, and sugar. That’s it.

You might notice that there isn’t any soy sauce in that list. Cantonese fried rice doesn’t need soy sauce. You could maybe drizzle a small amount on if you really want to. But the stuff that you buy in a lot of the open kitchen, chinese take out spots where the fried rice is brown from soy sauce? Not it.

A few tips when making fried rice:

  • The most important thing is that you use chilled, leftover rice. Freshly cooked rice has too much moisture and will result in a mushy, gluey mess.
  • If you are adding meat or vegetables, you need to cook everything separately. This is done so that each individual ingredient retains its own flavor rather than tasting like everything else in the pan. You would cook in order of most delicate flavor to heaviest flavor. For example, eggs, then vegetables, then meat.

In the above photo, I had someĀ lap cheong, which is chinese sausage, in the fridge so I added that to my fried rice. Here in the Bay Area, Wycen Foods makes excellent lap cheong.

Fried Rice
- serves 1 –

canola oil
1 cup of leftover rice
2 large eggs
2 scallions, sliced into rounds
kosher salt
granulated white sugar
ground white pepper
pre-cooked lap cheong, diced (optional)

1. Heat a medium non-stick skillet with approx 1 Tbs of canola oil over medium high heat.

2. When hot, crack the eggs directly in the pan. When the whites start to set, use your spatula to scramble the eggs. When the eggs are about 85% cooked, remove to a plate and season with a pinch or so of salt. The eggs end up looking more marbled than scrambled. If you prefer, you could scramble the eggs in a separate bowl before cooking in the skillet.

3. Add the scallions to the pan (add a touch of oil if pan is too dry) and stir fry until fragrant, usually about 30 seconds. Remove scallions to the plate that is holding the eggs.

4. Add the rice and lap cheong to the pan.* Add a few pinches of salt, sugar, and some ground white pepper and mix into the rice. Spread the rice across the bottom of the skillet and cover. There is no need to add water to the pan. As the rice heats up, there will be just enough steam to cook it perfectly. Cook until the rice and the lap cheong are heated through, usually about a minute or two.

5. Remove the lid and add the eggs and scallions to the rice and mix. Cover again until the the eggs and scallions are also heated through, usually about 30 seconds or so. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

* Since the lap cheong was already cooked, I just needed to heat it up, so it made sense to add it at the same time as the rice. If you wanted to add shrimp, chicken, or any other meat that wasn’t already cooked, however, you would cook the meat after the scallions had been removed from the pan. Once the meat was cooked, you would remove the meat from the pan before adding the rice, and then add the meat back to the rice at the same time that you added the eggs and scallions.

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