Easy Fried Rice
Flavorful and fresh! This Fried Rice can be a meal on its own or a great side dish!
This recipe is the result of analysis, but analysis of a different kind. Unlike some of the recipes we create as the result of building a dataset from recipes across different parts of the internet, this was done with cookbooks. We’ve been slowly developing this recipe haphazardly over the course of 3 years, since we started making this fried rice at home. The recipe is a culmination of a few different sources, incorporating new ingredients and ideas from each of them.
The base is universal. White rice, either day old or slightly cooled, is fried in oil to crisp and dehydrate it and then removed. From there the vegetables are cooked, then combined with rice. Spices and sauces are added, the egg is added, then the frozen vegetables and then it’s done! Fairly simple instructions. What we’ve picked up over time are different ingredients sauces and spices. The goal being best flavor for the fried rice without overloading it in oil or soy sauce.
For the vegetables that cooked in oil, onions and garlic are common. Many recipes, like ours, additionally include the green onions in this step whereas some save it for garnish or don’t have it at all. We also add just a touch of ginger. Too much will overpower the rice, so be careful if using particularly powerful ginger. The ginger, when done at the right amount, can help round out the flavor.
Next is the sauces and spices. Though not a “sauce” per se, butter is vey common in fried rice. We have nothing against butter, but we have found that by the time rice and vegetables are coated in oil, the rice already has adequate fat. Feel free to add butter if you like that signature creamy taste.
The soy sauce and oyster sauce provide the bulk of the sodium. The oyster sauce is one of those ingredients we saw and finally tried and now use all the time. It helps enhance the flavor of the rice as a sodium source without relying solely on soy sauce, and thus making it taste like soy sauce. Finally, a pinch, a small 1/8 tsp of Chinese 5 spice gives it a distinct flavor. It makes the rice almost feel sweet, but without it actually being sweet or adding a lot of sugar. As with the ginger, though, too much can easily ruin the dish, be careful.
The final step is to cook the egg and incorporate the frozen veggies. This step, we’ve found, is another perfect time to crisp up the rice. Leave the rice to get crispy on high heat during these steps. For the egg, the Wok is great because the rice can crisp on the sides while the egg cooks in the middle. But even without one, after the egg and frozen veggies are cooked, let the rice sit there. Unlike the initial crisping step, the rice now has lots of flavor on it and the browning of it will only enhance the flavor. After the rice is “done”, we almost always let it keep going with only light tossing for 3-5 minutes. The crispier the rice the tastier and more distinct it is.
What other fried rice tips and tricks have you picked up and incorporated?