This recipe for fried rice is based on the authentic Chinese restaurant-style egg fried rice we all love. It's extremely versatile and you can use almost any vegetable or protein substitutions. Takes less than 20 minutes to cook and your tastebuds will love you long time.
Plus, it's probably one of the cheapest meals you can ever cook at home.
Most of us have a few Asian condiments lurking around the pantry and most certainly the odd egg, frozen bag of peas or stray onion.
There are many different ways to cook fried rice and also different classical styles of fried rice. We will cook the version most of us know and understand.
Rice, egg, veggies, meat(optional), flavouring.
We will look at a few easy adjustment you can make later.
That way you can hopefully work with what you have instead of buying anything extra.
These are the ingredients I use but, feel free to skip over the optional ones or substitute for something else.
- Cooked rice - You need to use cooked and cooled rice. Do not cook the rice fresh and then use it warm. This is VERY IMPORTANT. You will end up with a big starchy mess if you use fresh warm rice.
- Fat for frying - Not in the picture but I use a neutral oil like canola. You can use butter if you want but it burns quicker. Alternatively, you can use coconut oil.
- Vegetables - Shredded carrot, finely sliced onion, finely sliced peppers, frozen sweet peas, tinned or frozen sweetcorn, and scallions for the finish.
- Protein(optional) - This recipe is chicken fried rice so I used that but, you can use shrimp, scallops, beef, pork, goat, minced meat, you name it.
- Aromatics(optional) - I use a bit of garlic and ginger paste. This works amazingly well and if you don't have it or don't want to make it then just use a bit of freshly minced garlic.
- Egg - I use 1 egg per person. This recipe served about three so in goes 3 medium or large eggs.
- Seasonings - These are simply umami-rich sauces like soy sauce(a must) or oyster sauce(optional but delicious) and Sugar for balance.
- Finishing touches - Toasted sesame oil for that authentic flavour, toasted sesame seeds(optional). Finally, chopped scallions for freshness.
Making fried rice is very basic but getting it just right can sometimes be a bit tricky if you haven't made it before.
Luckily for you, the only thing I've done all my life is cook so here are the most important tips I have for cooking the perfect fried rice.
- Use a non-stick pan or well-seasoned wok. You don't want to be in a sticky situation with any of these products. Not for results nor for cleaning afterwards.
- Use chilled rice. You don't want to cook a perfect batch of rice for it just to spoil your fried rice. The rice needs time to gelatinise and set. If you don't have leftover rice then simply cool the rice down for about an hour. It needs to be completely cool so don't skip this step and make sure you chill it down properly.
- Don't burn any of the ingredients. You want to stir fry everything but you don't want to use too high heat and then end up with burnt bits that make your fried rice bitter.
- Don't stew it. On the other side of burning is stewing. make sure the temperature is high enough so that the ingredients fry and not boil.
- Season as you go. This is something even professional cooks fail to do. When you fry the egg, the chicken, veggies or boil rice. You need to season those ingredients when you cook them. otherwise, the balance of the dish will be out and you will have to adjust a lot at the end.
- Make sure it's balanced. Asian dishes are all about the balance of flavours. Fried rice is a basic combination of salty and sweet. You need to balance the umami salty richness of the soy sauce with a little bit of sweetness. Either from mild-tasting honey or sugar. Getting this right is key to getting that authentic taste.
- Don't overcook the egg and always cook it separately. The egg needs to be just cooked and not a piece of rubber.
- Cut the veggies uniformly. Except for things like peas and sweetcorn. Make sure you slice your veggies evenly and thinly so they cook quickly and evenly. Also, use enough of it. otherwise, you just have a load of rice. Not much fun.
- Add the sauces when the pan is off the heat. You don't want to add the sauces when the pan is one the heat because as soon as it hits the pan it will start reducing. Rather add it when the pan is off the heat, coat the ingredients and place it back on the heat to warm through.
- Never cook the sesame oil. Sesame oil is for flavour and you have to use roasted sesame oil to get the full benefit. It's also half the flavour profile so don't skip this.
- Adjust the seasoning sensibly. Soy sauce and sugar. Add small amounts until you are happy with it. Don't start messing around with acid like lemon etc. It's not the right dish for that.
How to make it
Fried rice is a one-pan dish. You cook it all in different stages but you only need to use one pan.
- Fry the egg - Beat the egg until homogenous, season it with a pinch of salt, and cook it in a non-stick pan on medium heat with a bit of neutral tasting oil like canola until just set. Like when you cook scrambled eggs or an omelette. Once cooked, set aside on a clean bowl or plate. If you are doing a vegan version then cook your substitute egg instead.
- Fry the chicken - In the same pan fry bite-sized and seasoned pieces of chicken or whatever protein you are using until cooked through on medium-high heat. Once cooked set aside on a clean bowl or plate. If you are doing vegan fried rice, then skip to the next step.
- Fry the onion and garlic paste if using - Same as before in a bit of canola oil or something similarly neutral tasting. Cook until just soft and starting to brown a bit.
- Fry the vegetables - Add the vegetables and stir fry for 4 minutes until they soften a bit.
- Add the cooked rice - Add your rice and give the whole thing a mix-through.
- Season - Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce(if using) and give it another stir-through.
- Add the cooked egg and chicken - Mix in the cooked scrambled egg along with the cooked chicken or other protein if you are using it as well as the toasted sesame seeds.
- Finishing touches - Give it one more stir-through and taste it for seasoning and balance, adjusting as needed. When you are happy with it, sprinkle with some freshly chopped scallions and serve.
For personal advice
Follow me on Instagram
I help many people with a wide variety of questions about food and other cooking-related issues. Simply send me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
This way you will become a better and more confident cook.
Fried rice is an extremely versatile dish that can be modified to suit most tastes. Make it vegan, change the style or simply inject some heat. Here's how:
- Indian fried rice - Add some Indian curry paste when frying the vegetables or add some spices like garam masala, turmeric and cumin along with a small amount of tomato paste after the onion is cooked.
- Japanese style - Instead of using oyster sauce use sweet miso or teriyaki sauce.
- Make it spicy - Add chopped fresh chillies when frying the onion or add homemade sriracha along with the soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Thai style fried rice - You can do many things to make this a Thai fried rice recipe. The simplest is to use a Thai curry paste. Otherwise, you can add some finely chopped lime leaf, extremely finely chopped lemongrass and a dash of coconut milk right at the end. Use palm sugar instead of regular sugar and a bit of sweet soy sauce.
- Make it vegan or vegetarian - For vegan fried rice, you have to eliminate the eggs and use a substitute as well as omit the oyster sauce and any other protein. Double up on the veggies or add in some eggplant or pumpkin. For vegetarian fried rice, you can still use egg but omit the oyster sauce and protein.
- Add seafood - Shrimps, scallops, crab mussels, squid and calamari all do well. Just take care not to overcook them. Seafood fried rice loves a chilled glass of chardonnay.
- Pork fried rice - Add pork mince, strips or small dice like pork belly instead of chicken.
- Beef fried rice - Use beef mince or use tended strips of beef tenderloin.
- Add pineapple - You can find pineapple in rice dishes all over Asia and especially in Chinese, Indonesian and Thai dishes.
- Korean fried rice - Add chopped kimchi for a Korean kimchi fried rice you will forever remember.
- Change the rice for another type of rice - Change the regular white rice to brown rice or wild rice. Wild rice is technically a grass but none the less. you get the point. It's healthier and much more wholesome than regular white rice. Plus, it also keeps for longer.
- Use other grains - You can go wild but not too wild. Use quinoa of any kind, bulgur, barley or spelt for an even healthier fried rice.
Usually fried rice is a dish all by itself but if you are planing on cooking a feast for friend and family or serving up for a lot of hungry mouths then serve along side the following:
- Steamed spinach - Fresh and light
- Bok choi - Steamed or stir-fried
- Broccoli - 8 ways to cook it
- Wrapped in a soft flour tortilla - Think Asian buritto
Other recipes you might like
If you like cooking Asian food with intense flavour then you will find the following recipes useful.
- Filipino beef adobo
- Chinese beaten cucumbers
- Shrimp massaman curry
- Coconut chicken curry
- Miso baked eggplant
Frequently asked questions
Keep in the fridge sealed airtight for a maximum of 24 hours.
Do not keep for more than a day in the fridge.
Rice is a well-known source of food poisoning.
This is because the food poisoning causing microorganism that rice often carry are spores and they can shield themselves from heat treatment making it one of the most common causes of food born illness in Asia.
Once cooked you can freeze it if cooled down immediately. Store airtight in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Useful equipment for this recipe
Wooden Chopping Board
Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife
THIS PAGE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS - I MIGHT EARN A TINY % OF THE SALE THROUGH THESE LINKS AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. PROBABLY NOT EVEN ENOUGH TO BUY A BEER).
If you found this recipe helpful or have learned something, comment, subscribe and follow me on social platforms for more delicious recipes.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Tag @PANTSDOWNAPRONSON on Instagram and hashtag it #PANTSDOWNAPRONSON