Before you throw out last night’s leftover rice, you may want to consider saving it instead. A well-known culinary fact, slightly dried out rice makes the best fried rice. What day-old bread is to a good Panzanella salad, day-old rice is dried out just enough to absorb both the moisture and flavors from the other ingredients.
The key to good fried rice is to understand how flavors are layered as they build upon each other also known as umami. Stir-frying in small batches also can help achieve the right balance of texture and flavor.
Normally served as a side dish, fried rice can also be served as a main dish anytime of the day. My favorite way to eat it is with a fried egg on top with a small teaspoon of chili garlic sauce.
Whether you make this dish as part of a larger meal or as the main dish, feel free to add your own favorite vegetables and protein to really make this dish your own. Enjoy!
Look through the refrigerator and use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I prefer a mixture of vegetables of different colors and textures. The only must have vegetables I would recommend is onions and garlic, with a little bit of ginger as a close third.
If you have a seasoned wok, stir-frying will be a cinch. But if you don’t have a wok, using a large skillet will also work well. I like to add the vegetables to the pan first, only seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper until the hardest vegetables are firm yet soft enough to chew.
After the rice is added, I like to slowly add the sauces a little bit at a time-making sure after each addition the liquid is absorbed by the dry ingredients.
A great way to serve this as a main dish is to top a bowl of fried rice off with a runny fried egg and a small teaspoon of chili garlic sauce. It is what I call Asian comfort food at its best.
Recipe: Easy Fried Rice
Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish: A classic restaurant dish, this fried rice is easy to make and taste so good! Using ingredients you have in your kitchen, this comfort food recipe makes eating-in more fun than going to eat out.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
Salt and pepper
½ cup small broccoli crowns cut into tiny bite sized pieces
½ cup small cubed sweet potatoes
½ cup diced chicken or pork
2 cups cooked day-old rice (white or brown)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
*Optional: fried egg and garlic chili sauce
Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium high heat. Add the oil.
Stir in the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
Season with salt and pepper
Add the remaining vegetables and cook until the vegetables are soft enough to chew – if needed, add one tablespoon of water at a time into the pan until the vegetables feel cooked through.
Add the leftover rice.
Add the sesame oil and soy sauce
Stir the rice with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes.
Add the scallions.
Season with additional pepper if necessary.
*Optional: Top of the fried rice with a fried runny egg and a small teaspoon of garlic chili sauce.