Special fried rice
What makes this 'special' is just how easy it is...
Chinese takeout fried rice is so bomb but it really costs just about how much it’d take to make 20 portions at home plus the added grease. As with all my recipes, I’m always about saving the coin with the same great flavour and a wee bit healthier.
There are a couple secrets to making the best fried rice at home:
- USE OLD RICE
I’m sure you’ve probably made fried rice with freshly steamed rice but this a big no no. Freshly steamed is amazing but not for this dish. Day old (even up to two days) left in the fridge is the best rice for this dish because the grains have lost some of it’s moisture and that way you produce special fried rice that can absorb seasonings better without totally soaking up the added liquid (soy sauce, oyster sauce etc), resulting in soggy rice.
The fried rice you get at takeout or restaurants also has the slightly chewy but seperare grains and believe me, you’ll only get this from using old rice. If I’m craving fried rice, I usually wait to make it the next day so I can steam some rice the day before!
However if you must, cook your rice using a little less water for slightly chewier grains then pour the rice out on a baking tray or sheet, dry it out in a low oven if your steamed rice is soggy (happens to the best of us, check out my post on how to make the perfect basmati rice). This is a little time consuming so just trust me, and do it the night before!
- TYPE OF RICE
For this dish I prefer jasmine, basmati or short grain rice, however it’s totally up to you. If you do want yours to taste just like the takeout version then I’d opt out of using long grain rice as that’s rarely ever used. Feel free to use whatever you like!
Now I really try to keep this dish to a minimum when it comes down to additions to the rice. The holy trinity to seasoning special fried rice for me are:
- Spring onions
Spring onions aren’t the same as your usual white or red onion, it’s more of an aromatic and really adds freshness to the dish. I like to cook the white tougher parts in the beginning then add the green tops right at the end for added crunch and freshness.
- Sesame oil
Sesame oil can be really overpowering if you’re heavy handed but the toasted nuttiness is what brings this dish alive and gets your house smelling just like a takeout. I like to mix it 2:1 with vegetable oil when cooking as it doesn’t have the highest smoking point and can easily burn. Loads of supermarkets sell the ‘blended’ version of sesame oil which is exactly this so I like to buy the pure kind and blend it myself.
- Soy sauce
Dark or light? It’s up to you! Just remember dark is more of a dye and light is more for seasoning to be used in place of salt. If you go for dark, don’t be heavy handed as it can easily overpower any dish, even stir fries. I like to opt for both, a touch of light to taste and dark for that brown colour you get in stores.
Now you’re ready to flourish in fried rice goodness! As long as you have these three (and old rice), I’m sure you’ll be dishing out delicious fried rice in no time. Make this as special as you like by adding left over veg, chilli flakes, garlic or even meats like bbq pork, chicken or beef, shrimps work too! I always have frozen peas around so I tend to use those. Use whatever is in your fridge to make it special!
Now enough talk, Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups day old steamed rice
- 3 spring onions (sliced seperatly into the white and green parts)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1.5 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
(Optional but recommended)
- 1⁄4 cup frozen peas
- 2 teasooon sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- In a frying pan or wok, add the oils on medium high heat.
- Once you begin to smell the sesame oil, add in the white part of the spring onions and stir fry until they soften.
- (If you’re using left over meat or tough veg, add them in and cook/warm through before adding the rice.
- Next add in the rice and use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the grains. Turn down the heat if the rice begins to pop.
- Stir the rice well until the grains are seperated and slightly heated through.
- Next add in the soy sauces, sugar and remaining seasonings. Increase the heat and continue to stir until all the seasonings are distributed evenly.
- Add in the peas and stir well on high heat. Popping is a good sound, don’t allow the rice to burn but this tells you your rice is a good texture.
- Once all the vegetables are cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust to your tastes including salt and pepper.
- Now add in the remaining spring onions (save a little for garnish) and stir.
- Turn off the heat and enjoy on it’s own or as a side with whatever you like, of course I had to add sesame seeds :)
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