Got leftover rice, an egg, and a few veggies in your fridge? Congratulations, you have all the ingredients to make this basic Chinese fried rice recipe! This is the perfect meal to make if you want to spend no more than 20 minutes in the kitchen, and are craving simple Chinese food. It’s also a great way to save some money!
Best Rice for Fried Rice
Is there a best rice to make fried rice?
That’s a tricky question because it depends on the type of fried rice you are making:
- For a classic, basic, Chinese fried rice like today’s recipe, medium to long grain would be my two top choices.
- For Thai fried rice such as pineapple fried rice, fragrant rice, also called jasmine rice, is what’s used. The grains are long and thin, thinner than regular long grain rice.
- For Japanese fried rice (called yakimeshi) and Korean kimchi fried rice, short grain rice is the one I prefer to use, although you can also use medium grain. Short grain rice is shorter and stickier than medium and long grain.
- Brown rice? Yes, you can use brown rice even if it’s not a popular choice among Asian chefs. I’ve made fried rice several times with brown rice or by mixing brown and white rice, for a healthier meal.
Wok vs Skillet – Does it Matter?
Yes and no.
The biggest advantages in using a wok are that the heat is distributed more evenly and that you can toss the food around without having to worry about it landing on your stove.
If you love to flip food up in the air like my husband does, then you will love using a wok. If you have a weak wrist like I do, you won’t appreciate it so much.
And when it comes to cooking food fast and evenly, that advantage unfortunately gets lost at home. That’s because a regular stove top doesn’t let out the same amount of heat as a commercial stove top. Those big flames that wrap around the wok in Chinese restaurants? That’s how much power you need to cook vegetables quickly and evenly – something you just can’t achieve at home.
I find that the best compromise to a wok is a deep skillet. I love mine! We have two woks at home and my husband is the only one who uses them. I prefer a deep skillet because it’s less heavy and uses less oil. My food also cooks pretty evenly and the sides are tall enough to air flip my ingredients if I feel like it.
So which one is better? They are equally good if you ask me.
Fried Rice Ingredients
- Oil: Choose a neutral oil that has a high heating point such as grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
- Onion: You can choose any type of onion, even use shallots if you want. Onions are best in a fried rice when they are finely chopped and you can’t really taste them individually.
- Garlic: Just like onions, garlic tastes best when it’s finely chopped into fried rice because they impart more flavor on the overall dish.
- Carrot: I’m using a medium size carrot but you can super size here and go bigger if you love carrots. If you don’t like carrots, substitute them with something else like bell peppers or broccoli.
- Mushrooms: I’m a huge mushroom lover but I’m aware that some people cannot stand the taste or smell of it. In that case, omit them entirely and instead, pick one of the ingredient variations below.
- Green peas: Use frozen green peas or fresh ones if you happen to have some in your fridge. Make sure that the peas are thawed before adding them to the wok.
- Leftover rice: It’s very important to use leftover rice that’s been refrigerated at least overnight because you want the rice to be hard. It’s a textural thing that cannot be achieved with freshly made rice, which is tender and chewy.
- Eggs: One egg per cup of rice is the ratio I like to use. However, feel free to add an extra one if you want a more filling meal.
- Soy sauce: There is nothing fancy about stir fry sauce! Soy sauce is the basic flavor of the dish but it’s important not to add too much so as not to make the rice soggy. You can always add more later!
- Sesame oil: The sesame oil adds a nutty taste to the dish. I add it in the end so the heat of the pan doesn’t change its natural flavor. Since sesame oil isn’t a high-heat cooking oil, the taste can turn a little rancid if added too early during the cooking process.
- Salt and pepper: When you are done stir frying, do a taste test and season accordingly with salt and pepper (preferably ground white pepper).
- Scallions: The scallions are added in the end to preserve their nice crunch.
- Chicken or pork fried rice: Chop your chicken or pork into small bite size pieces (use between a quarter to half a pound). Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet over high heat and, when the oil is hot, add the chicken or pork. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the meat is cooked, and transfer to a plate. Follow step 1 of the recipe and once the garlic and onions are cooked, return the meat to the wok. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated.
- Shrimp fried rice: Use about half a pound of large shrimp, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, they must be thawed before using). Peel and devein the shrimp and either keep them whole or roughly chop them. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet over high heat and, when the oil is hot, add the shrimp. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked, and transfer to a plate. Follow step 1 of the recipe and once the garlic and onions are cooked, return the shrimp to the wok. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated.
- Tofu fried rice: Only use firm tofu to make fried rice since silken and medium are too soft and break up easily when tossed around. Drain the tofu, pat dry with a paper towel, and slice it into bite size cubes. Follow the first three steps of the recipe and add the tofu once the rice has been broken up. Follow the rest of the recipe as indicated.
- Korean fried rice: I’m guessing you mean kimchi fried rice, right? I have a great recipe for kimchi fried rice here that’s also easy to follow.
- Japanese fried rice: Japanese fried rice is called yakimeshi. It’s actually very similar to Chinese fried but with a few variations. I have a simple and delicious recipe for yakimeshi right here!
How to Make Fried Rice
- Place a wok or skillet on the stove over high heat, and add your oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add your vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, peas, or your own combination) and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and break it up using a spatula. Once the rice is broken up and has warmed up, toss it with the vegetables.
- Push the rice to one side of the wok and add the whisked eggs to the other side. Let the eggs cook for a few seconds and push them around with the spatula. Leave them again for a few seconds and push them around until they are cooked enough to scramble.
- Mix the eggs with the fried rice and add the soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Toss the fried rice so the grains are coated evenly with the sauce and turn the heat off. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.
- Top with fresh scallions and enjoy!
How to Reheat Fried Rice
There are three easy ways to reheat fried rice:
- Microwave: Place the fried rice container in the microwave and open the lid slightly (or open the breathing vent if your lid has one). Microwave for 2 minutes and take the rice out of the microwave. Toss is around, put the lid back on, but not entirely closed, and microwave for a further minute or 2. Your fried rice is ready to eat when it’s piping hot.
- In a pan: You can also use a wok for this. Pour a little oil in the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the cold rice and break up the big clumps, while stirring constantly. Your fried rice is ready to eat when the grains are soft and the temperature is piping hot.
- Steaming: If you like a lot of moisture in your fried rice, place your leftovers in a pot and add 1 tablespoon of oil, and 2 tablespoons of water for each cup of rice. Turn the heat on to medium-low and put the lid on. Wait a couple of minutes and check on your rice – give it a stir and put the lid back on. Steam until the rice is tender and piping hot.
How Long is Fried Rice Good For?
Read more: How To Fry Hog Jowl | Family Cuisine
If you leave it in the fridge, stored in an airtight storage container, it will keep for 5 to 7 day.
To make it last longer, freeze your fried rice in an airtight storage container or heavy duty freezer bag. It will last about 4-6 months.
Now that you know all there is to know about making a basic Chinese fried rice, here are some delicious sides you can serve it with. This way you can have a better-than-takeout Chinese dinner at home!
- Easy vegetable egg rolls
- Wonton soup
- Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce
- Dry fried green beans
- Stir fried napa cabbage
- Chicken egg foo young
Did you like this Basic Fried Rice Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
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