Better-Than-Takeout Fried Rice
I don't consider myself very picky, but I'm particular about Chinese food. I grew up around one of the greatest Chinese restaurants and we currently live by another great hidden gem. No matter what I order, I always get a side of fried rice. The girls love fried rice, hubby loves it, and it is a staple.
So when I found myself craving it but not wanting to leave the house (because Maryland winters are windy and cold), I knew I needed to figure out my recipe. I read a bunch of recipes, read a lot of tips and trick to making Chinese food at home, and decided to go for it. But I didn't really hone and perfect this recipe until the COVID-19 Quarantine.
The first time I made it, I used a frozen blend of vegetables because I was pressed for time. It worked great. This time, I had nothing but time, so I chopped all the veggies myself just used traditional fried rice veggies - onions, carrots and peas. The frozen blend had corn and snow peas, which are not what you usually find in fried rice.
*disclaimer: scroll to the bottom for the recipe*
There are a few tricks to making this a successful batch of fried rice
1. Cook the rice the day before. You want the rice to be cold so it gets browned and fried in the pan. If the rice is still warm, it'll get clumpy and you'll have doughy balls of rice.
2. Use sushi rice and cook according to the package. Sushi rice is a very short grain rice and is much more authentic than using a longer grain rice.
3. Be sure to use the toasted sesame oil as a finishing oil. It will burn It is not meant to be cooked with the way you would use olive oil. Once the fried rice is done and out of the pan, stir in the toasted sesame oil.
4. Use butter. A lot of recipes use oils for cooking fried rice, but there's a reason Hibachi places use a big chunk of butter when frying rice on a flat top. It's so much better.
5. Always use freshly-minced garlic. Don't use the pre-minced garlic in a jar or garlic powder - it won't have the same effect. The aromatics from fresh garlic are key!
Now let's chat about the method of cooking fried rice. It seems daunting, but the steps are pretty simple. Always cook your rice a day before. That part is key and will make-or-break your dish. I literally cannot emphasize that enough.
This recipe makes a LOT of fried rice, but if you're like my family, you'll want a lot. Another perk of nailing this classic recipe is that you can put whatever protein you'd like. We're big fans of shrimp and steak around here, but chicken and pork work great, too. The protein can be added during the last few minutes of cooking so it gets seasoned well with the rice.
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup peas
1 small sweet yellow onion
2 tsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 cups cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 Tbsp butter
Add another 2 Tbsp of butter to the pan and melt. Sauté carrots, onions, peas, and minced garlic until soft and the onions are translucent. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of butter and increase the heat to high. Quickly add the pre-cooked rice, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir until combined. Continue stirring to evenly fry the rice. Add the eggs and stir. (If you're adding protein, stir in cooked protein now)
Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil until combined. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or extra soy sauce if necessary.
Serve and enjoy! Like most Chinese take-out, it does heat up great and tastes amazing the next day.