I love Fried Rice because Fried Rice loves miscellaneous veggies.
Cleaning out your refrigerator? Perfect. Leftover rice? Perfect.
I used to make my Fried Rice with San-J Teriyaki Sauce, San-J Szechuan Sauce, and Tamari. Then came the day when gluten was no longer my friend, and I had to concoct an alternative tasty sludge because at the time the San-J products contained soy sauce…which contained wheat.
Recently San-J has switched over to using a wheat-free tamari in all of their products! I still make my fried rice sauce, but I also have these sauces on hand for the busy weeks.
Notes about Fried Rice and Stir Fry in the home kitchen:
You WON’T be able to replicate what they do in the restaurants, but you WILL be able to make something that tastes good!
Commercial stir-fry wok burners produce at least 90,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units). A commercial restaurant stove usually burns at 20,000 to 26,000 BTU’s. A home stove averages around 10,000 BTU’s. Big difference.
The idea is to bring the pan to an intense heat, then the oil is added and heated, then vegetables are dropped into the oil which instantly sears them—much of the oil is burned up in the process and not absorbed by the vegetables. Luke warm oil will result in soggy oily veggies.
What to do? There is no way we can achieve super duper heat with home stoves! Though a carbon steel wok is traditional in places where intense heat is possible, cast iron skillets or a heavy sauté pan with rounded sides can help hold the heat even when the ingredients are added.
Ooo, more bowls. The one on the lower left was made by Zoe Klosterboer, and the one on the lower right came from the hands of Warren MacKenzie (a.k.a. Saint Warren). The rice pot is one of my beloved All Clads.
I like to chop the cooked eggs so they are in bite-sized pieces.
More Fried Rice tips:
- Chop everything into small pieces.
- Choose a heavy cast iron skillet or a heavy flat-bottomed wok so it can stay hot even when the vegetables are added.
- Cook the eggs or meat first, chop, then add to the Fried Rice at the end.
- Use a high smoke point oil (oil that can be heated to a high temperature before starting to degenerate—refined oils such as peanut, coconut, sunflower, safflower, soy, canola, sesame).
- Prep all ingredients before you heat the pan.
- Add the vegetables to the hot oil, then let them sit for at least 30-60 seconds before stirring to let them crisp.
- If you are making a large quantity, do it in separate batches—too much volume will reduce the temperature of the pan.
Notes about cooking rice:
- I used to heat the water and rice together and never achieved rice nirvana. Then Scott showed me his method, listed below, and life has been good ever since!
- Never stir. Steam inside the pot is trapped between the grains and since it is the steam that cooks the rice, not the direct heat from the stove, you do not want to disturb the amazing process. Please learn from my mistakes…never ever EVER stir the rice while it cooks! Bad things happen.
- I use a long grain white rice for this dish—a Basmati or Jasmine. The water-to-rice-ratio for these varieties is 1.5 parts Water to 1 part Rice.
Don’t let all of this advice deter or scare you! Fried Rice is one of my stand-by meals—and no matter what I do to it, it usually turns out fine. It is a great meal, a fast meal, and your kids may even like it :-)
Heat in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting cover:
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
When it begins to simmer, add:
1 cup Basmati or Jasmine Rice
When it begins to simmer again, reduce to very low heat immediately.
Cook on low heat 20 minutes, covered.
Turn off heat, let sit covered for 10-20 minutes before “fluffing” it with a fork.
Fried Rice Sauce
1 cup Tamari
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Ginger Juice, or 2 tsp fresh Ginger, grated
1 tsp Umeboshi Plum Paste
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp Tahini
To Taste— spicy Chili of choice—Sambal Oelek Chili Paste, Szechuan peppers, etc.
This keeps well in the refrigerator.
Whisk, then fry in a little oil:
2 eggs (or other protein—tofu, beef strips, chicken, pork)
When fully cooked, remove from pan and chop.
Chop into small pieces:
1 1/2 cup veggies (carrots, onions, peas, beans, broccoli, zucchini…what’s in your fridge?)
Place the heavy skillet on the stove on high heat.
Add oil and let it heat.
Toss in the vegetables.
Cook for a few minutes.
2 cups cooked Rice, Basmati or Jasmine
Eggs (or Tofu or Meat), cooked and chopped
3 – 5 Tbsp Fried Rice Sauce
At the end, add:
1/4 cup Green Onion, chopped
Taste and adjust seasonings!
This bowl is from Nate and Hallie at Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery.