Chinese Fried Rice

Chinese Fried Rice

Aug 16

One of the best dinners we’ve had at home recently is Chinese Fried Rice. I call it Chinese mostly for sentimental reasons, to acknowledge the influence of that cuisine, but what we made was far from traditional. I didn’t keep very good track of amounts as I cooked, so they are all approximate, but I can offer a general recipe for a good and filling one-pot vegetarian dish. To chop everything, I used a Pampered Chef Food Chopper – much easier than knife-work.

  • 2 C rice dry
  • 2 T sesame oil, divided in half
  • 1 C carrots, chopped
  • 1 C green pepper, chopped
  • 1 C celery, chopped
  • 1/2 C green onion (whole), chopped
  • 1 cayenne pepper, deseeded and minced (or 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 C mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 C ginger, minced
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 C zucchini, chopped
  • 2 T hoisin sauce (we like Lee Kum Kee)
  • 2 eggs

Set the rice to cook while you prepare the vegetables. We use a rice cooker — because it’s easy, convenient, and accurate — but the end result is the same as cooking it any other way. For cooking the vegetables, it’s extremely preferable to use a wok, because the bottom of the pan (which makes direct contact with the heat) is so small. We have a Calphalon Stir Fry Pan, which is non-stick and has a flat base, but you can get a very cheap wok at any Asian grocery store. A large deep-sided pan would also work in a pinch. Start cooking the vegetables after the rice is finished, as it’s better if it dries out a bit before frying (oil and water don’t mix, you know).

Put your pan on medium-high heat; once it’s hot (if you splash a little water in, it should immediately sizzle), add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, followed closely by the carrots and a generous sprinkle of salt.

Let these cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the green peppers, celery, green onion, cayenne pepper (fresh or ground) and soy sauce. (The water content helps the veggies steam instead of just frying.)

After about five minutes, throw in the mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. Let the mixture cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding the zucchini and the hoisin sauce. By this time, the vegetables should be intensely aromatic, and nicely browned.

This is the point at which a wok becomes really useful. Since the vegetables are pretty evenly cooked, you want to push them up the sides of the wok to form a ring, with the center of the pan (which receives the most heat) open. Add the rest of the sesame oil, then start spooning the rice into the center. The entire two cups may not fit, depending on the pan you’re using, so just add what you can. Pack it very tightly into a mound, then move the vegetables on top. The goal is to press the bottom of the rice very tightly against the high heat at the bottom of the pan. Then, you wait.

You should leave the rice like this (no stirring!) for probably five minutes before mixing all the vegetables and rice together. Once they are integrated, form another tightly packed mound and let sit for another five minutes. This is basically allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the vegetables and sauce at the same time as it forming tasty carmelized clumps of rice.

After five minutes, push everything up the sides to form another ring. The center of this will probably be smaller (since there’s more in the pan), but do your best. Then, crack the eggs right in the middle, breaking the yolks and scrambling them a bit in the process. Let the whites harden up a bit (they should be more cooked than liquid), then mix them into the rice by giving everything a good stir. Make sure you distribute the eggs throughout the mixture.

Voila! It’s ready to serve. And make SURE you serve it hot.

2 comments

  1. Diane/Mom A

    Will you make it for me, PLEASE:)

  2. Sara

    You’re making me hungry! And I even have a wok – though it’s a cheap one from Ikea. Now I just need a rice cooker.

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