Do you salivate at the mere sight of Chinese fried rice? Do you need help with making restaurant-style fried rice? Well, I have you covered with this Chinese cooking demystified fried rice.
Chinese cooking is a beautiful combination of flavors cooked quickly at high heat. Sadly, I was never good with speed, making this cooking style difficult.
After reading countless fried rice recipes and trying them many times, I finally found my way around it.
Authentic Chinese fried rice requires boiled and refrigerated jasmine rice. You need to start by frying the vegetables and scrambling the egg. Once done, add the rice and wet ingredients like soy sauce and sesame oil. Fry everything at high heat and sprinkle some spring onions on top for perfect Chinese fried rice.
What Type of Rice to Use for Chinese Fried Rice?
I have observed that many people don’t care about the type of rice they use while making fried rice. Yet, it can pretty much make or break your dish!
Authentic Chinese fried rice requires fluffy and dry rice grains. Therefore, if you go for sticky varieties like sushi rice or arborio rice, the final result may be mushy.
For fried rice, I recommend long-grain rice varieties with a low starch content, like jasmine or basmati rice. They retain a crisp texture even after boiling, which makes them perfect for frying. I also love the extra nutty aroma that they add to the dish.
Generally, jasmine rice is my top choice for an authentic Chinese cuisine experience. Most Chinese people and restaurants use it for fried rice over basmati rice.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Chinese Fried Rice
Fried rice may look intimidating and complicated, with too many ingredients. However, it doesn’t have to be!
Follow the instructions below to prepare fried rice that can easily compete with your favorite Chinese takeout.
Ingredients for Chinese Fried Rice:
- 1 cup of cooked and refrigerated jasmine rice
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 sliced garlic cloves
- 1 diced carrot
- 1 diced scallion
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 chopped French beans
- 2 chopped chilies
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Freshly chopped spring onions for garnish
Step 1: Boil and Refrigerate the Rice
Fried rice doesn’t involve directly frying the grains! The first step is always to boil the rice by following the instructions below:
1. Soak one cup of jasmine or basmati rice in water for at least 30 minutes. This step removes any excess starch.
2. Transfer the rice to a sieve and rinse it under cold water two or three times.
3. Transfer the rinsed grains to a cooking pot.
4. Add one and a half cups of water for each cup of jasmine rice or two cups for one cup of basmati rice. Sprinkle salt to taste.
5. Then, close the lid and cook the rice at medium-high heat.
6. Once the water starts boiling, stir the rice and turn the heat to low.
7. Let the rice cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the water in the pot is absorbed.
8. Once the rice grains feel tender, turn off the heat and let them sit for 10 minutes in the pot with the lid closed.
9. Transfer the rice to a bowl and refrigerate it overnight.
It is essential to use refrigerated, day-old rice for fried rice as it contains less moisture than fresh rice. This method gives a crispier texture and prevents your fried rice from turning soggy!
If you cannot refrigerate the rice overnight, dry it in an oven or freezer for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the Wok
You can use a wok or a non-stick pan for stir-frying rice. I prefer a wok as it imparts its smoky flavor, known as Wok hei, to the dish.
Remember to always preheat your wok on high heat for five minutes.
After five minutes, splash some water on the wok, and if it steams immediately, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Step 3. Stir-Fry the Vegetables
In this step, you need to sauté and fry the vegetables.
1. Start by adding three to four sliced garlic cloves to the wok.
2. Sauté the garlic until it turns golden.
3. Then, add chopped carrots, scallions, French beans, and chilies.
4. Fry the vegetables till they are slightly tender.
Remember that the most essential rule of Chinese cooking is to cook high and fast; turn the flame to medium-high and stir everything quickly.
Step 4. Scramble the Egg (Optional)
You can skip this step if you don’t want a protein like egg, chicken, or tofu in your fried rice. However, I always prefer adding it to improve the overall flavor.
Here is what you need to do:
1. Push aside the vegetables and add one tablespoon of oil.
2. Next, add the beaten egg and scramble it.
3. Cut the scrambled egg into pieces.
4. Mix the egg pieces with the vegetables well!
I only suggest cooking the egg for three to four minutes. Otherwise, it may overcook and taste rubbery.
Step 5: Add Rice and Sauces
We are almost done with cooking our Chinese fried rice!
1. Take out the refrigerated rice and let it come to room temperature.
2. Then, add it to the wok and fry it until it is mixed well with the vegetables and egg.
3. Next, add the sauces of your choice. I like to use one tablespoon of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
4. Sauté quickly until everything is well combined.
I let the rice come to room temperature before adding it to the wok because I read an excellent tip from Chef Martin Foo, a talented chef.
You should never add refrigerated rice to the wok. Instead, microwave it until it is slightly warm or bring it to room temperature, and then add it. This method ensures that the rice absorbs all the flavors.
Step 6: Garnish With Spring Onion and Serve Hot!
After you have added all the ingredients to the wok, stir-fry for another five minutes.
Once the rice has a lovely smoky aroma, turn off the flame and garnish with some spring onion!
How to Add More Flavor to Your Chinese Fried Rice?
Sometimes, basic fried rice just doesn’t cut it! In this situation, you can do a few extra things to add more exotic flavors.
Below are my favorite tips to make simple fried rice tastier:
- Use umami-flavored sauces like oyster sauce and fish sauce. These impart a rich flavor to the rice. You can add them along with soy sauce.
- Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of MSG to one cup of rice while stir-frying. It adds a unique savory taste.
- Use extra protein like boneless chicken pieces, shrimp, or tofu.
- Add gochujang or bouillon cubes while sautéing the vegetables.
- Prepare a separate Hibachi-style mustard sauce to serve on the side.
This fried rice recipe seems pretty long. However, once you have gathered the ingredients, it won’t take more than 15 minutes to prepare. You just need to stir-fry everything in the correct order and let the high flame do its job!