I remember the first time I cooked fried rice. It turned out so mushy that you could’ve mistaken it for porridge! It kept happening every time I cooked fried rice, and I started feeling disheartened that I would never master this dish.
So, I decided to find an answer for how to fix mushy fried rice.
You can fix mushy rice by drying the excess moisture or soaking it with a paper towel. Or, cook the rice on high flame. If nothing works, try repurposing the fried rice into something else, like rice soup or casserole.
Let’s discuss these fixes in detail and how to avoid soggy fried rice in the future!
The Reasons Behind Mushy Fried Rice
Before I talk about the fixes, you should know the reasons why fried rice turns mushy or sticky. This way, you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Using Fresh Rice
Here’s a hilarious fact about fried rice.
Unlike other dishes, you cannot make the perfect fried rice using freshly cooked rice.
The reason is that freshly cooked rice grains contain a lot of moisture.
When you fry the cooked rice with the other ingredients, the moisture released makes the grains soggy.
Using Overcooked or Soggy Rice
I believe cooking rice is an art in itself. To make a successful dish, you must get many things right, such as proper preparation, water-to-rice ratio, and cooking time.
When you add too much water to your rice, the rice absorbs all that moisture and turns soggy.
The general rule of thumb is to add 1 ½ to two cups of water for every cup of rice. If you’ve added more water than this, then your rice may get sticky.
The rice grains may also turn soft if you cook them too long. In my experience, the cooking time is usually 15 to 20 minutes.
Wrong Type of Rice
Although fried rice is a part of Asian cuisine, you shouldn’t use short-grain rice for this meal.
Short-grain rice has a high level of Amylopectin, a starch molecule responsible for stickiness. As a result, this type of rice gets gelatinous after cooking.
Instead, try using medium-grain and long-grain varieties like basmati for fried rice. These types of rice tend to stick less and absorb more flavor.
Excessive Wet Ingredients
If you’re somebody like me who loves to add several ingredients to fried rice, you might make this mistake.
Certain ingredients like vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, bok choy) and meat release moisture while cooking. The rice grains may absorb this extra moisture and turn mushy.
Moreover, you should avoid cracking more than two to three eggs in fried rice because eggs also contribute to the moisture and stickiness of your fried rice!
Note: You might’ve made this mistake if your fried rice was fluffy at first but turned soggy suddenly.
Improper Cooking Technique and Utensils
Even though cooking fried rice is straightforward, you should still follow a proper cooking technique.
For instance, the moisture doesn’t evaporate quickly enough if you use a tiny pan to fry the rice with the vegetables. It just gets absorbed by the surrounding rice grains.
I recommend using a wok as it offers a large surface area to stir-fry rice Chinese-restaurant style!
5 Ways To Fix Mushy Fried Rice?
If you messed up your fried rice by turning it soggy, don’t worry.
Below, I’ve listed the easiest ways to fix soggy fried rice and rescue your meal!
Let the Rice Cool for a While
Sometimes, fried rice may seem mushy after you’ve stir-fried it as there’s a lot of moisture released from the rice, vegetables, meat, and eggs.
After cooking the fried rice, let it sit at room temperature for a while. Also, don’t put a lid on it when it’s resting to speed up the drying process.
The additional moisture may evaporate by itself, and you won’t have to do anything more!
Remove Excess Moisture With Paper Towel
The whole reason behind mushy fried rice is unneeded moisture. All you have to do in this fix is remove that extra moisture using a paper towel.
Let’s understand the steps in detail.
- First, transfer the rice from the wok or pan to a large plate.
- Try to separate the grains gently.
- Use a paper towel and lightly press on the rice grains.
- Continue the third step until the rice seems dry.
- Then, wait for four to five minutes.
When you press the paper towel, always do it lightly. If you apply more pressure, you may break the rice grains.
Strain the Rice Using a Sift
This method only works for fried rice that has too much water. It’s not suitable if your rice is mushy and sticky too.
- First, take a fine-mesh strainer and transfer the fried rice to it.
- Let the rice rest in the strainer for two to three minutes. The excess water will drain by itself in this step.
- Then, take a fork and fluff the rice to separate the grains.
Once done, you can also re-cook your fried rice for the best results!
Use an Oven or Microwave
Using an oven or microwave to fix mushy rice isn’t the best idea.
It may cause the fried rice grains to dry and become harder to chew. Yet, you may keep this method as a last resort.
- First, you need to spread the rice on a baking tray or a microwave dish.
- Set the oven to 350°F or the microwave to the lowest heat setting.
- Let the rice heat for about two to three minutes in the microwave or five to six minutes in the oven.
If you notice the fried rice has lost its mushiness, take it out immediately.
Cook on High Heat
Just keep cooking the fried rice on a high flame if you don’t want to try the above methods.
You can also transfer it from a pan to a wok for a larger surface area. Then, stir-fry the rice a second time for a few minutes to remove the mushiness.
Can You Repurpose Mushy Fried Rice?
My mantra for any ruined dish is repurposing it so it doesn’t go completely to waste.
Similarly, if your fried rice remains soggy, you can repurpose it to cook something else. Who knows, it might even become a Masterchef-level dish!
You can turn your soggy fried rice into porridge, rice soup, fried rice balls, rice pancakes, a casserole, or even rice-filled spring rolls! These recipes work fine with the moist consistency of mushy fried rice.
How to Avoid Mushy Fried Rice?
Fixing mushy fried rice is an additional task none of us wants to bear!
So, here are a few tips on avoiding fried rice from getting mushy in the first place.
- Always opt for medium-grain or long-grain rice varieties.
- Refrigerate the cooked rice for at least one night before using it for fried rice.
- Use large pans like a wok or a big saute pan for stir-frying.
- Reduce the number of wet ingredients.
- Limit the amount of oil to one to two tablespoons.
- Use high flame to ensure maximum evaporation of moisture.
- Add eggs and sauces (like soy sauce or oyster sauce) at the end.
A sizzling hot plate of fried rice is all you need to make your day a little better.
However, even if things go wrong and you end up with mushy fried rice, follow the methods to fix your mistake mentioned in the article.
I’m sure they’ll help you fix the rice and, hopefully, your day too!