Friday, April 6, 2012

Techniques for cooking Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of my go-to meals for a quick dinner that uses up whatever leftovers there may be in the fridge.  It's versatile and fairly easy, though there are a few key techniques to follow to get that fluffy, individual-grain restaurant-style texture instead of a coagulated mess of clumpy rice grains.

Techniques for Cooking Fried Rice:
  1. Use day-old cold rice.  The rice needs to be a bit dried out otherwise the grains will stick to each other.
  2. Cook your eggs separately from your other ingredients, otherwise you'll get a thin coating of egg over everything else.  Some people do like that though.  There's even a Chinese dish called Golden Fried Rice because each grain is ideally coated with a thin layer of egg.
  3. After you add rice to your pan or wok, turn the heat to high.  A really hot cooking surface helps meld the flavors and evaporate off any excess moisture there may be.  
  4. Don't over-stir your fried rice.  Let it sit for a while between stirring.  This creates a nice golden brown color in the rice and you'll even get some crispy grains from the rice that's in direct contact with the pan.  Those crispy parts are the best!
Ideas for fried rice ingredients:
Sauce/flavor - soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, Chinese BBQ sauce, ketchup
Protein - egg, Chinese sausage, firm tofu, leftover chicken/pork/beef, dried shrimp
Veggie - frozen mixed vegetables, corn, cabbage, any other diced vegetables

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