Fried rice, to me, is the Chinese American Macaroni and Cheese. When I think of the quick and lazy food of my childhood, it’s always fried rice. Egg fried rice, fried rice with the little Chinese sausages, fried rice with sliced up hot dogs (really!). The sad thing is, I was never very good at making it, and restaurant fried rice usually is not the same.
Lately though, through no conscious effort on my part, my fried rice has gotten better. Here’s what I’ve been doing.
First you need 2 or 3 cups of cooked rice, preferably a day old. You should not waste fresh rice on this. It’s a dish for leftovers.
4 to 6oz ground pork, or bacon, or sausage, or hot dogs, or whatever.
One small onion. Optionally, one green onion.
Dice the onion and brown it in a pan in olive oil. Add salt and pepper, cook for a minute or two. Add the meat, mixing it up with the onions. Stir this around, add more salt and pepper. Now put in a teaspoon or two of soy sauce. Mix this around until the pork is mostly done.
Heat the rice in the microwave (1 or 2 min on high), then dump it into the pan and break it up so there are no big lumps. Stir it around in the meat. Add a bit more soy sauce to season the rice. Then mix and cook on medium heat for 5 or 10 minutes, until the rice gets starchy. Finish with another splash of soy sauce, dark soy if you want to get fancy, and some white pepper. White pepper has a different sort of kick than black pepper and is particularly nice in fried rice.
Add an egg if you feel like it. Or hot sauce, or whatever. Another classic addition is frozen peas and/or carrots. Just toss them in and mix them up so they heat up with the rice.
I think this has been working better for me lately for two main reasons.
Better rice. The fancy rice cooker and fancy Japanese short grain rice make for a great base. You get a nice starchy texture that I was always missing.
Oil and pork fat and rice mix well.
Note. You need a pretty big pan to do this right. A 12 inch saute pan, or the medium sized wok that I use. Non-stick helps.
See also: the original version of this page.