Fried rice is the perfect dish for using up leftovers, that’s basically how it came into being; traditionally in china fried rice was made with the leftover ingredients from other meals, now it’s pretty much one of the most popular street food out there with nearly endless meat and vegetable variations. You can use really anything you have in your fridge, peas, corn, celery, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, shrimp, chicken, or beef. I happened to have leftover cabbage from fish tacos, and a few leftover slices of ham, add a carrot and a few green onions and you are set! Even the rice need to be a day old for it to work, if you use freshly cooked rice it will just steam instead of stir fry. That’s what gives the rice the perfect chewy texture.
I’m adding my method for cooking the rice because it adds a lot of flavor to the finished fried rice. For everyone cup of dried rice you will need 1 tablespoon butter and 1 large clove of garlic (chopped). In a pot add rice, butter and garlic, cook on medium/high heat for about 3-5 min. add a good dash of salt and pepper. (My culinary instructor taught me this “ancient Chinese trick” for cooking rice perfectly without measuring the rice or the water. Using your finger, just touching the top of the rice fill with water to the first knuckle joint of your index finger. This works every time for me!) add water and fallow cook times on package of rice.
Fried rice is best cooked in a wok, to get that crisp chewy texture you want high heat but you need to move it constantly, a wok accomplishes this perfectly. If you don’t have a wok, (like me) use a cast iron pan or something with a heavy bottom that retains heat really well.
- 4 cups cooked rice (see above)
- 3 green onions (sliced)
- 1 cup chopped cabbage
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 1 cup chopped ham
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (don’t skip this it makes it!)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a hot wok or cast iron pan, stir fry cabbage, carrots with 1/3 of the cooking oil reserving the rest for later, add ham and cook for about a min. Add in another 1/3 of the cooking oil and add rice, stirring constantly cook the rice for about 2-3 min. add soy sauce and oyster sauce and salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper stir to combine and cook another 2 min. make a well in the center of the rice and pour in the remaining 1/3 cooking oil, crack in your two eggs and scramble and cook the eggs being sure not to incorporate the rice till the eggs are almost cooked. Remove from heat and drizzle on the sesame oil, (sesame oil should only be used as a finishing oil, you destroy the delicate flavor with high heat) sprinkle on sliced green onions stir one last time to incorporate the sesame oil and onions and enjoy! Sunnyside up egg optional! Serves 3-4 (in my house barely two teenage brothers.)
What variations would you come up with?