We heart fried rice. It’s a comfort food, full of all the good things. But beyond that, it works with almost anything. Veggies… Seafood… Beef… Eggs… You name it. As long as you pair the sauces and seasonings right, fried rice shines in almost any situation.
All the ways you can make fried rice
Some people do casseroles or soups… We do fried rice. One base dish to rule them all. Start with a little medium to long grain precooked rice, and you can fill out just about any dish.
Always try to add some kind of protein-rich ingredient first. Our favorite is eggs. Scramble and fry 4-6 of these first and set them aside. We’ve actually done only rice, eggs, and a bit of soy sauce in penny-pinching times, and had a very cheap, yet very filling meal that every single one of us loves (down to the toddler!).
If you’re in Texas, you’ve GOT to try Lone Star Eggs. These guys are the creme de la creme of the egg world.
Ok, I digress. If you’re not doing eggs (which you really should), or even if you are, add some meat if it’s in the budget. We’ve done it with some pre-fried sausage, ground beef, or even lightly fried deli meat, cut or torn in small chunks. If you have extra from a previous meal, all the better. Make sure it’s cooked to your desired consistency before you add it to the rice.
It’s also very delish to throw in a veggie or two (or a mix). Corn, peas, peppers, broccoli, whatever—just combine similar flavors and see what you can come up with!
Throw a bit of oil in the pan first—a couple tablespoons should do it. (Ideally you want a wok, but if not, a large saucepan will do. Make sure it has a decent lip to it.) We’ve found peanut oil to have the most Asian taste, but olive oil is good too, or go for regular ol’ vegetable or corn oil in a pinch. Fry your eggs and any other extras first, one after the other, and set aside. Then fry the precooked rice (add a little more oil if needed first).
As soon as the rice seems to lose a bit of its stick, add the other ingredients and any sauces or spices, and stir and fry and get creative until it tastes just right. We made some really amazing rice the other day with sausage, corn, salt, garlic, paprika, mint, and a bit of curry. Sounds weird, but with the right ratios it was delish (hubby actually asked for it to be made again)! Start with less than you think and add as needed.
Again, the key here is to work with precooked ingredients when you’re composing the final dish. There shouldn’t be much actual cooking left to do, just slight browning and blending of the sauces and spices. But be careful not to add too much, or this thing can blow up Texas-big. (I may or may not have had to split it into two pans in the past due to this particular problem… Oops.) For 2-4 cups of rice, you really only need 1/2 to 1 cup of each of 3-4 ingredients max.
I can’t wait to hear about all the ah-ma-zing dishes you come up with! For inspiration on flavor cominations, we adore The Flavor Bible. Another invaluable resource has been Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. And do yourself a favor and include some Lone Star Eggs. Just cause they’re the best ever.