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Easy Fried Rice

Never throw away leftover rice again! Use this recipe for easy fried rice to re-purpose into a new tasty dish!

Easy Fried Rice - and how to make it extra tasty!

Christina here from Food My sister made fun of me once because she saw my pantry. And in that pantry she saw these huge 5 gallon buckets. And in those 5 gallon buckets she saw that three of them were full of rice.

She was like, what the heck Christina? Why in the world do you have so much rice?

Joke was on her. I was like, dude, I eat rice like practically every day of my life. And by the way, these are not all the same. One is Calrose (short grained), one is Jasmine (more aromatic), and one is Thai sticky rice. Duh!! (The only rice I refuse to eat is Instant.)

Oh, you are not all like me and have freakishly large amounts of rice hanging around at all times? Sorry, I’m not on the gluten-free band wagon. I hope that we can still be friends.

Well, I really do love rice, as does everyone else in the fam, but we still have the occasion where I make it, and have a boatload left over after the meal. I don’t have a fancy schmancy rice cooker where you can just leave it on warm for like 3 days and it stays great, so I gotta go good ole’ refrigerator method and then re-purpose it a few days later. I have this awesome Parmesan green onion fry that I do once in awhile (made it on a whim once trying to get rid of leftovers and it’s kind of amazing – almost like a risotto!), and then there’s always this classic fried rice.

Easy Fried Rice - and how to make it extra tasty!

Ok my preface before I even start talking about fried rice. BUY A RICE COOKER. Seriously, I don’t even have a nice one. And the reason I don’t is because the $20 rice cooker that I bought 10 years ago is still doing the trick! I just throw some rice in, rinse 3-4 times in hot water (this is a trick I learned from a Taiwanese roommate I had years ago – it helps to get the extra gluten out so that it doesn’t stick to the pan and results in a better texture) and then do 1 and 1/2 times the amount of water. (I’m kind of a weirdo – I never measure the water either- once again a trick from my old roommate is that the water should go to your first knuckle on your pointer finger when you touch the top of the rice.) So there you go, quick lesson in cooking rice in general, BAM!

Ok back to the leftovers.

First I want to start of with the fact that anyone, and I repeat, ANYONE can make fried rice. It’s super easy, flexible, and forgiving. So please, if you do not think you can cook, YOU CAN COOK THIS.

Second, it’s great for leftovers. You can use SO MANY different options for this. Broccoli, peas, peppers, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, zucchini, for starters. For meat (if you want) chinese sausage, any sausage really, ham, chicken……

How about trying out some fun new Asian flavors? Yes. Perfect for this, too. Sauces? Go teriyaki, soy, chili sauce or paste. Want to try your hand with some new cooking oils? Go chili oil, sesame, or just stick with good ole canola. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in an egg or two. Just for good measure. I LOVE USING SESAME OIL. And if I’m spicy, a little chili oil does always make it into the mix.

Americanize it a little by throwing some cheese on top right at the end. Parmesan, cheddar, just depending on what’s in there. It may seem a little weird, but it’s pretty freakin’ good!

Seriously, experiment with it, fry it and love it! Have it for a side, or have it for your main course. Super easy, you can load it full of veggies for good health, and you can make it any way in about 10 minutes.

Easy Fried Rice - and how to make it extra tasty!A couple of tips, just to make it extra great!

  • If you are adding any juicy veggies (like tomatoes), do not add until the very end. Otherwise, it will get everything soggy and you won’t be able to fry the rice up really well.
  • Same with a scrambled egg or two. Push all the rice aside, and crack and blend right at the end. Let it cook a little and then stir the bits into the whole mix. Yum!
  • Vinegar and granulated sugar? Secret to delicious Asian cooking, I’m telling you! I learned this trick from my sis-in-law’s mom who is from Vietnam. She would add just a spoonful of sugar to just about everything – from rice, to omelette, to, well, just about everything. It’s so yummy because it can enhance the natural sweetness of the dish, but not overpower it, and it caramelizes just a little over the mixture. In the case of this rice if you add it with the vinegar (preferably rice vinegar which is much more mild, or if using just regular white distilled, use just a little bit), it just gives it a slight hint of sweet and tang that just can’t be achieved in any other way and gives the rice such a delicious texture! Love love love it!

Easy Fried Rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil (can do canola, sesame, chili, or a mix)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½-1 medium onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (any style - I like Jasmine or Calrose)
  • 1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup peas, carrots, bell peppers, or mushrooms (or any combination of veggies), sliced and sauteed, steamed, or blanched
  • 1-2 cups cooked meat, cubed (optional - can use chicken, ham, Chinese sausage, shrimp, etc.)
  • 1-2 large eggs
  • Soy sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 green onions, diced (optional)
  • Sriracha sauce ("rooster" sauce)
  1. In a wok or large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat until it runs quickly on the pan.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to pan and cook garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir constantly to avoid burning. If you are adding onions, do so now.
  3. If you are adding ginger, do so now.
  4. Add rice and cook for a few minutes until warmed through.
  5. Add rice wine vinegar and sugar, sprinkling evenly over rice. Toss to coat.
  6. Toss in veggies.
  7. Toss in meat.
  8. Let everything continue to cook until rice starts getting nice little fried spots all over and everything is getting warmed through. I stir minimally so that it can fry really well. Depending on how fried you want your rice and how cooked you want your veggies, you can go anywhere from 5-10 minutes in this process.
  9. Right at the end, push your rice over to one side of the pan/wok. Crack your egg(s) in the empty section of the pan. Quickly split the yolk and scramble. Move constantly to create small curd. The eggs should cook really quickly, about 30 seconds.
  10. Once eggs are cooked and to your desired consistency, toss in to rest of rice mixture.
  11. Top with soy sauce, green onions, sriracha, etc.


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