Chinese fried rice

Fried rice is one of the best empty-out-your-fridge recipes there is. Every couple of weeks or so, when I’m making white rice to go with some meal, I’ll double up the amount and use the extra portions the next day to whip up a batch of this fried rice with whatever vegetables I have on hand.

The ingredients:
– Leftover rice of any kind, long-grain, medium-grain, sushi, basmati, jasmine, rice pilaf, etc. just as long as it doesn’t have any spices in it that might interfere with the flavor of soy sauce.
– Vegetable add-ins (see list at the bottom)
– Eggs plus optional protein of choice (e.g. shrimp or chicken)
– Sesame oil and ideally dark soy sauce
– Seasonings of choice (star anise, Chinese five spice, ginger and garlic powder, red pepper flakes, etc.)

The prep:
– Prep your protein – cut up your chicken, thaw frozen shrimp or clean fresh shrimp, etc.. For added flavor, toss them with a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger & garlic, and leave them to marinate while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Whisk your eggs in a small bowl.
– Dig up your sesame oil and dark soy sauce from the pantry if you haven’t already done so.
– Prep your vegetables, peel, cut, chop, mince, etc. your vegetable add-ins into bite-size pieces, portion out any frozen veggies and have them at the ready.
– Take your leftover rice out of the fridge and break up the clumps with your hands.

The technique:
When all your components are ready to go, heat up your pan on medium-high heat, add in a large glug of sesame oil, enough to lightly coat the entire bottom of the pan, and let it get hot, but not smoking hot.
If using chicken or shrimp, fry it up first til it’s just cooked through, then set it aside in a covered bowl to trap steam and keep it from getting dry.
Add a touch more oil to the pan and add your veggies in next (or first if not using chicken/shrimp). Give them a pinch or two of salt to get them softening, but not too much as the soy sauce is very salty and will provide most of the seasoning. Also add in any seasonings here.
Sautee ’til about half cooked through, then push all the veggies to the side of the pan leaving an empty space in the center, and pour in your whisked eggs. Let them sit undisturbed for 30 seconds or so, then start whisking them vigorously with your wooden utensil to break them up into curds and let the uncooked eggs reach the heat.
When the eggs are nearly cooked, bring all the veggies back into the middle, add your protein (if using) back into the mix, and briefly combine veggies, eggs and protein all together. Now add in your rice, and stir it through. Add a couple good glugs of the dark soy sauce, just enough to coat everything, and immediately stir it all through the rice vigorously.
You’re done!

Some examples of vegetable add-ins:
– any kind of onion, chopped
– carrots, cut into matchsticks
– any kind of mushrooms, sliced
– any kind of cabbage, thinly sliced
– any kind of pepper, thinly sliced
– frozen peas, corn, lima beans, green beans
– Chinese garlic chives, scallions, leeks, cilantro, etc.
– fresh ginger and garlic, minced
– bean sprouts
– bok choy, spinach, greens, etc. thinly sliced
Or get creative:
– eggplant, cubed
– fried potato cubes
– seaweed, kelp, crumbled nori sheets, etc.
– canned beans or lentils
– canned pineapple chunks, chopped pear, raisins, fried ripe plantains

My favourite tools:
Calphalon Premier Anodized Nonstick 13″ Skillet With Lid
Hudson Essentials Olive Wood Cooking Utensils
Lamson 3-piece knife set
J.K. Adams 17″ Maple Cutting Board

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