August 10, 2006

Fried Rice

by psu

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 concious effort on my part, my fried rice has gotten better. Here's what I've been doing.

1. First you need 2 or 3 cups of cooked rice, preferrably a day old. You should not waste fresh rice on this. It's a dish for leftovers.

2. 4 to 6oz ground pork.

3. 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 ground pork, tearing it up into small pieces. 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. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

Posted by psu at August 10, 2006 08:18 PM | Bookmark This

You are making me hungry. Looking forward to the margarita article. I prefer traditional with Sauza Hornitos on the rocks with salt.

Posted by Al at August 11, 2006 12:42 PM

day-old rice is absolutely essential. You can make a pot of rice specifically for fried rice, but you still have to do it a day in advance and then stick it in the fridge overnight (18-24 hours is better).

the point of sticking it in the fridge is to let it dry out so you get fried rice, not glue. To that end, fluff the rice 2 or 3 times while it's in the fridge, to break up chunks and help it dry through.

thanks for the article. I haven't made fried rice in a long time. My favourite version includes _cha siu_, onions, egg, and the ubiquitous peas and carrots.

Posted by Weiguo at August 13, 2006 03:37 PM

My friend Tom's barbecued smoked pork ribs make a great addition to any fried rice as well. Mmmm...

Posted by Doug at August 13, 2006 03:49 PM

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