Fried Rice 101 - An Instructables Guide!
This Instructable will go over what you need to make fried rice at home. We'll cover some things to avoid and some tips on how to make it turn out just right!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: ~25 mins
What ingredients you need:
- Chicken or Beef (Cubed)
- Jasmine Rice (2 cups)
- Minced Garlic (Heaping spoon)
- 3 Eggs
- Butter (1 TBSP)
- Olive Oil (1 TBSP)
- Sesame Oil (1 TSP)
- Fish Sauce (1~2 TBSP)
- Soy Sauce (~3 TBSP or to taste)
- Worcestershire Sauce (1 TSP)
- Frozen Peas and Carrots (1 Cup)
- Salt (To taste)Pepper (To Taste)
- Garlic Powder (1 TBSP)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Sesame seeds
- Big pan or preferably Wok
- Cutting boards
- Chef's knife for chopping
- Wooden Spatula for tossing and folding the rice
- Hot Surface Glove
Meal prep for Fried Rice is pretty simple. The key to doing Fried Rice is having not only having the right kind of rice, but having the rice thoroughly dried out. There are two ways of doing this. First, you can just use old rice that's been left in your refrigerator for a day or two. The rice show in the picture is just left-over; the serving dish will be used twice, once for the refrigeration process, then for the actual serving dish. The second way to dry out your rice would be to clear a space in your freezer and throw the just-cooked rice in there until it is all thoroughly chilled, not frozen, chilled.
Rookie mistake: Don't skip the the drying out process. Rice that is fresh will turn your dreams of enjoying fried rice into a nightmare that looks like it could double as masonry cement. The drying process helps keep the rice from turning into mush.
Choosing your Rice: I found that I generally prefer Jasmine Rice, not only in Fried Rice, but in most dishes. Hence the excess stock shown in the photo. If you try a different type, your results might differ in the consistency of the dish. Until I started using Jasmine, and learned about drying out the rice, I failed miserably at making this, repeatedly.
Prepping the Meat: Chop your Meat into bite size pieces. How much you use and which type of meat you choose is up to you. For tender beef, I would recommend going with a higher grade cut. Filets are always a good choice but may be on the pricey side of what should be an inexpensive dish. Stay away from stew meat or super fatty cuts. Because the meat is only cooked for a short amount of time, those cuts may not end up being as tender as you might prefer. If you use chicken, just make sure you don't over cook in the initial stage. Only a short period of time is needed, as the meat will continue to cook once the rice is added to the dish. This is also pretty good if you decide to cook the dish with just the egg.
Veggies (Instructable within an Instructable!!): How to speed chop an onion - Chop the onion in half from roots to the sprout. Peel off the papery layers until you get into the fleshy onion. You may chop off a little bit of the sprout portion that tends to have an additional few layers of that papery portion (shown in photo). Cut into the onion from the sprout to the root in even parallel lines but avoid cutting all the way through. This will leave the onion intact while you make all of your cross cuts (shown in photo). Because of the anatomy of the onion, the second cut will cube the onion layers.
Garlic - I usually use pre-minced garlic. Easy, fast, effective.
Peas and Carrots - Frozen package. Easy, fast, effective.
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Step 1: Before the Rice
You'll need to take care of a few things before you add the rice.
Brown the meat: I start by adding some olive oil into the base of the pan or wok. Woks are intended for use with high heat. Most gas stoves can achieve a Wok's minimum standards for heat. I've had problems with electric though. Anyway. Wait for the Olive Oil to get pretty hot. Once hot, but not smoking, toss in your heaping spoonful of garlic and then add your cubed meat.
I use a flat wooden spatula to assist in the whole process. You'll need to continue 'folding' the rice and meat in once you get going. I also find that the wooden spatula works well for the browning process.
Cook until the outside of the meat is well seared. Avoid over cooking to prevent chewy overdone steak. Unless that's your thing. To each their own. The meat will continue to cook once you add the rice so a good searing should be adequate.
Add the onions: Move the cooked meat to the outside of the Wok or pan to allow you space to drop the onions in. They shouldn't take too long. Just cook until they are on the on the verge of turning clear. Once there, mix up with the meat.
Add the eggs: In the same way you moved the meat out of the way for the onions, move your mix to the outside of the pan so the heat is focused on the center. This will clear you a space to add your eggs. Crack the eggs and toss them into the center. There should be enough space that you can scramble the eggs without getting to much of your other stuff mixed in. Cook until well scrambled. Make sure that you remove any shell that may have fallen into your mixture.
Once the eggs are added I like to do a little bit of seasoning. Here would be a good time to add the garlic powder and pepper.
Step 2: Adding the Rice and Seasoning
Once your meat is well browned and eggs are cooked you're ready to add your rice.
Your rice should be coming out of the refrigerator still chilled before you add it to the mix. Toss it in! Here's where the work begins. To ensure that your rice is well re-cooked, you'll need to continuously fold the rice over on itself. This will also break up any clumps that your rice has made during the drying process.
Once the rice is well integrated into the mix, add your frozen peas and carrots. Note - Avoid adding these late into the cook. Doing so will leave you with harder than desirable carrot texture.
Add your butter. For a more buttery taste, you may add another TBSP. I generally stick to 1 TBSP though. Fold in until melted.
(Optional Ingredients: If you have it on hand, now's the time to add sesame seeds and red pepper flake!)
Sauces - My measurements are general starting points. If you like stronger notes of one particular ingredient, add to your taste. I would advise that if you use regular soy-sauce (not low-sodium), you may consider lowering the amount of salt you add.
Start by adding:
Sesame Oil (~1 TSP)
Fish Sauce (1~2 TBSP) - Smells weird, does miracles for Fried Rice!
Worcestershire Sauce (~1 TSP)
Soy Sauce (~3 TBSP or to taste)
As you add the sauces you'll begin to see the rice darkening to what you would see at the hibachi tables. Taste the mixture until you hit the right mark. Again, if it's bland, try adding some additional soy-sauce first, then salt.
Continue to cook until all ingredients are well integrated.
Step 3: The Finished Product
Same serving dish your day old rice was on!
Thanks for reading. Enjoy!