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What Is Fried Rice?
Fried rice is a rice dish consisting of rice fried together with aromatics, vegetables, and protein. Originating in China around the sixth century, fried rice is popular in many Asian cuisines as a staple side dish served with almost every main. Originally a way to serve leftover rice and avoid food waste, fried rice eventually became a favorite dish in its own right. Popular takes on fried rice include:
- Yangzhou fried rice: The most famous style of Chinese fried rice is Yangzhou fried rice, which is typically seasoned with soy sauce or oyster sauce and filled with scallions, veggies, Chinese sausage or barbecued pork, and scrambled eggs.
- Khao phat: Khao phat, or Thai fried rice, is usually seasoned with fish sauce or shrimp paste and may be filled with pineapple, nuts, or seafood, and topped with a pile of fresh herbs. It's typically made with leftover jasmine rice.
- Kimchi bokkeum bap: Kimchi bokkeum bap, or kimchi fried rice, is a Korean rice dish made by frying rice with kimchi and gochugaru. It's typically topped with a fried egg and scallion greens.
- Omurice: Omurice is a Japanese dish of leftover rice fried in ketchup and wrapped inside an omelet.
What Is the Best Kind of Rice for Fried Rice?
Long-grain white rice is the classic choice, but short-grain rice and brown rice also work (especially with kimchi fried rice). You can also experiment with different grains, such as quinoa, or even cauliflower rice.
Fried rice is best made with day-old rice. Freshly cooked rice has a higher moisture content, so it doesn’t crisp up as well as leftover rice. If you're craving fried rice but don't have any day-old rice on hand, you can prepare a batch of fresh rice on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, then spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate the rice uncovered for about half an hour to allow it to dry out. (You can also ask a takeout restaurant for a container of stale rice.)
What to Serve With Fried Rice?
Since fried rice has so many elements—carbs, veggies, protein—it's generally served as a main dish. In Southeast Asia, fried rice might be served with an herb salad and lime wedges. Sliced cucumbers or pickled vegetables are refreshing sides for fried rice, and it's never a bad idea to put out a jar of hot sauce for anyone who likes their fried rice on the spicier side.
Perfect Fried Rice Recipe
Prep Time10 min
Total Time20 min
Cook Time10 min
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil such as canola), divided
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 slices bacon, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 cups day-old rice
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- In a wok (or large cast iron or nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil until shimmering. Add beaten egg and cook, folding several times with a spatula until no longer runny, about 1 minute. Transfer scrambled eggs to a plate.
- Add bacon to the wok and cook until crispy and the fat has rendered, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add frozen peas and carrot and stir-fry until peas have defrosted, about 1 minute longer. Add the rice and scallion greens and stir to distribute ingredients and break up any cold rice clumps.
- Cook, undisturbed, until rice begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together white pepper, soy sauce, and remaining sesame oil. Drizzle sauce over rice and stir to combine. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until the bottom of the rice becomes crispy, about 2 more minutes.
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