The Apache Pow Wow

The Ultimate Fried Rice Recipe

Andrew Muliadi, Staff Writer

Everybody knows how to make fried rice, and if you don’t, then you need to learn. Fortunately, I’ll be here to help if you really are that hopeless. However, for the veteran fried rice chefs out there, I’ll let you all in on some secret ways to spice up your fried rice recipes to incorporate some nuance into your cooking. Let’s start off with the basic premise of cooking fried rice.

All fried rice is centered around four main ingredients: cooked white rice, eggs, soy sauce, and meat. While these ingredients are simple in nature, when combined, they really can make for a tasty meal. Fried rice was intended to be cooked fast so it could be served fast. With that, the first step in preparing basic fried rice will be to turn on your stove top and slightly oil a pan or a wok of your choice. After a minute, pour in your cooked rice and begin distributing it evenly throughout the pan. Note that it’s best to use rice that has been refrigerated overnight to avoid having fried rice that tastes like paste, for using rice that has just been cooked still retains a bit of water that contributes to the aforementioned taste. At this point, you’ll want to break apart any chunks of rice you have for about one to two minutes. Once that time has passed, have one to two eggs on hand, whipped and beaten, and evenly pour all over your rice. Allow the egg to cook for a little bit, meaning that the egg has become semi-solid, before thoroughly mixing the rice and egg in the pan. Shortly after mixing, insert the meat of your choice and continue stirring. About a minute after cooking, add as much soy sauce as you would like and mix thoroughly for no longer than thirty seconds before turning off your stove top and allowing your fried rice to cool.

Now, here are some ways to spice up your fried rice. Each of these suggestions will be based on the four main ingredients listed above that are essential to making fried rice.

Let’s start off with the rice. Traditionally, the aspects of rice are never altered, but there are several ingredients you can still add to enhance the general flavor of plain old rice. The first would be adding cumin after you pour your rice in the pan. Cumin itself is a spice that gives off a spicy, curry-like taste and is commonly used in Asian dishes given its unique lemon like aroma. Another option would be adding cilantro to your rice. Cilantro gives off a fresh mint-like aftertaste that would add rejuvenation to your rice. If you’re feeling tired or desire a lighter meal, adding cilantro to fried rice would be a felicitous pairing. Another means to improve the flavor of your rice would be to first cook your rice in a broth of your choosing to add an additional element of flavor. Chicken broth is by far the most commonly used broth.

Moving on, we have the eggs. By themselves, eggs have a bland taste. Here are several means to make your eggs tastier. The first would be to add a tad bit of milk. Doing so allows your eggs to have a fluffier texture with a more creamy taste, complementing the taste of the rice. Be sure to not to add too much milk to your egg mixture as the milk could seep out of the egg while cooking, ruining the other elements of your fried rice. Another means of adding flavor to your eggs would be to incorporate chicken powder, adding as the name suggests, a chicken flavor to your eggs. Furthermore, a simple mixture of salt and pepper could help distinguish the flavor of your eggs from the abundance of rice that is present.

Subsequently, we have the most iconic feature of any fried rice dish, the soy sauce. For one, rather than using traditional soy sauce with fried rice, a substitute for such an ingredient would be Supreme Soy Sauce, a thicker more potent soy sauce typically used when cooking with noodles. The thicker soy sauce allows for a more prominent and saltier taste compared to your typical soy sauce. Another means would also be Hoisin sauce. Despite its name, Hoisin sauce is actually a dark paste that has the combined elements of having a sweet and spicy flavor, the middle ground between Supreme Soy Sauce and Sriracha. Though typically added to more meat based dishes, the rich flavor that Hoisin sauce provides a new fangled plum like taste for fried rice. Sweet Unagi sauce is also an excellent replacement for soy sauce. Made from eel extract, Sweet Unagi sauce has a thick and sticky extract texture that demonstrates a clear sweet flavor that often goes with white rice. For any sweet tooth lovers out there, Sweet Unagi sauce would be the perfect fit for you.

The last element of any fried rice dish would be the meat used. To start off, one great but not commonly used option, would be roasted pork. The soft meat of the pork and the crunchy aspect of the skin add a new flavor and perspective to fried rice compared to using beef per say. Furthermore, many of the aforementioned sauces compliment roast pork extremely well. Another alternative would be using pork sausages. The natural oils from theses sausages enhance the flavor of all other ingredients while cooking and give a nice porky aroma when the fried rice is finished cooking. However, it’s best to note that such sausages normally contain a lot of fat, and the oil protruded from each sausage can sometimes be overwhelming. I recommend that you first set aside the amount of sausage you’ll be using and wrap them up in a paper towel such that the towel will absorb some of the oil before you begin cooking. Lastly, duck would also be a viable substitute to perhaps chicken or lamb. Duck alone provides a smoky flavor and a chewy texture, creating an interesting combination of flavors and textures with all the aforementioned ingredients that will definitely provide a unique taste.   

All in all, no matter the combination you choose, the outcome of your fried rice will leave you wanting more and cooking more. It’s a simple dish that boasts a unique set of flavors when alternate ingredients are presented.

 

Photo courtesy of SERIOUSEATS.COM

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The Ultimate Fried Rice Recipe