If you have only been cooking your Chinese fried rice using the light soy sauce + dark soy sauce combo and wonder why it never taste the same as those in the restaurant, then read on my friend…
I love fried rice because it’s an easy one-pot meal (No-brainer, right?). Furthermore, it is a very cost effective meal. That’s why you always see fried rice either priced cheaper (unless it comes with some premium add-ons) or comes in extremely large portion at most eating places.
As far as the Chinese is concerned, a good plate of fried rice means rice that is so well fried that the rice grains are literally making “little somersaults” in the wok. In other words, just combining everything in a wok and and mixing it up just “won’t cut it”.
How to cook better fried rice?
Here are some tips for a better fried rice. The little details do make a difference, you know?
- Using overnight cooked rice » Using fresh rice unfortunately will cause the resulting fried rice to be mushy. Read here on hacks on how to cook fluffy and grainy steam white rice to give you a good base to work with.
- Cook in smaller portions » one of the main reason fried rice in restaurant taste so good is that they are usually cooked in small batches for 1 to 2 persons. At home it’s not always practical to do this especially if you are cooking for the family. Read more on the recipe on how I overcome this.
- Use the best quality soy sauce and oyster sauce that you could find » it WILL make a difference to the resulting taste of the dish. A good quality oyster sauce can really augment the taste of the dish in a positive way. Sometimes, you may come across professional chefs from hotel and restaurants using only soy sauce and dark soy sauce as condiments for fried rice. That’s because they use specially fermented or boutique premium soy sauce that may not be readily available for the average home cook.
- Use a wok or very large skillet for frying rice » Basically you will need plenty of space to move the rice around.
- A properly heated work or skillet before frying » This is generally the rule of thumb for most chinese wok-fried dish as well.
- Don’t rush it » Fried the rice longer than you think you need but make sure you don’t burn the rice by moving it around with a spatula.
Best ingredients for Fried Rice
Well the beauty of home cooked fried rice is of course the flexibility to use whatever ingredients you in hand at that point of time. However, if you have the luxury of planning ahead, why not consider some of these favourites:
- Prawns/ shrimps » Adding fresh prawns and shrimps enhance the taste a lot too. I don’t have prawns on hand while shooting this dish, so I decided to skip it. Instead I am using char siew (sweet Chinese BBQ pork) which add a tinge of sweetness to the fried rice and hence make it more appealing to kids.
- Meat » Adding meat such as roast pork, bacon, chinese sausage or small chunks of chicken breast which you can lightly pan-fry over the wok or pan before frying the rice is a really good option too. The leftover fat infused with the flavour of the meat is literally gold and makes for a more robustly flavoured fried rice.
- Crunchy vegetables » My personal favourite is to add long beans to fried rice. French beans and sliced snow peas works well too while carrots and corn add a nice dash of colour.
- Shredded cabbage are also good options as they are slightly sweet in flavour.
- Alternatively, thinly sliced lettuce added to the fried rice before serving gives a crunchy bite too.
- I love fried rice served with a bit of meat floss on top too!
What’s your favourite ingredients for fried rice?
Notice that delicious looking chili dip served with the fried rice? Recipe coming soon!