Fried rice is easy to eat. How beautiful and flavorful. In one spoonful, you have everything you want – rice, meat, veggies all nicely ready to be consumed. But did you know that fried rice is actually not made by just throwing all the ingredients together?
I thought to myself that fried rice was supposed to be simple: throw rice and chopped meats and vegetables and stir-fry them together. But I kept failing to achieve that mouth-watering, crisp taste from the restaurants. After many trials and errors, I had to conclude that fried rice is rather an arduous dish to prepare, although well worth the efforts.
Some lessons learned from mistakes:
- Seasoning focus is on rice. Not vegetables.
- Stir-fry each ingredients separately since each of them require different time to be cooked.
- Do not use potatoes. The starch from potatoes make the fried rice soggy. If you and potatoes are inseparable, chop it small and thin, submerge under cold water for 10 minutes to remove starch, rinse in cold water multiple times, and fry them quickly in high heat.
- Use “cold” steamed rice.
- Hands need to move diligently in stir-frying.
- Use heat-efficient frying pan or wok. I love my cast-iron frying pan.
I’ve used large shrimps while most restaurants use smaller shrimps. It tastes better! You can substitute it for beef, pork, chicken, or any meat of your choice.
Serving Size: 2 people
Total Time: 20 minutes prep time + 20 minutes cooking time
2 cups of white rice or long rice
0.3 lbs of shrimp or protein of your choice
1 jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup of corns
1 stalk of green onion
(optional) 1 egg
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
Rice – Using slightly less water (95% of normal portion), make steamed rice ahead of time. Leave the steamed rice outside (do not keep them warm in the rice cooker) or even in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool it down. We’re trying to minimize the stickiness of rice. Or use long rice which is naturally less sticky.
Vegetables – Chop them and keep them separate because we’re going to cook them separately. For carrot, chop them flat and thin (as opposed to making cubes). For Jalapenos, smaller the better. For corns, you can use fresh, canned or frozen corns – doesn’t matter.
Shrimp – Clean in cold water and remove shells. De-vein shrimps by running a small knife down in the back of the shrimp. If you choose to use other proteins like beef or chicken or pork, you may want to marinate them.
(Optional) Egg – Make scrambled eggs.
1.In a pan, put up a high heat and allow generous portion of oil. First, stir-fry onions and set them aside. I rest them on a paper towel to remove some oil.
2. Replenish oil and wait until it’s hot again. Stir-fry carrots and set them aside with onions.
3. Add oil (if necessary) and stir-fry the shrimps. Add salt to season. Be careful not to overcook. Set them aside with onions and carrots.
4. In the same pan which is well greased with oil, add 1 tablespoon of butter and “cooled-off” steamed rice. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir vigorously to coat every single rice kernel (require strength and/or two hands. See my two wooden spoons?). Add corns to be cooked with rice as well.
5. When rice is ready, add remaining ingredients (onions, carrots, shrimps, jalapeno pepper, green onions) and turn off the heat (pan will remain hot). Mix them altogether and serve. Kimchi is a must side-dish here.