Family Favorite: Simple Chinese Fried Rice
Fried rice meets the criteria for an economical, all-in-one dish that the whole family will likely enjoy. Easy to make? Check. Can incorporate leftovers? Check. Adaptable? Check, with a gold star for delicious ingenuity. You can use just about any leftover vegetable or protein in this dish, but they should be "fresh" leftovers, preferably no more than one or two days old.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6
- 2 cups cooked white rice, very cold
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola or peanut oil
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Break the chilled rice up with your hands. Try to separate it into individual grains as much as reasonably possible.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saute pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the rice and saute until lightly toasted and a bit chewy, about 3 minutes. If using a small saute pan, saute the rice in batches.
- Push the rice to the sides of the saute pan, creating a space in the center. Add the garlic, onion and carrot, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the soy sauce and sesame oil to the pan, and toss all the ingredients together. Season the rice with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Push the rice to the side of the pan.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Drop in the lightly beaten egg and scramble it.
- Add the peas and scallions, and stir all the ingredients together until the rice separates. Serve immediately.
- To help prevent the rice from clumping, chill it uncovered in the freezer for about 15 minutes before using it.
- You can add just about any quick-cooking ingredient to this dish. Canned corn, bamboo shoots, tofu, mushrooms and fully cooked chicken or beef are a few ideas to get you started.
Don't store leftover fried rice and serve it again if you used leftovers to make it. Repeated cooling and reheating diminishes food quality and encourages bacterial growth that can cause foodborne illness.