The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Fried Rice

I'll give you a homework for the next time you visit one of those authentic Chinese restaurants in say Chinatown or in the suburbs (you know, the ones that Chinese/Asian people eat at - not the poshy expensive ones that are targetted towards the non-Asians). Take a look around, and observe something - most of the non-Asians in the restaurants will order fried rice to go with their dishes whereas most of the Asians will order plain steamed rice. Why, you may wonder, is this the case? Not trying to put anyone off ordering fried rice, but rather encouraging all to make your own, fried rice is a great way to use leftover rice and dishes. Most of us Asians know this fact so we order freshly steamed rice in favour of, uh, freshly fried rice..

Anyway, I notice that many people seem to think that there are some secrets to making fried rice. There really isn't. Fried rice is so simple to make and all you need are a few basic ingredients and of course leftover food from last night's dinner. It isn't involved like risotto or rice pilaf or paella where you use uncooked rice, so this means that you can quickly whip up a fried rice.

I shall remove some of the enigma surrounding fried rice and post up a recipe of one I recently made. A few notable notes to take when doing fried rice:
1. The rice needs to be already cooked, preferably overnight, otherwise you'll end up with mushy fried rice.
2. I've found that brown rice works just as well as white rice, if not better. Most of my fried rice using white rice have turned a bit mushy whereas brown rice tend to hold the shape and moisture during the frying stage.
3. Anything goes. Feel free to experiment and use any ingredients you have on hand but obviously use a bit of sense. For example, I don't think leftover bolognaise or pasta sauce will go very well in fried rice. But then I would have to wonder why you were having pasta sauce with rice for last night's dinner..

1 tabspn oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped/minced
1 tsp ginger, chopped/grated/minced
chilli to taste (optional)
some 'luncheon pork' aka spam, cubed
Some frozen chopped mixed veges (carrots, beans, peas, corn)
leftover brown rice (enough for two people)
leftover meat dish (I used leftover chilli bean beef) and/or eggs
soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the liquid stuff otherwise you'll end up with risotto-like consistency)

Heat oil in a wok and stirfry onion over high heat for a couple of minutes until onion is just turning brown. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and stirfry for maybe another half minute before adding the spam. Continue stirfrying for a minute or two until spam is cooked. Add the mixed veges and turn down the heat to medium high and stirfry another minute or two until veges are cooked. Add the rice and any leftover meat, breaking up any clumps and stirfry to mix well with the other ingredients. If using egg, add the egg to the rice mixture and stirfry til cooked. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper to your liking.


  1. It's funny how caucasian people in an asian restaurant do that isn't it?
    I think adding in plenty of veges is a great way to make some fried rice. As pretty much anything goes in fried rice (as you said) it's a good way to force those carnivores amongst us to get their 5 veg for the day. Mum definately does that for us, and I do it whenever I cook fried rice (which isn't very often... I disapprove somewhat of most fried things, with the exception of fish in batter). Occasionally we're lucky and we have some leftover shrimp/prawns, and they go down well. So well, in fact, that certain persons that used to live here will deliberately fish out the prawns.
    I think the only real secret to fried rice is that you do use old'ish rice, or more specifically not freshly cooked rice (undercooked rice seems to work ok too, although you might need to reconsider cooking in the kitchen if you're struggling to cook rice). We only cook with white rice here, but we find that if it's been left out on the bench for a day and a bit... or if it's been in the fridge for over 5 days... yeah, fried rice time.
    I was thinking about your journal, and how you've got some with recipes and some without... I'm kinda bummed that you didn't tag the ones with recipes!!! I guess I'll just have to go back to the beginning and read the whole lot... what a pity... :P I'm so bookmarking/printing them when I find them hehe....
    [Kris out]

  2. Yeah I would recommend using lots of veges too if you are having fried rice for a main meal. We have fried rice for a lunch sorta thing, and we already get plenty of veges for dinner (the vegetables usually fill up half our plates for our dinners). I don't like fried stuff either (not even fish in batter!) and definitely don't use as much oil as my mum does!! I wouldn't recommend leaving rice out of the fridge for more than a few hours.
    How do you 'tag' posts? I like the way you present your journal coz it means that people download photos only if they want to. I'm not very good with computer stuff and don't want to spend too much time playing around with the settings on livejournal.. so my journal is very basic in its presentation..

  3. I try not to mess with mine, so it's using the basic look and feel that's provided to all livejournals at the moment. I was thinking of messing with it, and then I realised that i have so many things to do I really don't have time for stuff like that. Now... in regards to tags and hiding the text...
    There's supposed to be a little box that says "tags" down the bottom of your post entry box for tagging. I'm not sure how to do it in regular LJ since I use Semagic, which is a special program for blogging to submit posts. I'm pretty sure it's just a little box... it might even be a drop down box, or have an option to select from a list (the idea is that the tags put it in to a type of genre, so if I load the tag "recipes" then it loads all your recipes, and so on). Most of the time I actually post it, then I edit the post and add tags that way, mainly because I forget to add tags when posting.
    The hiding the text thing took me ages to work out too. The HTML code is <lj-cut text="your text"></lj-cut>. In the rich text format post editing (the one that has cool buttons for bold, underline, etc), there's an option on one of the buttons to do an LJ cut, but I don't know if it gives you the text option - it just says "Read more" as the link instead of the text you want. Of course, in Semagic it has this cool option for that. I rather like Semagic. It's sorta like Dreamweaver, which is a really good application for writing webpages.

  4. Cool, thanks for that. Will have to try that when I have the time to... :)