How do you make totally legit fried rice?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Some general tips:
Fried rice turns out best when the rice is cold before you begin to fry it. This means that the rice should be prepared in advance. Regular steamed rice, kept overnight in the fridge, would work well.
I also find that putting slightly less water when making the steamed rice makes the rice turn out slightly drier and harder, which is not ideal if you are eating the steamed rice as it is, but works well for fried rice as the grains tend not to stick together and turn mushy, and can more readily absorb the sauces that you use to fry the rice.
High heat is also an important element in cooking up a good plate of fried rice. This means that you should ideally have a gas stove (as opposed to an electric one). The high heat will tend to make the rice burn more easily and stick to the wok, so you need to be careful, and have either a good non-stick wok or compensate by adding copious amounts of oil to prevent the rice from sticking.
With that in mind, this is how I cook my fried rice, in a decidedly Southeast Asian-influenced fashion:
- Begin by preparing the rice. Put appropriate amounts of rice and water into a rice cooker, using slightly less water than you would for regular steamed rice. I choose to make things a little more interesting by adding chopped garlic, ginger, a few pieces of star anise, sambal oelek (a Southeast Asian hot sauce) and sesame oil to the rice. For an even more sinful and flavorful result, you can also add chicken skin or chicken stock.
- Cook the rice and keep it overnight in the fridge.
- The next day, use the pre-prepared rice to make your fried rice. I begin by scrambling some eggs mixed with fish sauce. The eggs are cooked until about 80% cooked and removed from the pan.
- Next, I stir fry some chopped onions until they start to brown, then add the protein of choice. Diced pork/chicken works well. Begin with high heat to brown the meat, then switch to a slightly lower heat to let the inside cook.
- Add the rice. The rice usually comes out of the fridge dry and hard, in a clump. I add a healthy dollop of kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and stir fry the rice until the grains separate and regain their softness.
- While the rice is cooking, I add chopped cucumbers and mushrooms. Don't do this too early so as not to overcook the cucumbers. I like the cucumbers to retain their crunchiness. At this point you can also add the eggs back into the mixture, using your spatula to break them up and mix them well with the rice.
- Last, I add chopped spring onions right at the end, and season to taste with fish sauce and a dash of curry powder. Pickled green chili or Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chou chili oil are excellent condiments.
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