Fried rice is a favorite Asian staple, but did you know it works best with cold leftover rice? Here are some helpful hints for making this crowd-pleasing meal at home.
The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
Everyone loves fried rice!
I know, I know, it’s a bold statement to make. I don’t think it’s a stretch though. Just think about the infinite permutations worldwide. Examples include: Indonesian nasi goreng, Thai pineapple fried rice, Filipino garlic fried rice (siningag), and that’s only in Asia! Fried rice is also wildly popular at Asian restaurants, often served with lunch specials and always ordered by my friend, X, who shall go unnamed.
I have a confession to make. Fried rice is the last thing on the menu I’d order when dining out (unless it’s chicken and salted fish fried rice, yum!) for one reason – it’s so very simple to make at home. A quick dig in the fridge for cooked rice, last night’s leftovers and whatever treasures are lurking in the back, and everything comes together in the wok in less than 20 minutes!
Making fried rice is easy in theory, but getting it right does take a little know-how. I don’t know about you but I’ve dished up my fair share of burnt fried rice, clumpy fried rice, and simply not very good fried rice.
After years of experimenting and watching, however, I have to say my fried rice is pretty good. So here are my 5 secrets anyone can pick up and you’ll soon be on your way to making fabulous fried rice.
5 secrets for perfect fried rice
1. Use cold, leftover cooked rice. Left in the fridge overnight, the rice grains will firm up, making it easier to separate and decreasing the chances of your fried rice turning out mushy. If you can’t wait, air freshly cooked rice to remove moisture and refrigerate the rice for a few hours before cooking.
2. Use medium to long grain rice, not short grain sweet/sushi rice or glutinous rice. Medium grain jasmine rice is my choice for fluffy, sturdy grains that don’t clump or fall apart when fried. Short grain rice tends to be softer and to stick together.