Egg

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

October 24, 2012

Every week -- often with your help --  FOOD52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: A world-brightening fried rice you could make right now -- not tomorrow -- if you really wanted.

 

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There's something silly about longing for leftover rice. It's one of the easiest things to make, a staple on dinner tables the world over, and yet ... it's never there when you need it. For fried rice.

Just about every recipe and tutorial out there calls for day-old rice. People get really feisty about this. I get it: the grains are drier and firmer than freshly cooked, and will absorb flavor without clumping and sogging. 

But I've always felt oppressed by this rule. Fried rice is meant as this hallmark of kitchen efficiency, a catchall for your best scraps -- but not if you can never hang onto yesterday's stash at the right time. This is a dinner that requires leftover coordination, a skill I may never have. 

Or so I thought.

jean-georges

As former Food52 intern Will Levitt and blogger Joy Huang both told me, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Ginger Fried Rice is a dish so good, so comforting and mood-altering, you won't want to save it for just the days there happens to be a quart of jasmine rice in your fridge. And the good news is: you don't have to.

Here's why:

When Mark Bittman published this recipe in his Minimalist column in 2010, he told us to cook the rice just until heated through, over medium heat -- and he meant it. Not a searing wok-fry, just a warm up. (Full disclosure: Bittman also says to use leftover rice, but -- in case you couldn't tell -- I don't think you need to.)

It's because Jean-Georges has you first crisp up ginger and garlic in your oil, till they're so bronzed and crackly you'll think they're burnt. You fish them out and save them to sprinkle on at the end. This texture is a revelation, and takes the pressure off the rice to be perfectly aired out, flaky, and crisp. Those brown bits all the resistance you need.

 

Of course, you don't want steamy rice porridge either. But here's all you have to do if you're cooking the rice fresh: 

• When the cook time is done, leave the rice undisturbed in the pot (uncovered) for 5 minutes, to give it a chance to get some integrity before you go sticking spoons in there.

• Spread the rice on a tray (or two) to dry out. Put it by an open window or a fan. 

• To hurry this along, pop the tray in the fridge or freezer if you have room. Move along to slicing leeks and mincing ginger.

 

• Jaden Hair at Steamy Kitchen also recommends starting with 1/4 to 1/3 less water when cooking the rice, to hedge your bets. I like Jaden. 

(If you're the type of person who always has leftover cooked rice on hand, just use that. I salute you.)

You can do this with any fried rice you want to make right this second, but it's especially suited to this gem of a recipe, a marvel of textures and flavors. Here, a little softness is welcome.

From those crispy ginger and garlic bits, which have left behind a deliciously flavored oil to gloss up the rice, the action keeps coming: slippery soft leeks, gently fried rice, and finally electrifying streaks of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a world-brightening sunny-side-up egg.

And you can have it all ... tonight. Not tomorrow. Tonight!

Jean-Georges' Ginger Fried Rice

Adapted slightly from "The Minimalist: Fried Rice, Dressed Simply" (New York Times, January 27, 2010)

Serves 4

1/2 cup peanut oil if you're Mark Bittman, chicken fat if you're Jean-Georges
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
Salt
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4 cups cooked rice, preferably jasmine, at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

Photos: Jean-Georges by Melissa Hom; raw rice by James Ransom; all others by Linda Xiao

 

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22 Comments

margaret E. January 2, 2013
The flavors and textures are delicious (well-described in final paragraph of the recipe!). However, for me, there is too much peanut oil. I made it again with less oil and it was better. Also, tried with sushi rice (which I had left-over) -- delicious.
 
Holly Z. October 29, 2012
I ma very excited for this recipe. I ma making it this week. I will post back with my results.
 
Trillinchick October 29, 2012
I wasn't finished! I chuckled at the egg photo because It brought back a memory shared by my niece on her first great educational (and culinary, as it happened) adventure including the "Far East." After viewing her first breakfast in a very different with a cuisine totally foreign to her, she took a quick snapshot of the dish (including the egg-as-topper), then went upstairs to feast on an energy bar as a more familiar feed. She's come a very long way is a relatively short time with her own cooking and with her SO and her brother. <br />A great way she has developed her culinary wings is to take her gourmet-lovin' parents out to sample the great old traditions, as well as hot/edgy/fierce where newest great food traditions may be taking first baby steps. The future of food is what WE will make of and with it!
 
Trillinchick October 29, 2012
I wasn't finished! I chuckled at the egg photo because It brought back a memory shared by my niece on her first great educational (and culinary, as it happened) adventure including the "Far East." After viewing her first breakfast in a very different with a cuisine totally foreign to her, she took a quick snapshot of the dish (including the egg-as-topper), then went upstairs to feast on an energy bar as a more familiar feed. She's come a very long way is a relatively short time with her own cooking and with her SO and her brother. <br />A great way she has developed her culinary wings is to take her gourmet-lovin' parents out to sample the great old traditions, as well as hot/edgy/fierce where newest great food traditions may be taking first baby steps. The future of food is what WE will make of and with it!
 
Trillinchick October 28, 2012
The egg photo had me chuckling over a shared memory of her first big traveling adventure.
 
GSmodden October 28, 2012
Made this last night. It's pretty amazing. I accidentally pierced the yolk while frying one of the eggs. But no matter. Still delicious.
 
mcs3000 October 25, 2012
I love the salt-cod fried rice from Mission Chinese. Anxious to try this recipe. Thx, Kristen!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. October 26, 2012
Ooh, salt cod. Is it in the book? I'm going to try that one next.
 
Joy H. October 24, 2012
Yay, it's posted! I highly recommend trying this with duck fat, too!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. October 26, 2012
Thanks for the tip, Joy!
 
Mila C. October 27, 2012
That sounds TOO awesome!
 
Fairmount_market October 24, 2012
Thanks for reminding me of this recipe and sharing the tip about making instant day old rice. I love kimchi fried rice and never seem to have enough left over rice around when the craving hits (I'll also try to follow AJ's advice below about freezing).
 
Fairmount_market October 24, 2012
Thanks for reminding me of this recipe and sharing the tip about making instant day old rice. I love kimchi fried rice and never seem to have enough left over rice around when the craving hits (I'll also try to follow AJ's advice below about freezing).
 
CeCeH October 24, 2012
I've been making this dish for many many years, and it is always a hit. I posted the recipe on my blog (www.cece-corner.blogspot) last February, with a photo
 
mungo October 24, 2012
What I love about this recipe (like many Bittman recipes) is that it's so adaptable--I've made it as specified, but also used the same treatment for noodles and stir fry. Delicious, easy and I always have the bits on hand. Love the tip for spreading the rice out, too!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. October 26, 2012
Love those ideas for the bits!
 
NakedBeet October 24, 2012
I adore this dish there and love so many of the other dishes on his "tasting menu." Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will now proceed to duplicate!!!! ; )
 
BlueKaleRoad October 24, 2012
One of my favorite meals - total comfort food! I love the crispy garlic and ginger, and these are terrific tips for the times I don't have rice lurking in the fridge (although I'm going to start freezing extra after reading AJ's comment). Love the egg photos - very enticing. Thanks for another genius one, Kristen!
 
AntoniaJames October 24, 2012
I always have Mr. T bring a "doggy bag" of whatever rice he doesn't eat when having lunch at his favorite Chinese place -- they always serve far more than one person can eat -- and freeze that, too (or use it the next day) for fried rice. The little carryout boxes, especially when left a bit loose, are perfect for drying out rice. (I freeze in regular airtight containers, though, to prevent freezer burn.) ;o)
 
AntoniaJames October 24, 2012
Wonderful! I usually have in my freezer a pint or two of rice, which I use almost exclusively for fried rice, but when I don't, I typically use brown basmati, which holds its shape very well (and tastes fantastic in fried rice); I spread it on a cookie sheet and pop it into the oven at 200 degrees for about ten minutes, stirring it about, once, halfway through. The fridge/freezer tip is a good one, as is the suggestion to use less water! Love anything J-G V; love this one, too! Thanks for posting it. ;o)
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. October 24, 2012
Great tips!
 
AntoniaJames October 24, 2012
P.S. I've been known to buy just an order of "brown rice for four" from our local Chinese place for making fried rice, giving it the quick oven dry treatment, when I'm really pressed and don't have time to cook up a fresh batch of rice. But I always make a double batch of rice, whenever I cook it, and put half in the freezer in clear pint-sized deli containers, so I've had to do the carryout errand less frequently lately. ;o)