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Author Notes: Having left Taiwan nearly 10 years ago, I'm always tinkering around in the kitchen to find the special flavors that are reminiscent of home. Over the years, this fried rice has secured its place as my go-to comfort food. In fact, it's become my friends' and roommates' comfort food, too. Countless people have stood over the sizzling wok to learn this dish. Many are surprised that it takes less than 10 minutes on the stove.
There are three key points to a good fried rice:
1) Use the right amount of oil. Too little and the rice won't break into individual grains -- too much and you end up with greasy take-out fried rice. The trick is to drizzle the oil around the wok and rice slowly, adding more as needed.
2) Maintain a dry, hot wok and work quickly. If the wok isn't hot enough or if there's too much liquid accumulated at the bottom, you end up steam cooking the rice and everything turns soggy. This is especially important before adding the rice. If you don't have a wok, you can use any large, shallow pan. Just avoid overcrowding the pan as it will steam the contents.
3) Aromatics. The sesame oil, wine, and white pepper give the rice its fragrance. Ginger, garlic, and onions are fine, too. Many people like to add soy sauce at the end, but I find that the aforementioned ingredients create enough nuanced and layered flavors.
Everything else is very flexible. You can use whatever you have in the fridge, though the vegetables mentioned in this recipe are the more traditional options.
NOTE: For simplicity I included only cooked meats in this recipe. If you want to cook raw meats, just add after the aromatics and before the vegetables. There's no need to remove from pan after cooking. Typically pork, chicken, or beef is marinated in a bit of sugar, some soy sauce, and a bit of rice or sherry wine for 15-30 minutes prior to cooking.
I hope you will enjoy this as much as we all have. —Michelle Ferng
- 4 cups white rice, cooked and cooled overnight in the fridge
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 bunch green onions, separated into white and green parts, chopped
- 1 cup meat, optional (e.g. bacon, ham, chinese sausage)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 2-3 carrots, chopped finely or grated
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- 2-3 tablespoons rice wine (or sherry wine)
- salt, to taste
- 3 pinches white pepper
- BEFORE YOU BEGIN: "Mise en place" is essential, as the whole cooking process takes less than five minutes. Cook and cool the rice in advance. Chop all vegetables finely. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil.
- COOK THE EGGS: Heat up a wok over high heat, add 1T vegetable oil, and pour the beaten eggs in. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are scrambled and 70% cooked. Transfer the eggs into the original mixing bowl and set aside.
- STIR FRY MEAT (OPTIONAL) & VEGETABLES: Add another 1T of oil into the hot wok. Add the chopped yellow onion and white part of the scallions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the meat, followed by green peas, carrots, and any other stir-fry ingredients you have. If you're using rice wine, drizzle some on the side to deglaze the wok. You should hear it sizzle, as the contact with the wok releases the wine's aroma. Make sure it all evaporates off before you move on to the next step.
- ADD RICE: Add another glug of oil and the rice. Working quickly, stir-fry everything together and break down the rice chunks without mushing together the individual grains. You may need to drizzle more oil along the side of the wok as you do this. Each rice grain should be coated by a slight oil sheen when you're done.
- ADD EGGS, SALT, SESAME OIL, AND GREEN ONIONS: Add the scrambled eggs back into the wok and give it a quick stir. Add salt to taste (About 2-3 three-finger pinches of salt should be enough). Add a few pinches of white pepper. Drizzle in 1 Tsp of sesame oil. Sprinkle the green onions on top as garnish.