"the secret to super awesome fried rice"

Friday, October 18, 2013

I always thought fried rice is just simply made with rice that's fried with some eggs and a bit of salt and pepper. Which explains why when I tried my hand at it, my fried rice totally sucked.

The art of making perfect fried rice, lies in the extra stuff that you can't guess just by tasting your fried rice. It is the combination of those few things that makes fried rice taste so good. Much better than just pepper, salt and eggs.

This recipe is for a basic fried rice with egg (feel free to omit the egg) because I've always had fried rice with egg while growing up – and fried rice without egg to me, is not proper. It's like eating a burger without a slice of cheese in it. Just doesn't feel right. This is a recipe where you can feel free to use as a base and have it with chicken, beef or bacon. Turn it into a thai seafood fried rice maybe? Or even mushroom fried rice. Or better yet, my favorite, garlic fried rice. See, fried rice is such an amazing, versatile, dish.

1 cup overnight rice (very important!)
2 eggs, beaten
4 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Concentrated chicken stock, to taste
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Fish sauce, to taste
Soy sauce, to taste

*Feel free to add in any extra ingredients like chicken. Be sure to let the chicken cook slightly first on the pan before you toss in your rice.

First of all, let me explain why 'overnight rice' is important. I've tried making fried rice with freshly cooked rice, and it was a disaster. Rice absorbs water when it's being cooked so when you try to fry it over a hot pan, the water is unable to evaporate in time, leaving your rice a sticky, soggy mess. The lesson here is, always use leftover/overnight rice. White or brown rice, doesn't matter.

Also I need to stress that you should try to use shallots instead of onions. These babies are small, but pack a powerful flavor in them that will make your fried rice fragrant.

Shallots are not easy to peel though, so be sure to recruit a kitchen helper. :p

Prepare your ingredients. Beat your eggs in a bowl and add in about 1 tablespoon of chicken stock concentrate. Stir. Heat some oil in your frying pan on medium heat, then pop the minced shallots and garlic. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. If you are adding in any meat, this is where you should add it in.

Add in the rice. Stir the rice about for 10 seconds or so, then add in the egg mixture. Continue to stir to ensure everything is coated and well spread out to be cooked evenly. About a minute in, start adding two teaspoons of soy sauce, and a dash of fish sauce. Don't overdo the fish sauce.

Continue to stir-fry everything for another minute. Taste your fried rice at this point. The saltiness from the soy sauce should be just nice. If it's not salty enough, add in a dash of salt. Then add in white pepper. Depending on how you like your pepper, you can either just add a dash of it for flavor, or like me, you can just sprinkle it all over everything, and mix it all up. I absolutely love pepper!

If you're a chilli junkie, you can also add in some freshly sliced birds eye chillies after adding in the egg. Another option would be to sprinkle dry chill flakes with your white pepper before you finish cooking.

Serve hot with some side dishes, or eat it as it is. Enjoy!

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All images and text here are the intellectual property of Michelle Lim, owner of the blog site www.coquettishmish.com, and related third-party ownerships. Any use, reproduction or re-quoting of the materials here can only be done with expressed permission from the blog owner, and should be duly credited where necessary.