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Fried rice as with Asians - this is how it works!

How to make perfect fried rice at home

I used to be one of the most demanding kids when it came to food, but fried rice was one of the few dishes I really enjoyed eating. The combination of inconspicuous pieces of carrot, green peas, egg and spring onions (which I may have sorted out ...) with hearty, sticky-soft rice were the ingredients that made the perfect fried rice for my 10-year-old. And to be honest, that opinion hasn't changed until today.

The recipe is easier to learn, but harder to master than you think. Once you have mastered the basic recipe, however, you can develop it further to suit your taste and create your own perfect fried rice. So let's not talk about the bush and start straight away with the ultimate guide to fried rice.

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Where does fried rice come from and what is it anyway?

Determining the exact origin of a dish is not that easy - especially when there are an infinite number of variations. Different fried rice dishes are eaten in countries around the world, so it is not surprising that rice is actually the second most widely consumed food in the world. The most widely known variations come from Chinese cuisine and are served as a main course or as a side dish. In addition, however, there are countless variations in East, South and Southeast Asia, as well as modifications in North and South America as well as in Western Europe, which were inspired and adapted by the Chinese diaspora.

Practically almost everything edible has somehow and at some point found its way into fried rice: from prawns to hot dog fried rice (please do not copy!), From tomatoes to pineapples (please do not copy that either!) And from sambal to curry powder . It seems like there are no rules in the game with fried rice, after all, there are no limits to creativity in the kitchen. With fried rice, there are only rough guidelines that will help you avoid certain combinations, otherwise they will only end in a catastrophe that shouldn't be called fried rice.

In my opinion, fried rice has 6 main components: rice, proteins, vegetables, aromatics, seasoning and garnishes. To understand how complex the fried rice world is, let's first take a closer look at each of them.

Which rice is best?

The undisputed focus of the action is of course the rice. Every variety should serve its purpose, right? The answer is yes and no. If you experiment with wild rice, paella rice, risotto rice or even with "cauliflower rice", you will surely end up with a tasty and visually appealing result on your plate, but getting the essential sticky-soft but firm consistency is whiter Long grain rice is the first and best choice.

Instead of using rice, you can of course experiment with other types of grain, but then it wouldn't be fried rice anymore, right? So how about some fried spelled?

Which protein and egg combinations go best with fried rice?

The proteins in fried rice are probably the most frequently exchanged ingredient right after the vegetables have been selected. Egg is very often used as a source of protein and, depending on your taste, combined with meat, fish or seafood.

I've tasted a lot of different fried rice recipes - from simple combinations made only of rice and beef to fried rice with egg, shrimp, barbecue pork, chicken, crab, fish, bacon or ground beef. As you can see, there is almost no protein that goes wrong with fried rice. However, it is important that you leave enough space for the other components such as vegetables, aromatics and garnishes. In my opinion, rice should always be the main component.

The endless variety of vegetables

There are simply no limits to the choice of vegetables: from classically diced carrots and peas to pak choi. Depending on the season, you can use whatever vegetables you like and which are currently available - so how about mushrooms, green beans, peppers, asparagus, sprouts, Chinese cabbage, rod cabbage, and, and, and?

An intensely aromatic base for fried rice

Aromatics form the basis for an intense taste in every dish, regardless of whether it is fried rice, fish dishes, risotto or beef steak. They are often in the background, but they definitely deserve the spotlight, because without them, not only fried rice would taste bland and bland.

They are known by many names (the French speak of "Mirepoix", in Germany they have "Soup greens" and the Italians cook with "Soffritto") and they consist of many different ingredients. For fried rice, garlic, shallots, onions, ginger, chillies and spring onions are mainly used, which give the dish a strong aroma.

Here, too, you can of course experiment depending on your taste and the spices and garnish used. However, spring onions are an absolute must, as they are sprinkled on the fried rice for a bite and a bit of color.

The right seasoning for fried rice

Some might contradict me, but dipping rice in soy sauce and heating it up in a wok still makes you feel good none fried rice. In fact, a small dash of soy sauce is perfectly fine - if at all necessary. With the right technique and good quality rice, proteins and vegetables, you can and should use only minimal spices. Light soy sauce, roasted sesame oil, fish sauce, rice vinegar or mirin go particularly well with fried rice.

Of course, you can also season with dry spices (e.g. curry powder or chilli flakes), salt, pepper and sugar - you read that correctly, sugar, but more on that later. To estimate the exact amount of spices, you should simply season your fried rice again and again. However, be careful with the dosage of salt in combination with salty sauces or with the amount of sugar in combination with sweet sauces.

How to Garnish Fried Rice

When you hear the term "garnish", you probably think of the final fine-tuning to beautify a dish. You are not so wrong if one goes by the general definition of a dictionary (see: "a small amount of an ingredient to decorate a dish"). But when it comes to fried rice, the toppings are just as important as any other ingredient.

A little roasted sesame or fresh herbs such as mint, basil, coriander or perilla (shiso) give fried rice texture and a fresh touch. Depending on your taste, you can also experiment with pickled chillies, kimchi or fresh cucumber, so let your creativity run free and use whatever you have in your kitchen.

5 helpful answers to your fried rice questions

1. How many calories are fried rice in and is it healthy?

That is a good question, but unfortunately there is no clear answer to it, because what does "healthy" actually mean? Personally, I tend to live according to the motto "enjoy everything in moderation", but of course everyone can decide for themselves. The best answer I can give at this point is that fried rice probably doesn't fit every health consciousness. On the one hand there is oil that is used for frying - but when cooking you can at least determine how much of it you use and reduce the amount to a minimum. Since rice has a high glycemic index, it won't fill you up for long, even if proteins and vegetables spice up the dish. In general, you should always keep in mind that homemade fried rice is of course much better for you than if you buy it at the snack bar around the corner. This gives you control over what ends up in your pan and what doesn't. As is often the case, a reason to cook more often yourself - we are happy to help you.

Here are 5 quick tips to make your fried rice even "healthier":
Look for a higher nutrient content and use proteins and vegetables with less fat, e.g. B. Chicken breast, prawns, crabs, edamame (soybeans), carrots, broccoli, peas, spinach or tomatoes. Use sesame oil (or another healthy oil like coconut oil) for frying - this will create an aromatic base for your rice and use less oil Use without sacrificing flavor. Add lots of aromatics for a bold taste and try to avoid sauces altogether. Garnish and serve fried rice with fresh herbs and ingredients like cucumber and kimchi. Replace white rice with brown rice, basmati rice, or even other healthy grains that have a lower glycemic index.

2. How long do the leftovers keep in the refrigerator?

More is not always more - this is especially true with fried rice. Small to medium-sized portions have much more room to roast in your wok (or the largest pan you can find) and therefore lead to the best and tastiest results. If you now have leftovers, that's okay too, of course! You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheat them as described below.

3. How long do the leftovers keep in the freezer?

Ideally, you don't freeze fried rice in the first place, because it tastes best when the vegetables are freshly prepared and can be warmed up after a maximum of three days. But frozen and thawed? D rather not! So try to only prepare as much as you can eat. This dish is prepared so quickly that there really is no need to freeze it for later.

4. How do you reheat fried rice?

To reheat the rice, just stick to the original recipe. Take a large pan or wok, heat a dash of oil in it, add the rice and stir it constantly. The whole thing shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

5. Can you eat fried rice cold?

I can hardly keep up with counting the number of times I've run to the refrigerator in the middle of the night to eat the remains of my lunch cold and straight from the can. Still, some dishes taste better cold than others, and fried rice is definitely one of the best dishes hot out of the pan. It's also edible cold, of course, but since it only takes a few utensils and less than 10 minutes, I would say it's worth making fresh. If you disagree, you can of course also eat it cold.

The 7 golden rules for perfect fried rice

Fried rice is a (pretty) simple combination of ingredients, there's no doubt about that. What makes it so special is how it is prepared. There are tons of myths and rumors about it - I was just as skeptical as you might be. But I went on a hunt for the most common mistakes to end up compiling the ultimate list of golden rules and I want you to benefit from my hard work and take it to heart. I Agree?

1. Use dried out rice

Yeah, you heard right. For the perfect consistency, you should cook a portion of rice the day before, spread it on a baking sheet and let it cool down. Then stow the rice in an airtight container or wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator. Before you put the rice in the wok or pan, you can carefully break it into smaller and larger pieces and individual grains with your hands.

If you don't have the time or patience for this step, you can use fresh rice if necessary. Spread it on a baking sheet while you prepare the other ingredients - this will allow the liquid on the surface of the grains to evaporate.

2. Work with a light hand

As I said earlier, you shouldn't drown rice in soy sauce or similar sauces. Always use a small amount of spices and sauces and taste after each addition to get the perfect umami taste.

Do not press the rice or eggs to the bottom of the pan. Fried rice should be light and fluffy - if you mash the rice grains, you will keep them from sticking together. The egg should also be airy and form thin threads or small pieces. To do this, your wok or pan needs to be very hot. If you stir constantly with a wooden spoon or a spatula and loosen the egg, it will get exactly the right consistency.

3. The magic of a pinch of sugar

To make some of the rice grains extra crispy and even caramelize, you should add a teaspoon of sugar. Even this small amount is enough if your pan is red hot. I will explain why this is so important in the next tip.

4. Cook in a large pan on high heat

A wok is the ideal utensil for preparing fried rice because it offers enough space to swirl the rice and prevents the grains from burning. All the ingredients get evenly heated - a normal frying pan can hardly keep up. If, like me, you don't have a wok, you should always use the largest pan in your kitchen. If the portion you want to prepare only barely fits in this pan, it is worth preparing the rice in portions, because it will only fry perfectly if there is enough space.

Did you find the largest pan? Then heat them over medium to high heat, keeping the temperature constant. Use a vegetable oil of your choice (or another oil with a high boiling point - our article on oil tells you more) and add the rice to the pan. Then it is called: pan, pan pan! Each grain of rice should come into contact with the oil and be coated in it. This is the only way to brown and roast the rice optimally. This can take a while, but it is essential, so don't stop panning too quickly.

If you are cooking in portions, you should put all of the fried rice back into the pan after the last portion before adding the remaining ingredients.

5. The importance of mise en place

Here's an especially important fried rice tip that every cook should take to heart: Prepare your ingredients. Cut and measure everything beforehand and place it in small bowls. Fried rice needs your full attention and this is the only way to gradually add everything to the pan without stopping to pan the rice like a pro.

The temptation to modify fried rice significantly and add more and more ingredients is great, but you should resist it. Instead of "clearing out" your fridge or freezer and just throwing everything into the wok, you should be careful with your ingredients. As with all dishes, it is about creating a balance of flavors instead of putting together a careless mix.

I recommend you choose a maximum of 2 - 3 ingredients from each of the main components and of course only use one type of rice. Remember, the simplest recipes are often the tastiest.

A good fried rice depends on the correct preparation time depending on the ingredient. For example, the egg only takes a short time to cook, so it should never end up in the wok first. Instead, you should add it at the end or cook it first, remove it from the wok and combine it with the rice at the end. In general, you can follow this rule of thumb to avoid overcooking or burning your ingredients: preheat the pan, add the oil (don't worry, it will smoke, but that's intentional), and then add aromatics, vegetables, proteins, rice, spices and egg continue cooking. Take the wok off the stove and finally add the garnish.

A little addition to the timing: if you cut all the ingredients to roughly the same size, they can cook evenly and the fried rice is easier to eat later (it's not called "bite-sized pieces" for nothing). You can also use pre-cooked ingredients such as leftover vegetables. Just toss it briefly in the pan before adding the rice so that it heats up.

7 easy fried rice recipes

Now that you know just about everything there is to know about the art of fried rice, it's time to get started cooking. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from around the world inspired by fried rice.

Published on July 13, 2018