What is Egg Fried Rice?
Egg fried rice is a simple but versatile dish. On its own, it is delicious vegetarian comfort food, but when combined with other ingredients such as shrimps or chicken, it instantly becomes a sumptuous dish.
Another great thing about this dish is the ingredients are readily available in the pantry, and it’s really inexpensive to make.
Ingredients for Egg Fried Rice
Long grain white rice is the traditional choice for this dish. It retains its shape better, and the texture is not sticky when cooked.
But other types of rice can be used as well. Whole grain rice, brown rice, or a combination of white long grain and wild rice add flavor and texture to this dish. Basmati rice is a good alternative too with its crispier texture and distinctive aroma. Short grain or round rice has a sticky texture, therefore it is not the preferred choice for this dish.
Any kind of large eggs can be used. White, brown, free-run, free-range, organic, and omega-3 eggs are all good depending on personal preference.
3. Green Onions
Green onions, also sometimes called scallions, are commonly used in Chinese cooking. Green onions and scallions look very similar but they can be distinguished by looking at the stem ends.
Green onions have a slightly rounded bulb stem end, whereas the stem ends of scallions are not rounded out. They have an “oniony” flavor but not as intense as onions. The white part of the green onions has a stronger flavor than the green part.
In general, the whole green onion is used in Chinese cooking, but some recipes use only the green part when it is just for garnishing.
Tips For Egg Fried Rice
1. Use Day-Old Rice
Cooked rice stored in the refrigerator for at least a day dries the grains out just enough to produce a crisp and slightly chewy texture when fried.
Warm, freshly cooked rice is too soft and soggy for this dish. Even when using cooled fresh rice, it doesn’t produce the kind of texture that good fried rice should have.
2. Rinse Your Rice Well
Rinse uncooked rice with water a few times until the water becomes clear. This will remove some of the starch in the rice, and prevent stickiness when it is cooked.
3. Do Not Stir
Stir fry is a common English term seen in Chinese recipes. But the actual Chinese word for fried in this recipe is “chow” as in chow mein, aka fried noodles. There is a different Chinese word for stir, which means to move things around.
For this dish “chow” (fried) involves lifting the rice off the bottom of the pan with the spatula and flipping it over in quick, successive movements. This allows the moisture at the bottom of the pan to evaporate and prevents the rice from getting soggy.
The flipping actions also separate the rice grain better and make sure they are evenly coated with the oil and egg.
4. Try Using Different Mix-ins
The variety of mix-ins that can be added to this dish is almost endless. Vegetables such as peas, sweetcorn, Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) stems, broccoli florets, etc. just to name a few.
If firm vegetables such as carrots or broccoli are used, they have to be diced and blanched in water for a couple of minutes and drained thoroughly before adding into the fried rice.
Besides eggs, other cooked proteins like shrimps, minced beef, diced ham, or BBQ pork are great choices too. Mix-ins only require heating through, so they should be added in when the rice has been thoroughly fried.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Can I Serve This Dish With?
You can serve this versatile dish as a side dish to any entrees such as pan-fried fried pork chops, BBQ pork, sweet and sour shrimps, and chicken in lemon sauce.
If you are serving this dish with vegetables or protein mix-ins as the main course, then a side dish of Chinese broccoli (Gai Lai) or baby Bok Choy with oyster sauce will complement the meal.
2. Can I Prepare This Dish In Advance?
Rice can be cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days in advance. Bring the rice to room temperature before cooking.
3. Can This Dish Be Frozen?
This dish is best served immediately.
Egg Fried Rice Recipe
- 6 cups Cooked White Rice Day-Old Rice
- 3 Eggs Beaten
- 3 Green Onions Finely Chopped
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
- Bring day-old rice to room temperature and loosen it with a fork.
- Heat cooking oil in a wok.
- Add egg mixture till it begins to set.
- Add rice and mix well with the egg, breaking up the eggs into small pieces with the spatula.
- Add salt and mix well.
- Add soy sauce around the edge of the pan then mix well with the rice.
- Add green onions and sesame oil and mix well.
- Day-old rice is preferable because freshly cooked rice is too soggy for this dish.
- To avoid sogginess use a flipping motion when frying the rice by lifting it from the bottom of the pan with a spatula and folding it over in quick motions.
- Other ingredients such as cooked shrimps, chicken or minced beef, diced BBQ pork, or ham can be added to this dish.
- Blanched and drained frozen mixed vegetables, sweet corn, chopped Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) stems, small broccoli florets are tasty vegetarian options too.
- For fish sauce fans, reduce the amount of soy sauce and add some fish sauce.