Thursday, May 7, 2009

DIY Fried Rice

As a child, one of my favourite takeaway dishes (from a Chinese restaurant) was fried rice. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the healthiest dish, laden as it was with chopped ham, curry powder (for the yellow colour) and most likely lashings of MSG. It sure was tasty, but! And compared to my mother’s homemade version, that had beaten egg stirred through it, there was no comparison – takeaway won every time.

Fast forward to the present, and decent fried rice is harder to find, because I’m now a picky eater. Any fried rice with peas receives the ‘get lost’ treatment. Ham bits, bah, you don’t know what you’re doing! And as for curry powder – what the??

The solution is to do it yourself, so you can put in what you like and leave out the rubbish. I generally include:
- a couple of medium-large prawns (peeled green, or cooked),
- some shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water (save a tablespoon or so of the soaking water to add to the rice),
- Chinese sausage (lap cheong) or, if you’re a thrillseeker, some diced bacon (not authentic, but good), or barbequed pork (char siu)
- Chopped egg omelette that is made in the wok prior to starting the fried rice

The secret, I’ve found, is in the sauce. Combine the ingredients from the recipe below, add it to the rice, give it a quick toss and you’ll end up with perfect fried rice, ideal for the picky eater.

Fried Rice made with delectable sauce
Serves 4

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbls vegetable oil
6 medium green prawns, peeled and quartered
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
150 g meat (Chinese sausage or BBQ pork), chopped
3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 mins, finely chopped
3 cups cooked rice
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts, washed and tailed

1. Make the omelette by adding the eggs to the wok, turning the wok so that the egg coats the bottom and side. Cook until barely set. Remove the omelette onto a plate, roll it up and chop into 1cm slices.

2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over med-high heat, until very hot. Add the prawns and stir around until just cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.

3. Reheat the wok and add heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil until very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and stirfry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the meat and mushrooms (and soaking juice) and cook for 1 minute. Then add rice and prawns to the wok.

5. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and sesame oil together in a cup, then add to the wok. Stir until rice is coated with the sauce.

6. Finally, add the chopped omelette and bean sprouts to the wok and heat through.

7. It’s ready to serve. This rice can be eaten alone (full of good stuff already) or as part of a banquet.


  1. oh my sister is exactly the same. she absolutely refuses to eat fried rice that has peas in it. i never thought there'd be anyone else like that!

  2. this looks great! i'm not a big fan of take-away fried rice either..

  3. This looks like a great tasting fried rice.

    I always finding making fried rice somewhat tricky getting it to cook in such a way that the rice doesn't turn out gloopy like a risotto. Looks like you've done a great job with this :)

  4. Why is it that mum's fried rice was never as good as a restaurant one? I don't know but I felt the same. I like the sound of this sauce though!

  5. It's funny how much your taste changes as you grow up. My mum used to stir jam through natural yoghurt and I always longed for the flavoured stuff. Now I'm returned to the jam method.

  6. hi Megan - it's scrumptious and really makes the rice taste great.

    hi shez - you know, I'm surprised that more people don't like peas in fried rice. To me, they are like devil's nose balls.

    hi Betty - yes, know that I know how, homemade is definitely better!

    hi Simon - Thanks, though I have an admission: I sometimes use a packet of SunRice 90-second Jasmine Rice - perfect grains!

    hi Lorraine - my mum's just tasted a bit bland. That restaurant MSG sure has a lot to answer for!

    hi Arwen - that sounds wonderful. Apricot jam would be fantastic!