Fried Rice

Leftover boiled rice makes a delicious comeback.
TIME 30 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
¼ cup peanut oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium bell pepper (preferably red), cored, seeded, and chopped
2 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 to 4 cups cooked long-grain white or brown rice, chilled for a few hours
2 eggs
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat down slightly if the mixture begins to burn. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

2 Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the skillet and return it to high heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic. Stir for about 15 seconds, then begin to add the chilled rice. Break up any lumps with the spatula, but resist the urge to stir it until the grains start to sputter and turn brown around the edges, 1 to 3 minutes. If at any point the rice begins to burn, lower the heat or remove the pan from the burner for a few seconds to slow down the cooking.

3 When the rice is sizzling, stir it around once and push it to the sides of the pan to make a well in the center of the pan. Crack the eggs on a flat surface and open them into the well, stir them quickly with the corner of the spatula to scramble them for about 30 seconds, then stir them together with the rice.

4 Add the vegetables back to the skillet and toss until they’re combined with the rice and heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Taste, adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or soy sauce, and serve.

  • 5 Early Additions to Fried Rice. In Step 1, use whatever vegetables you have handy or stir in any of these ingredients along with (or instead of) the raw vegetables:

1 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, chopped or grated
2 1 cup chopped eggplant
3 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
4 1 medium carrot, chopped or grated
5 1 cup bean sprouts

  • 5 Last-Minute Additions to Fried Rice. In Step 4, stir in any of these ingredients when you return the cooked vegetables to the skillet:

1 2 cups thinly sliced iceberg or romaine lettuce
2 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
3 1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
4 1 cup chopped cooked poultry, meat, or fish
5 ½ pound firm tofu, cut into small cubes

  • To start with raw rice: Cook a batch of Boiled Rice (brown or white) and chill 3 to 4 cups for at least a couple of hours.
  • To make a smaller batch: Cut the recipe in half if you have only 1½ to 2 cups of rice—perfect for 2 people.

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