fried rice help

Ive been trying different recipes and ingredients and have been able to make good tasting rice, with good texture. but there is that distinct good chinese fried rice flavor from a good place missing. not crap like panda express.

ingredients i have tried, jasmine rice, basmati rice, hoisin sauce, hot sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, egg, green onion, garlic, ginger. on various heat levels, overnight rice, fan blowed rice, and combinations of above ingredients on a gas stove.

i believe i did it once a couple years ago when i wasnt really trying, with just jasmine rice, soy sauce and something else, on a electric stove.

this is frustrating me on what i am missing, or doing wrong.

The secret ingredient to restaurant-quality fried rice is not the food, it’s the wok, or more specifically, the range. They have a range specifically designed and built to provide very high heat to a wok. Your stovetop is simply not capable of generating enough heat to the pan to achieve restaurant-quality fried rice.

i can get mine pretty hot focusing the gas flame, enought to make the oil smoke pretty good. and like i said, i did it once on an electric stove. just dont know how.

I think they’re saying “OK, focus your gas flame just like that, and also make it 5 times that size at the same time”.

Agree with that. the restaurants are also set up for single portion cooking with multiple burners. At home we tend to get sucked into trying to cook for 6 people all on one burner. You need the BTUs to food cooked ratio right
To get a good fried rice you need the heat with the oil to get the appropriate fired nature. You need to match the thermal absorption of all the food with the output of your stove, which leads to doing things in a batch
When I don’t have the BTUs to get things hot I tend to stir fry the veggies (onion peppers things that need a char or fry) with some sesame oil and the soy sauce/spices and a small dash of fish sauce, then put that to one side.
I then get an egg or two beaten into a bowl , some vegetable oil (more thn you think) super hot in the pan then spoon in the rice , but not too much as you will jet end up stodging it all up. Add in some of the egg to get it fried into clumps then mixed in to the rice, dump the rice out and get to the next batch.
Once all the rice is done, get the pan super hot - dump the veggies and rice in, stir it up, throw in some more fish sauce and the rice vinegar ( may be a glass or white wine) basically anything than will add fragrance and steam, dump in the shrimp/peas/things that need a steam, put on the lid and keep the heat to something that keeps some steam and doesn’t stick the rice too much (although some charred crunchy rice is good)

This gets you the sweetness of the caramelized veggies with the deep spice flavors ( anise, scheswan pepper ect in my opinion needs some heat to crack it open) , you can get a good fried rice with the egg in small chunks rather than smooshed into the rice, then a steam on the fresher veg and the shrimp.
If you have the heat output like they do, and are set up for multiple single portion servings it can be done in a single batch staging the order of stuff going in.

As we tend to cook bigger batches of the same stuff with a single burner, you need to balance energy in to food mass being cooked and being able to get it all hot enough. Hence batch it in a different order would be my advice.

I make fried rice for dinner every week and it’s a big hit always. I also cook in a wok over a gas stove, so I don’t think the stove is the problem, to be honest.

I use Thai Scented rice (it’s aromatic, not really scented!), but that’s just personal preference. I use day old rice that was made in a rice cooker.

Here’s what it gets flavoured with:

I use reg cooking oil to fry the beaten eggg, then remove, fry the onions, near the end add mushrooms, then meat (I’m almost always using left overs, always already cooked meat, I like to add chilli sauce to the meat before I add it! Clearly another personal choice!)

This is where I add the day old rice, and spices. (I’m making a three dinner serving!)
1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin.
A large dash of Worcester sauce, some reg soya sauce and some Kechap Manis (thick sweet soya sauce)

After that it’s just flinging in the veggies you fancy, in the right order. At my house it goes like this;

Frozen peas
Chopped celery, snow peas, cucumber
Bean sprouts then green onions
Add back in the chopped fried egg

Garnish with chopped cilantro, add more soya and/or chilli sauce as you desire, a squirt of lime juice and it’s time to eat.

I can’t promise it will taste like take out though, we never order that stuff any more. Because home made is WAY better!

Good Luck !

I don’t doubt for one second that your home made is way better than your takeout, because you’re using exactly the ingredients you want. But the question was the secret of making it just like takeout, and yes it is the stove for sure.

(Something else may be involved too, but the MUCH hotter flame is definitely a big factor.)

You might be looking for the term “wok hei,” which is that flavor high heat cooking gets into the dish. Otherwise, Serious Eats is always a good resource for food techniques of all kinds applied to a home kitchen.

Agree , but a gas flame is the same temperature regardless of kitchen. Its all about home much the gas the burner is pumping out and hence how much cold stuff thrown in the pan needs heating up whilst maintaining the heat sizzle. You can get a good flare off the water/oil vapour when you throw in a handful of veggies on a home burner, so long as it is just a one person meal.

Yes, for me to get anything remotely resembling wok hei, I have to stir fry everything in batches.

Lordy, how am I ever looking for a fried rice recipe that is any good at all.

All store-bought packets and all stuff I’ve tried online comes out tasting mediocre to crappy.

Honestly we are all probably all throwing randon crap in a Wok hoping it will turn out better. If in doubt use smaller batches.


Fish sauce. That’s what it is. You got to throw some in. My Chi/Filipino friend makes it on her home stove all the time for me. It’s wonderful. So you can make it good at home.

cooking up some rice now for tomorrow, gonna try tumeric and the worchester sauce see how it goes.

edit, i bought some fish sauce too, ill try that as well ^

Fried rice as a home food just needs rice, scallions, and eggs.

If you have more stuff like roast pork (chasau) or Napa cabbage then great. Fry the veg and then add the rice, in vegetable oil, flavored with sesame oil and soy sauce to taste.

Beat and scramble/fry the eggs lightly first and add at the end. I am lazy and just essentially make a big egg pancake, then slice it into strips to set aside.

Spicewise it’s very simple. A little salt, black pepper, white pepper, and ginger. Lazy man here uses powdered ginger, don’t tell my mom :D.

If you’re missing a flavor it’s probably white pepper, haven’t seen anyone mention it yet, but it’s key.

You can get fancier but that’s as basic a home made fried rice dish gets, and very satisfying.

And “American” substitutes work well, too, except the must have scallions and eggs. I often make it with cut up hot dogs and frozen peas in a pinch (I never run out of scallions or rice, haha).

Oh, and the rice should be cooked and let to dry out a bit to fry well. Like, leave it uncovered overnight in the fridge for a bit if you’ve just made it. It’s ideal with leftover white rice. Or if you must use newly cooked rice, use less water.

If you’ve never cooked with fish sauce, be advised that it will stink to high heaven if you put it in a hot wok.

Better to use loose rice than sticky ones. A small burner and a wide enough wok or pan with cover will do. Ordinary oil at the bottom of the wok the area of a letter “c” using thumb and forefinger. A test of how well you make it is to use just salt and garlic. Folks around here make great-tasting fried rice with just those two.

Pulykamell beat me to providing the term wok hei, which translates to ‘breath of the wok’ (roughly).

But wok hei isn’t just the result of high heat. The heat is the breath (professional wok burners are designed with multiple flame-rings to pump out over 80,000 BTU* while a typical residential stove will deliver about 10,000 BTU with a single ring and your average barbecue grill will push past 50,000 BTU) but that ‘breath’ is also “tainted” as a side-effect of the cooking technique and utensils. Yes, that’s right: Basically the specially-shaped spatula scraping across the super-heated metal bowl is adding minerals – iron – to your meal! :slight_smile: And, quite seriously, I’ve cooked on both iron and stainless steel woks and the iron provides a better wok hei taste.

*This is why I’m building a BBQ grill-sized rolling cart to set outdoors next to the Weber and house an actual wok-burner for my iron wok.

MSG? You can buy it by the pound in Asian supermarkets for a reason…

I agree the smell of fish sauce cans turn some off, you just need a bit. Open , quickly add a splash and close up. The cooking odor doesn’t bother me, but some folks balk at it. And, MSG too. If you’re not sensitive.