Fried rice

What’s the secret to keep it from sticking and turning pasty?
What’s in the store bought seasoning that makes it taste a’ la restaurant?

I don’t know exactly how you make your fried rice, but one thing you MAY be doing wrong is… are you using freshly cooked rice? If so, STOP doing so, immediately!

The boiled rice you use when making fried rice SHOULD have cooled down to room temperature, at least. In fact, it’s best if it’s dried out a bit.

Bear in mind, just as “French toast” was originally a way to salvage bread that had gotten a bit too stale to eat, the Chinese concocted “fried rice” as a way to salvage leftover, day-old cooked rice.

IF you boil some rice, then use it immediately to make fried rice, it’s liable to clump together in a sticky mass.
If you plan to make fried rice, I suggest you boil the rice the day before, and put it in the fridge overnight. Don’t worry, even if the rice dries out a bit, the mositure should be restored by the oil, soy sauce, and meat juices, when you fry the rice.

Day old seems to do well. Freezing doesn’t help. What is the bgest way to dry it out?

Use ride that has been cooked and then chilled, day old and dry. Put a touch of sesame oil and about two tablespoons of cooking oil in the wok and heat up. Crush a clove of garlic and saute the garlic, do not let it burn, remove the garlic before it starts to turn brown. Stir in your meat along with some soy sauce and oyster sauce. Saute the meat and either place the cooked meat on a plate of slide it up the rim of the wok. Saute some freshly grated ginger, about a teaspoon or two and remove it before it burns. Saute your vegetables in the hot oil. Either remove the vegetables or spread them out to the rim and leave the bottom of the wok open. If you want, add a couple of eggs for scrambling. Cook the eggs till scrambled and crumbling. Add you rice to the wok, add a touch more oil, a touch more soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste. Heat the rice through and add the meat and veggies.

This is a very basic method, you can add or delete items if you want. You can use one of the supermarket fried rice spice packets but the real spices and sauces taste better.


Some rices are just stickier than others. I like to use long grain brown rice for stir fry. The white rice I have is Calrose and that stuff always seems to come out somewhat sticky.

Check here for some rice advice.

If you are not washing your rice, that is going to be one of your biggest problems. I’m going to post a recipe for shrimp fried rice over in the Ultimate Recipe Thread in a day or two since you are asking about it.

One of the big secrets is to use a dose of five spice powder when you fry the rice.

Just wanna say, fresh ginger definately makes a difference over powdered. Lots of supermakets have fresh ginger in the produce section now.

Seasoning wise, it’s the five spice powder.
Surprising. I’d quit using it because I thought it was mostly cinnamon; but it lists Fennel and anise first (the fifth being pepper). That is the restaurant taste.
Today’s rice was only a few hours old; I’ll try washing the rice next time. Beef, mushrooms onions and broccolli. Yum.

Bingo! As usual, Zenster nailed the food problem. (The man knows his stuff. If it weren’t like a few inconveniences like his living a few coupla thousand miles away I’d arrive on his doorstep daily, doing puppy eyes and hoping to be fed.)

Rinse the hell outta the rice first. I hate this step because it’s niggly frustrating to pick the grains out of the colander but it makes a world of difference. It took me forever to figure out it was causing the gelid clumpiness.

One thing…don’t peek. Once you’ve brough it to a boil and kicked the heat back for the steaming part, don’t lift the lid. It messes up the internal economy of whatever’s going on in there. When it’s done, and not before, then pop the lid and fluff, fluff, fluff. And it’s gotta be cold (or at least room temp) before you try to fry it. It’s basically intended as a way to stretch leftovers, y’know?

This may make true foodies barf but I usually make rice with quickie stir-fries in mind. So I cheat. I add tasty stuff to the rice water upfront, like a titch of 5 spice powder, some grated fresh ginger, minced garlic–whatever. It permeates the rice upfront and if nothing else makes rice taste like something for a “eat out of tupperware in front of the fridge” snack.

Just adjust the seasonings later if used for something that involves real cooking. And don’t try to make rice pudding from it.


Schrodinger’s cat.
If you don’t lift the damn lid, how do you know if the cat is, er the rice is done?

Shrimp Fried Rice
Chinese Rice Dish
Preparation time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4-8 People

2-3 Cups of leftover cooked long grain white rice
3 Green onions
3 Eggs
2 Carrots
1 Clove garlic
2-3 Tsp Soy sauce
1-2 Tsp Oil
½-¾ Cup Small bay shrimp
½ Tsp Roasted sesame oil
½ Cup Chicken stock
¼ Cup fresh peas (or frozen)
¼ Tsp Five spice powder
¼ Tsp Ground white pepper

Please refer to the recipe thread on the correct preparation of rice. You will want to cook the rice needed for this recipe the day before.

Warm a large dry skillet over low heat. Separate three yolks and one egg white into a bowl and add one or two spoonfuls of water. Beat the eggs well. Add a small amount of oil into the pan and add the eggs. Stir often but avoid breaking up the mass into too small pieces. Cook until firm and reserve for later use.

Peel and dice the carrots into small (3-5mm) pieces. Warm another large dry pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of chicken stock and begin to heat through the diced carrots. Once the stock has evaporated and the carrots are almost tender, add a teaspoon of oil and the chopped clove of garlic. Do not brown the garlic. Once the garlic has sweated, add the remaining oil, the roasted sesame oil and the cold cooked rice. Stir and heat the rice through. Add the five spice powder and the white pepper while the rice heats through. If the pan begins to dry out too much add some of the chicken stock. Stir in the soy sauce and evenly coat the rice.

Chop the green onions finely. Reserve half (both the green and white parts) for garnish and add the remaining amount to the rice along with the peas and shrimp. At the last minute mix in the scrambled egg and remove from the heat.

To make an elegant service place a teaspoon of green onion in the bottom of a small one cup bowl. Fill the bowl with rice and gently tamp the rice flat, even with the rim of the bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with the service plate. Hold the two together tightly and invert in one swift motion. A glistening dome of scented rice studded with shrimp and vegetables will be your reward.
Note: Avoid using too much roasted sesame oil, its flavor will overpower the other ingredients. The rice should not be wet or too oily and should fluff apart into separate grains easily.


*Originally posted by carnivorousplant *
Schrodinger’s cat.
If you don’t lift the damn lid, how do you know if the cat is, er the rice is done?

Faith, carni! Faith and science!
And get the cat away from the rice cooker; it can get inquistive faces burned and fur in the rice.

Just meant to trust the timing. Lifting the lid to check up loses moisture and heat needed to cook the rice. Giving it a test stir is worse; it breaks the outer coating and makes the rice stickeier.

Actually the ineffable Christopher Kimball advises against rinsing OR boiling rice; says both contribute to excess water and stickiness. He has a great method for cooking rice in a skillet. (And it works great, so I don’t know why I revert to bad habits.)

Put 1 cup of long-grain white rice, 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt into a skillet. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes then clap on the lid and simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes longer. (Hey, so the time varies. Depends on how old/dry your rice is. When in doubt split the difference and let it sit uncovered for a few minutes to keep absorbing.)

Or try this:
Put 2 tsp. oil in a medium sauce pan; warm it up then plop in the rice and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 1 and 1/2 cups water/stock and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and bring it to a full boil. Kick back the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (You can pop the lid in the first few minutes to make sure the water is simmering, not boiling.) When it’s done take it off the heat and let it sit, no peeking, for at least 10 minutes.

It should come out fine.


Three way to cook rice: Rapid boil, absorption and microwave. Microwave is the best. Precise settings and timings will vary with your microwave. In our case 1 cup rice, 2 1/2 cups of water, on high for 7 1/2 minutes (uncovered else it boils over everywhere), stir then again for 4 1/2 minutes. Spot on every time.

If you are wanting to fry then use long grain rather than Calrose, rinse til the water is clear, cook then let cool down and place in refridgerator. Fry up the next day.

Rice. Is. Supposed. To. Clump.

*Originally posted by TVeblen *

[Swiping from Cecil, himself!]

Zenster! TVeblen! Professors of Cooking
Talked about rice and the art of not looking
(Not bad, huh? Don’t worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty bad but it gets a lot worse)
Carnivorousplant’s rice was starchy and thick
And T-Veb and Zen both suggested some tricks
"Rinse off the rice, son, and then let the rice steam
then then let the rice cool and your dish is a dream!
“And make SURE that your rice type is really long-grain!”
“Since stir-fried risotto is really quite lame”
Fenris said with an air of somebody who’s tried
and taken the product of short-grain and fried
the gloppy risotto that results from that rice
and he’ll tell you the outcome is not very nice.
And one tiny change that will make you quite glad
into Zenster’s recipe, some Mirin you add!
Follow these tips and the the ones right above
and your fried rice your friends and your family will love!

Rhymin’ Fen.

Thank you, Dr. Seuss.

We have a no-fail rice cooking recipe so you never have to lift the lid to check. From a fabulous cookbook (currently we are eating Four-Spice Pork and Spinach from this book, mmmm) The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp.

1 cup long grain rice
1 3/4 cup water (if using short grain, use 1 1/2 cup water)

Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low (you have it right when wisps of steam are escaping from around the lid). Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Fluff and eat. It’s always perfect.

This is a fabulous cookbook by the way, although some of the recipes get reaaaalllly involved.