Making homemade fried rice from leftover plain takeout rice - tips?

I got Chinese takeout on Saturday and have quite the pile of leftover plain white steamed rice. Poking around online for fried rice recipes, I came across many fences to the idea that leftover chilled rice is ideal for homemade fried rice, because it is slightly dried out comped to fresh-cooked so the grains stay more separated. Or something.

Anyway is there any veracity to that claim? If so, is * counts on fingers * four-day old rice TOO old and dried out?

Recipes welcome, of course, in addition to any advice or tips, but basically I’d be refrying it with some chili oil, scrambled egg, and lots of onion and other veggies.

I wish I started this thread earlier – was hoping to fix this for dinner tonight. :o

You’re right about leftover rice being perfect for fried rice, and I’d still be ok with using it 4 days out (heck, I’d use it at 5 days out too).

It’s very hard to screw up fried rice. It’s pretty much just meat, veggies, and rice all cooked in sesame oil with soy sauce added later. Just cook the scrambled egg in a separate pan and add at the end.

And soy sauce. If the rice is too dried, toss in a bit of water as you’re stir frying, the rice will soak up the liquid.

Cook the veggies, adding in order of how done you want them–onions first, then carrots, then cabbage. Add rice and soy sauce. Crack in the eggs and stir up. When the egg is cooked, you’re done.

It’s pretty much impossible to screw up, fried rice is the standard way to use up last night’s leftovers in many places. Dump leftover Chinese food (or, as the Chinese call it, “food”) into wok with rice, get a little sizzle going, you’re done.

sunbird seasonings makes a mix that I often use. Just add oil, onions, soy sauce, eggs, veggies, and you choice of meat.
I make this with Trader Joes Tempura Chicken

(Dang, links not working on my ipad)

Add some minced garlic, some grated ginger and a touch of hoisin sauce, if you have any on hand. Saute the garlic and ginger last, before adding in the rice, soy and other ingredients. And I second the recommendation to cook the egg separately.

I use lots of garlic, scallion, soy, ginger (powdered is okay if its what you have). For veggies I like peas, green beans, broccoli,and/or cabbage. Chili oil, sure… scrambled egg is a-ok too. I just use any old leftover meat I have kicking around (which is usually chicken). I don’t cook the egg separately, I just make a spot for it in the pan by pushing the other stuff to the side.

Sesame oil may make it seem more ‘authentic chinese’ but it’s an expensive ingredient. My mother used to save bacon fat* and start by melting a half-tablespoon in the wok, rather than splashing in sesame oil. Once the lard was all-melted (it melts quickly) she knew it was time to throw in the hard veggies and start swishing away.

*Then again, her restaurant was in the deep south, so maybe that was a regional preference back then.

Heh, I have bacon fat and sesame oil and ginger and peas and carrots, and was planning to throw them all in anyway, so, yay validation! (Well, ok, it wouldn’t have occurred to be to use the bacon fat… But I might now!)

And thank you, frazzled, I was particularly wondering about the age/driedoutedness so I’m glad to get at least one “yay” vote.

Fr those of you who are advocating cooking the egg separately: why?

I find if you stir the egg directly into the rice it coats the grains and doesn’t become distinct egg pieces. If cooked separately you get small chunks of egg.

I use the method Hello Again mentioned - push rice aside, scramble the egg in the center of the wok and once cooked mix it back into the rice.

Kimchi fried rice is the best thing. Just putting it out there.

All good ingredients. I’m going to add some diced water chestnuts in my next batch because I really like them. And then throw in some nuts in the individual portions, kind of like 8 Treasure Chicken.

One of my little tricks I find that a swervy style potato mashers

is one of the easiest ways to break up clumped left-over rice.
Although rubbing it between your hands works very well too.

Making fried rice is a great way to use leftover rice. The key to making great (dare I say authentic?) Chinese fried rice is to work fast over very high heat. This prevents overworking the rice which makes it sticky, flash vaporizes the moisture content from the ingredients to avoid “steaming”, and helps promote the smoky fragrance and aromatics of good fried rice. Once you have all your ingredients ready, including the pre-cooked vegetables and meat that you will be using, the fried rice should take you no more than 2-3 minutes from start to finish.

Here’s how I recommend making your fried rice. Get your wok or stir-fry pan smoking hot and add a little bit of oil. Add your beaten eggs and dump your rice in the middle of that. Someone mentioned cooking the eggs separately and adding them in the end but that defeats the purpose of the egg which is used not only to add flavour and aroma to the dish, but also to help keep the rice separated by coating it with lecithin from the yolk. Work fast to mix the egg into the rice and to cut up the egg into small pieces. You don’t want to press or stir the rice too much or you will activate its starch making it sticky. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of freeze-dried chicken stock, (not the liquid kind). Add your pre-cooked vegetables and meat and incorporate it into the rice. Again, touch the rice as little as possible and try to mix everything by shaking and tossing the wok, but keeping it close to the heat source. Finally, add your soy sauce and/or oyster sauce or whatever umami-enhancer you want to use by dribbling it around the edge of the pan, (not directly onto the rice) and toss. Finish with green onions and pickled ginger slivers if you wish, and serve.

Sesame oil’s not that expensive in the amounts you’ll actually use, unless you’re buying it at a regular supermarket in the “Asian” section.

Go to an Asian market and get Kadoya brand from Japan. You should be able to get it for about $1/oz, and an 8 oz bottle will last a LONG time.

You can also fry in a mix of regular vegetable oil and finish with the sesame oil for flavor; that’s probably the best way to do it.

You want the egg to coat the rice to make the individual grains fluffy and separated. However, it sounds like you’re pouring the egg over the rice, because you say you are not getting distinct pieces of egg. Reverse the order and pour the egg in first and then lay the rice on top of that and do a flipping/chopping motion with the spatula to mix and cut up the egg.

Just to clarify, WHAT kind of oil? I would use peanut or canola oil. Sesame oil is very strongly flavored, it would overwhelm everything else.

I fry the rice in a pan or wok, then make a little hole in the middle of the rice pile, put a dab of more oil, and crack the egg in there. Then after the egg has partially hardened up, I slowly stir in the rice, so I get both pieces of egg, and rice coating. (Imagine that you’re making biscuits or pasta, and you make a depression in the middle of your flour for the eggs to go before mixing it all together. Do this, only with rice.) This is the best method, IMO.

Also I have to dispute the earlier poster who cooks the egg, then rice, then meat/veggies, in that order. I would suggest doing the exact opposite. When the meat and veggies are cooked, add the rice, fry it up a little, then do the egg in the hole trick, then give everything a few good stirs and let it set for a minute.

And peanut oil is the best for frying rice. Maybe a dab of sesame for flavor, but certainly not only sesame oil. Canola is a good substitute oil for everything because it’s basically flavorless and has a high smoke point, so you can use one of those high temp woks to flash fry everything and not have a bunch of burnt, bitter oil. Peanut oil is basically like canola only with a nice flavor, which makes it great for frying other things too, like chicken.

As far as I know, the main reason you want cold rice is because the starch undergoes a temperature related change, making it harder and easier to separate while cold, and then when you fry it, you’re in effect reversing that change, while coating it with a little bit of oil so it doesn’t stick back together.

Sesame oil’s just a flavoring ingredient- I’d think for even a good solid 3-4 cups of rice, only a tablespoon at the absolute most would be needed. Otherwise just use whatever neutral flavored oil you have on hand to fry the rice- soybean, canola, peanut, sunflower, whatever.

Then, when it’s all fried up well, add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

I prefer canola oil but anything with a high smoke point will do. Corn oil is good, as is peanut oil, if you don’t mind the slight nuttiness it imparts.

And I would never use sesame oil because as you say, it’s just too strong. Besides, it’s not used as a “flavourer”, but as an aromatic accent. Just not in fried rice.