One of the most popular foods in China and in every Chinese restaurant that you may come across is fried rice. Matter of fact, it is almost the staple food in China, and many people consider it the most essential comfort food. One of the best things about Chinese fried rice, especially take-out rice, is the sides that come with it. There is always something tasty about them. Even better, there are multiple recipes that you can follow to make your version of Chinese fried rice at home and end up with perhaps the most delicious meal for a few days.
That said, we will explore all the perks of Chinese fried rice by looking at its popularity, history, and how to make Chinese egg fried rice at home.
What is in Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice?
The main ingredient in Chinese vegetable fried rice is cooked chilled rice. As for the rice, you can choose to either use brown or white rice. The main thing to do is ensure that the rice is cooked, then put it in the refrigerator to cool before adding it to your pan with vegetables. When making Chinese vegetable fried rice, always remember that freshly cooked rice may not work well in any recipe that you choose to use.
Eggs are also an essential ingredient in Chinese vegetable fried rice. You need to add eggs to add great flavor, protein, and texture to your rice. Carrots, green onions, peas, and onions are also ingredients you will find in Chinese vegetable fried rice. They form the base mix of veggies that you would need to use for Chinese fried rice, but you can always add in other veggies such as cauliflower and fresh beans if you like.
Also, freshly minced garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce are primary ingredients in Chinese vegetable fried rice. If using traditional soy sauce, you need to limit the amount you use. Oyster sauce, on the other hand, is one of the main flavor boosters in fried rice. Lastly, toasted sesame oil and butter are the best way to stir fry rice.
Why is fried rice so popular in China?
The earliest record of Chinese fried rice dates to the Sui Dynasty (589-618 AD) in Yangzhou in China. Since then, the Yangzhou fried rice has been the standard by which all other Chinese fried rice dishes are judged. Fried rice is believed to have started because the Chinese wanted to reuse leftover rice due to several Chinese taboos against wasting food. Today, you will find so many fried rice dishes in most restaurants and homes throughout China.
The key to making fried rice is using rice that was previously cooked because it is much dryer and to avoid wasting food. Older rice (2-3 days old) is preferred because it does not leave the dish wet and gloppy.
What kind of rice is used in Chinese fried rice?
Medium to long grain rice works best for Chinese fried rice recipes. Most chefs prefer to use Jasmine rice, mostly because it is slightly dry in texture, and it produces fluffy, sturdy grains that do not fall apart or clump together when you fry them. Also, jasmine rice has a delightful light floral aroma and is very easy to maneuver in your cooking pan.
If Jasmine rice is unavailable, you can opt for medium-grain rice like brown rice or Calrose. When using any of these two, only incorporate them into your recipe when they are a day old or chilled because they are sticker than Jasmine rice.
When making Chinese fried rice, you should avoid short-grain rice such as glutinous rice or sweet/sushi tice because they have a very soft texture, and they stick together when you fry them. This type is great for plain table rice or flavoring purposes.
How to make Chinese egg fried rice at home
Begin by soaking the rice for approximately 20 minutes, then cook it until it is slightly soft. When cooking, ensure that it doesn’t get mushy, otherwise you may end up with a different dish. As the rice cooks, you can start making the scrambled eggs that you would add to the rice later on. How do you do this?
Heat cooking oil in a wok or cooking pan on the highest flame before adding chopped garlic. Fry the garlic until it browns slightly. Use a small piece of star anise/flower and 1 strand of mace for flavor and a great aroma. If you are making about 4 servings, use about 1-star anise. However, if you intend to use soya sauce then you can skip using star anise and mace.
After, you can add in spring onion whites, carrots, and green capsicums. Fry them all together on high heat until they are slightly cooked but crunchy. Once they are crunchy, lower the heat setting to medium, then break the eggs into a bowl before adding them to the pan. You can either beat the eggs until they are frothy for a fluffier consistency or leave them as is. Now that your eggs are in the cooking pan, then scramble them lightly and cook them until soft before adding vinegar.
It is better to add the soya sauce when adding the vinegar, but you can always leave it out if you don’t want it to be part of the recipe. Sprinkle salt and pepper powder over the veggies, and the eggs then mix everything until the eggs fully cook. At this point, you can now add spring onions and stir it up for about 2-3 minutes before you add the cooked rice to it.
Sometimes, you may have to add salt and oil to ensure the perfect consistency. Mix the rice, eggs, and veggies on very high heat for about 5-6 minutes. Once ready, serve when it is hot.
The egg fried rice recipe that we have just talked about is easy to prepare and would be ready in about 30 minutes. While it is wholesome and nutritious and doesn’t need a side dish, you can always add some stew or meat to the side.