Fried Rice is a favorite of The Latin Lover; well really, who doesn’t like fried rice? It’s fried, after all. This is the version I made yesterday, but it changes according to what I’m feeling and what I’m serving the rice with. Rice is a blank canvas for flavor! You will need cold rice, so plan ahead…there it is again! Speaking of planning ahead, a couple of days before I think I’m going to make fried rice, I cook 3-4 extra cups of rice. This is essential to good fried rice. You can end up with a gummy, sticky mess of fried rice, if you try to use freshly cooked, warm rice. I also prefer to use converted rice, but plain, everyday white rice works, too. Basmati, not so much. You’ll have to trust me on this. It didn’t turn out as I saw it in my Mind’s-Eye. The Goddesses Mind’s-Eye sees many things; many of these things don’t seem to materialize in the way her Mind’s-Eye sees them…hmmm…Between you and me, she needs to fix that!
You don’t have to have an Asian flavor profile. As I mentioned, rice is a blank canvas for flavors, so feel free to choose flavors that work with your main course, like the Tuscan Fried Rice, remember? But, this version has the more traditional Asian flavors, because, well,…we’re doing Chinese New Year this week!
As I mentioned, this is a great way to use up leftovers; that leftover supermarket roasted chicken from Sunday can be Tuesday’s Chicken Fried Rice and if you put enough vegetables in your fried rice, you don’t even need a salad or a side vegetable! Think a one-dish dinner! I understand you can successfully add firm tofu to fried rice, but The Goddess doesn’t do tofu. I don’t see the point of tofu, because we’re not vegetarian. I think of it the way Julia though of it…the food of the future!
Anyway, I’m off the soapbox now and we’re on topic again. I used Mai Que Lo sausages, a pork and chicken dried sausage. They have a sweeter taste with a hint of spice…and I do mean just a hint. You will need to find a good Asian market to purchase these, but you should do that anyway. Buy the package, usually a 1-pound package, use what you want (I used 2) and freeze the rest. They’ll keep frozen, for 3-4 months.
Chinese Fried Rice
- 2 Mai Que Lo sausages, thinly cut on the diagonal
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 4-6 cups cold, cooked white rice
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium carrot, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 bell pepper (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 stalk celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 of a zucchini, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, put through a press
- 3 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce or regular soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Before you start the actual cooking, cut the celery, onion, carrots, zucchini into about 1/2-inch dice. You want the pieces to be equal-sized. Set aside.
Heat a large heavy skillet (or wok) of medium-high heat. Add the sausages and sauté tossing frequently until they begin to color and release some of their fat, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet; set aside.
Beat the eggs and soy sauce together. Add to the skillet and scramble the eggs until they are dry; cutting them up as you scramble them. Set aside.
If needed, add oil skillet (or wok). Add the carrots and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the rice, ginger, garlic, onions, bell pepper, celery and zucchini. Let the whole thing stand for at least 30 seconds, then toss the mixture until the rice on the bottom comes to the top. Let stand again, for about 1 minute. Do this several times until the rice is thoroughly hot and picks up a bit of color. At this point, I usually add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce), sesame oil, chopped scallions and frozen peas, as well as the reserved sausage slices and scrambled eggs. Toss yet again until evenly mixed and the peas have thawed, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
NOTE: You may also add leftover chicken, pork or seafood and/or well-drained diced, firm tofu. Feel free to add green beans, reconstituted dried mushrooms, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, beans sprouts, straw mushrooms, snow or sugar snap peas, etc. if you have them and you want to use them. I would keep the total amount of vegetables to about 3 cups for this amount of rice.
Chinese Fried Rice Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
You want the sausages to pick up a bit of color and render some of their fat. That fat has really good flavor, so use it, please. These sausages are really tasty. They have a lovely sweetness that plays well off of the saltiness of the soy sauce.
When you cook the vegetables you need to decide with will need to cook the longest versus the least amount. I always add the carrots first, then the rice, garlic, ginger, onions, peppers and celery. This time I added some zucchini, too.
Traditionally fried rice is more of a stir-fry. I’ve never done it that way. Since I use a non-stick skillet as I do, then my cooking process is much more flexible and I think, easier to do.
I prefer to have the rice pick up a bit of color by actually “frying” a bit, so I don’t like to move the rice too much. Bear in mind, I’m not suggesting you let the rice get dry and hard or burn, just pick up a bit of color. (You can see some of the ever-so-slightly browned rice in the middle of the picture.) I usually use the skillet (and no spoon—it’s all in the wrist!!) to toss the mixture in the skillet. I had rice all over the stove the first few times I did this, but you’ll get the hang of it; I did. Practice, does truly make perfect…I’m a Goddess. I know these things!
Sweet soy is a fantastic product. I purchase mine, Lee Kum Kee band, at an Asian market, but some very well-stocked supermarkets may have it. It is great to use as a marinade or as a dumpling dipping sauce. I combine it with both garlic and ginger and paint it on chicken, then roast the chicken in a hot oven and serve some of the sweet soy as a dipping sauce for the chicken…it’s simple, but very nice with this…see the opening picture. That’s what it will look like.
For gluten-freeness, you’ll need to omit the sweet or regular soy sauce. Use a gluten-free tamari and add a bit of honey to mimic the sweet soy flavor. I think that hint of sweetness compliments the salty soy and you will enjoy the complexity of that mixture.
For us, the whole idea of fried rice is the rice, with whatever vegetables we have. The Latin Lover likes more rice, The Goddess like more “stuff”. This is kind of a happy medium and there were no complaints from either of us. I use whatever vegetables I have on hand. These have all made and continue to make an appearance now and then: green beans, reconstituted dried mushrooms (squeezed dry), baby corn, water chestnuts, broccoli florets, bamboo shoots, beans sprouts, straw mushrooms, snow or sugar snap peas, chopped cabbage or kale, etc. The constant is the seasoning “sauce”. I always use sweet (or regular) soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Those ingredients are always in our Chinese fried rice.
Remember, cook with abandon and have fun….What will find its way into yours?