For the love of fried rice!

Published 2:23 am Saturday, September 26, 2015


Who doesn’t like fried rice? I love it even when it is not so great from the take-out Chinese restaurants. I cooked fried rice a lot when my children were young. It was a great way to use leftover rice and other ingredients in the refrigerator.

Basically the definition of fried rice is a dish of steamed rice stir-fried in a wok, often mixed with other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, and meat. It is often served as the penultimate dish in Chinese banquets, just before dessert. It is said to have existed since 4000 BC and always an element of traditional Chinese cuisine; it was spread to Southeast Asia by nomads.

Every country seems to have its own version of fried rice. Even in China fried rice varies from region to region. In the Fujian region of China, the sauce for fried rice is thick, including mushrooms, meats, and vegetables. In the Khmer region the rice includes fried sausages, garlic, soy sauce, and herbs and eaten with pork. The Yangzhou fried rice is the most popular fried rice in China and is served with shrimp, scrambled eggs, along with barbecued pork. It is called “special fried rice” or “house fried rice”.

American fried rice is actually a Thai invention using hot dogs, fried chicken and eggs used as side dishes or mixed into the rice with ketchup. Apparently, this was served to GI’s during the Vietnam War, and now has become popular and commonplace throughout Thailand.

I got interested in the fried rice history when I read an article in the September “Bon Appetit” magazine. The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Adam Rapoport, lives in New York and orders a lot of Chinese delivery and fried rice is always in the mix. He tried to duplicate it at home but always found he used too much soy sauce or not enough, and it was usually more clumpy than crispy. So he called his friend, Danny Bowien, who has soared to success with his classics at his Mission Chinese Food restaurant in San Francisco and New York and asked him how to make really good fried rice.

I decided to try this fried rice even though it was made with some kettle-cooked potato chips and some beef jerky, but I found it was delicious. You can use any type of beef jerky, or use leftover short ribs or spareribs or leave out the meat.

Here are some things you should know before trying the recipe:

You do not need soy sauce. Season your rice with salt and a dash of sugar. (Fried rice is slightly sweet; you’ve just never noticed).

Warm, freshly made jasmine rice is your best bet. It is better than the leftover take-out stuff.

Don’t skimp on the oil.

Finish with chicken broth to deglaze the pan.


From September 2015 issue of “Bon Appetit” Magazine.

Beef Jerky Fried Rice

Serves 4

3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (can be found at Walmart)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 beaten large eggs

3 cups cooked jasmine rice

1 tsp. raw sugar

½ cup chopped white onion

½ cup crushed kettle-cooked potato chips

½ cup sliced beef jerky (I used Applewood smoked and it was great)

½ cup sliced scallions

Salt to taste

2 Tbsp. low-sodium chicken broth

Toppings: sliced red onions, torn cilantro and more potato chips

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Cook the mushrooms, cooking until just brown, about 1 minute. Pour in two beaten eggs and stir vigorously for 10 seconds; add the cooked jasmine rice. Pat down the rice and spread it out in an even layer, breaking up clumps, then vigorously toss everything together. Continue the process until grains dry out and separate, about 3 minutes.

Add the sugar, and then the onion, potato chips, and beef jerky. Then add the sliced scallions and add salt to taste. Cook, tossing, until onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Pour the chicken broth around the edges of the skillet; cook, tossing rice, until broth evaporates. Served topped with the onions, cilantro, and potato chips.

Try this! It was delicious.