How to cook perfect fried rice
How To Cook Fried Rice
Fried Rice Recipe
Perhaps the most mysterious thing about the mysterious Orient is their ability to cook perfect fried rice every time. You go to an Asian restaurant and order the chefs special fried rice and it's amazing. Delicious, individual grains of rice, not one big gluey clump of mush that more resembles a ball of wallpaper paste like what you get when you try to make it at home. How do they do it?
Believe it or not, it's actually not that hard. I learned the secret from one of my wife's best friends, a Chinese chef named David. David, along with his very strict mother, owns a Chinese restaurant in Phoenix Arizona and he was kind enough to share the secret of making perfect fried rice every time. I'm now going to share the secret with you so that you can amaze your friends with tasty fried rice dishes.
Cooking Fried Rice
Secret Step # 1: Wash & Soak The Rice
Rice is covered in starch and that is what makes the grains stick together so, according to chef David, you should always rinse the starch off the rice. Some have argued that this will wash away some of the nutritional value of the rice but I'm not sure how much of an impact that washing the rice would really have.
How To Wash the rice
Put the uncooked rice into an ordinary kitchen strainer and put the strainer under a running faucet. The water will run milky for a while as the starch washes down the sink. Keep the water running until it runs clear and not milky white.
Soaking the rice
Chef David says that, if you want a softer texture to your rice, you will have to soak it in water for at least thirty minutes.
Side Note: I have actually skipped this step a number of times when cooking on my boat and still managed to produce some very acceptable fried rice.
Cook Fried Rice Like A Chinese Chef
Secret Step # 2: Dry Fry The Rice
According to chef David, in order to cook perfect fried rice, you dry fry the rice in a sauté pan. If you have washed and soaked the rice as in step 1 above, then you will need to wait until the rice is thoroughly dry before moving on to this step.
How To Dry Fry Rice
This step has proven to be a little challenging for some people (my wife!) but most people shouldn't have too much trouble with it (please don't tell her I said that!) You simply pre-heat the sauté pan and then pour in the uncooked rice. In a few minutes, it will begin to change color. White rice, for example, gets even whiter. My wife cooks the rice until it starts to burn, If that keeps happening to you, consider ordering pizza.
Whether you choose to steam or boil your rice, make sure you season it with salt and pepper at the very least. You could also use stock, garlic or something else to add flavor to the rice.
Chinese Fried Rice Recipe
Secret Step # 3: Cook The Rice
It's time to cook the rice. Now don't get excited, I didn't say it was time to actually fry the rice. You see, in order to cook perfect fried rice, you need to cook it twice. The first time is by either steaming or boiling and the second time is the actual frying. Let's get cooking!
Some people boil rice, others, like me, prefer to steam it. For whatever reason, I never seem to be able to boil rice without making a mess of it. If I don't stir it, the bottom burns. This means that I end up turning the rice constantly which, I'm told by many chefs, is not something you want to do when cooking rice.
Cook Fried Rice Like A Chef
Secret Step # 4: Age The Rice
Chef David swears that this is the most important step in making perfect fried rice. He claims that the rice needs to be at least 2-3 days old before you fry it or it will come out clumpy and mushy. So, after you have cooked your rice by either steaming or boiling, allow it to cool before covering it and storing it in the fridge for a few days.
How To Make Perfect Chinese Fried Rice
Secret Step # 5: Massage The Rice
When chef David told me to massage the pre-cooked rice, I have to admit that I thought he was pulling my leg but he was deadly serious. After you have let the rice age for 2-3 days to allow it to dry out a little, you have to massage it between your fingers. This is so that the rice clumps break up into the individual grains. This will assist in making sure that the rice all cooks evenly.
How To Fry Rice
Secret Step # 7: Fry the rice.
Many people insist that you have to use a wok in order to cook perfect fried rice but I prefer to use a saucepan (I am probably using the wok wrong.) To perfectly fry rice, heat a little oil in the pan, preferably peanut oil. Peanut oil is often used in Asian cooking because, not only does it have an extremely high smoke point (meaning that the oil can be heated to extremely high temperatures without burning), but also because it adds a delicious flavor to the rice.
Make sure that the bottom of the pan is evenly coated with pre-heated oil by swirling the oil around. Now add the pre-cooked, hand massaged rice. Using a wooden spoon, move the rice around the pan to make sure that every grain gets an even coating of the cooking oil.
Stir in the soy sauce, oyster sauce or other flavors you desire. Note: Chef David says that, traditionally, Chinese people do not add soy sauce.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the rice is heated through.
You just made yourself some perfect fried rice just like a Chinese chef!