When life gives you leftovers…make fried rice!
Fried rice is one of the easiest dishes to prepare and also a great way to use up bits of leftovers in your refrigerator. In fact, to successfully make fried rice it is crucial that we use leftover rice. This day old, cold, refrigerated rice is what will yield that perfect restaurant-style fried rice. A few years ago, and when my blog wasn’t as known as it is today, I shared some excellent tips on getting perfect fried rice the first time you attempt it. Below is what I wrote.
…the secret to good results in fried rice is using leftover rice, or day old rice. Doing so prevents the rice from sticking or becoming soggy. The leftover rice is drier so it will still absorb the flavors but not turn soft. As for what type of rice to use, Jasmine rice is a good choice. But I’ll tell you a secret, I’ve used long grain rice too. Sshh don’t tell anyone. The most important thing is to make sure it is day old rice. If the craving strikes you and you haven’t any leftover rice then there is another way to satisfy the craving: Steam or boil the rice to be used at least two hours before you turn it into fried rice. This will still give you a dry texture and prevent soggy fried rice…
Now you know the secret! And you know what? Basmati, red and brown rice work just as well. I’ve used all of these rice varieties as well as the day-old and two hour old rice technique with delectable results.
The craving for this fried rice struck me a few hours before dinner time, so I steamed the rice three hours in advance and this is the technique I will be showing you today.As for deciding what to toss in with the rice, all it took was a quick glance in the refrigerator. We had bell peppers, carrots, Serrano chiles and three Italian style sausages. Maybe not a traditional Asian combination but certainly a unique one worthy of tasting. Now let me show you how I prepared our fried rice dinner.
- 1 cup brown rice cooked according to instructions (I used 2 cups water and cooked mostly covered in low heat.)
- 3 Italian style sausages, casings removed and slice into small even pieces
- 1 small (white) onion, cut into 8ths
- 2-3 serrano peppers, thinly sliced (remove seeds & use less peppers for milder rice)
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin slices
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- soy sauce (I used 1.5 tbsp adjust to taste)
- oil of choice (sesame or canola may also be used)
- Cook the brown rice according to package instructions. Once cooked allow to cool completely on the counter -- you may want to transfer to a large bowl to aid the cooling process. Next refrigerate it for at least 2-3 hours or leave in there until the next day. Do not skip this step! Remember we need the rice to be dry and not sticky so it fries properly.
- Make sure you have all of the vegetables and protein of choice ready to use, this is a quick moving dish. Heat a wok or very large frying pan. Once hot add the oil then the sausage slices, after a few minutes the sausage will begin releasing fat and we will use this to cook the vegetables. After the sausage is cooked through (depends on the thickness of slices so make sure to cut evenly) add the onion and serrano pepper slices and cook until the onion is soft. Next add the carrots, peppers and garlic. Stir often and cook until the vegetables reach your desired tenderness. Remove the sausage and vegetables and set aside.
- Make sure there is enough oil left in the wok/pan to prevent the rice from sticking. If needed add a splash of oil. Place the day-old/refrigerated rice in the pan, turn the heat to hight and cook until the rice has warmed through and fried evenly. Evenly pour the soy sauce over the rice and stir until well combined. Lastly add the cooked sausage and vegetables back to the wok/pan and stir to mix into the rice. Allow to fry a couple of minutes then taste and add more soy sauce if desired. Serve with steamed broccoli on the side, if desired.
• You can add or replace the vegetables in this recipe with ones like broccoli or cauliflower florets. Experiment with the veggies for different flavours.
• Vegan option: To make this recipe vegan friendly replace the sausage with any of the following proteins: mushrooms, smoked or regular (firm) tofu, seitan, textured soy, broccoli or other vegetables with high sources of protein.
•For a vegetarian version use eggs: lightly beat 3-4 eggs and add them to the wok after the rice has fried and before adding back the cooked vegetables.
The taste can simply be described as tasty. The ingredients are simple but very flavourful. You will taste the unique peppery sausage taste which compliments the spicy Serrano peppers, the slight sweetness of the vegetables, the savoury soy sauce and the nutty brown rice. I love simple meals like this: minimal effort, easy clean up, and best of all ones that don’t let other food go to waste.
Enjoy the fried rice and have a beautiful day!
Here are more rice and fried rice recipes from the archives.
And for the brave people out there: Pears, Mushrooms and Spinach. What was I thinking?