An awesome one-pan dinner, in about 20 minutes.
Fried rice often gets relegated to the status of semi-forgettable takeout side. A greasy add-on to the Chinese takeout order: good but not great, a nice filler or base for the “main” entrée. But a great fried rice recipe stands its own as a filling, flavorful, and satisfying dinner. Especially loaded chicken and shrimp fried rice.
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A great fried rice recipe is all about technique and flavor — and old rice.
The #1 key to making good fried rice: Use day-old rice. Fresh rice has a higher moisture content, and will be harder to stir fry without it getting gummy or lumpy. Day-old rice is drier. The grains separate more easily for frying purposes.
Other than that, fried rice is really just a question of add-ins and flavor. Feel free to vary this up. If you want to make it pork fried rice, substitute that. No chicken or shrimp? No problem. Fried rice tastes good in all its variations, provided you cook it right and get a few elements correct. Specifically:
- In addition to day-old rice, make sure you use neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil. Fried rice is cooked at a relatively high heat. These oils, in addition to not imparting no strange flavors, have a high smoke point.
- Though you can vary it up, the most common vegetables in fried rice — other than the rice — are peas and diced carrots. Scallions, cilantro, onion, and mirin (you can also substitute a little sugar) add more flavor dimensions, as does a hit of sesame oil. But again, make it your own with what you’ve got.
- If you want fried rice Right.Now. and don’t have leftover rice handy, you can approximate day-old rice by cooking rice, spreading it on a sheet pan, and refrigerating it, uncovered, for about an hour. Stir it once or twice.
- This recipe serves four as a main course, and the leftovers will be great. You can easily halve the recipe as needed.
Did you make this fried rice recipe? How did it go? Share in the comments.
Shrimp and Chicken Fried Rice
- 8 cups (2 quarts) cooked, day-old rice, white or brown
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola
- 1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced small
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced small (about pea sized)
- 2 tablespoons mirin (can substitute 1 tablespoon sugar)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large handful of cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
- 3 scallions, dark and light green parts, sliced thin
- Using a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add the onion, chicken, and a large pinch of the salt. Cook until the chicken is a little more than halfway done. Add the shrimp, peas, carrots, and another pinch of salt. Continue to cook until everything has cooked and any excess moisture has evaporated. Stir frequently. If things start to stick, add another tablespoon of oil.
- Add the rice, the rest of the salt, and mirin or sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through. Add the sesame oil. Stir, and adjust seasoning.
- Off the heat, toss in most of the cilantro and scallions and stir to combine, reserving some of the scallions and cilantro to garnish. Serve hot.