Years ago I was a waitress at a Chinese restaurant. I loved the people there and I learned a lot about a different culture. I also learned a few tips on how to cook some of the foods I loved. Fried rice is one of those foods! I'd tried making fried rice before with less than delicious results... often mine came out mushy and it was missing a flavor I couldn't figure out. I found out it is critical to cook the rice ahead at least a day so it can cool and dry a bit... and that missing flavor?.... sesame oil!
Often when I make fried rice now it is the main dish rather than a side dish. I use leftover rice, and whatever appropriate vegetables I have on hand - usually carrots, celery, onion, peas. I LOVE bean sprouts in fried rice, but I leave them out unless I've had time to sprout my own... I just can't bring myself to pay for a bag of sprouts that I only need part of. (Sprouting mung beans is SUPER easy by the way - anyone can do it! Maybe that'll be a post another day.) I prefer ham as the meat to flavor the rice, but chicken is good too, or you can leave the meat out entirely if you prefer.
Fried rice for me is more directions than a recipe. Since I use leftover rice, if I have less rice, I add less veggies and meat. All of the seasoning is to taste rather than measured. Play around with it and find the amounts you like of everything. Make it your own! (I did!)
Joy's Fried Rice
medium grain rice, cooked and cooled at least 12 hours (for a main dish I usually have 4 cups or so of rice)
sesame oil (find it in the Asian food section)
fresh or frozen peas
mung bean sprouts
diced ham or cooked chicken (sometimes I just use lunchmeat ham)
a couple of eggs
dice and gather all of the meat and vegetables you want to use. In a small skillet, scramble one or two eggs and cook until done... set aside. In a large (if you're making quite a bit) skillet pour a tablespoon or so of oil. Saute vegetables until nearly tender. (salt them while they cook if you'd like) Add meat and then rice. When adding the rice, break apart the chunks of rice as you add it... if it seems really dry, add a tablespoon of water to your pan while it heats. Cook over medium heat stirring and turning often to heat the rice well. Add more oil if it starts sticking to the pan. When it's mostly heated through, add the scrambled egg and sprinkle soy sauce, some salt, and about 1 tsp. of sesame oil across the top and then mix in. Taste - add more soy sauce or salt if necessary. Serve hot.
We love this meal! I hope you enjoy including it in your menu's!