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Tips and Techniques for Stir-Fried Rice

[ 0 ] August 16 |

Many people that enjoy fried rice at Chinese restaurants are afraid to try to cook the dish at home. Using a wok is a foreign experience for many Americans, and they are simply unsure how to begin. While it does take a certain amount of technique to create a perfect fried rice dish at home, there are a few tips to ensure the dish comes out fluffy, light and full of flavor every time.


Rice is, of course, the main ingredient of fried rice, and therefore it should be picked and prepared with care. Use only long-grain rice in the dish as shorter grains have a higher concentration of amylose, which will create a sticky and soggy end product. Aromatic rices such as Basmati or Jasmine are also of the long-grain variety and can produce a sweet, aromatic dish. The rice should be steamed or boiled two to three days before making the stir-fry and stored in the refrigerator to allow enough drying time. For instances when waiting days is not an option, rice can be cooked, spread out across a baking sheet, and placed in the freezer for 25-30 minutes to speed up the drying time. The rice will produce a slightly different consistency, but will be better than using freshly cooked rice.


Measure and cut all ingredients before heating the wok so they will be at hand’s reach when the rapid stir-frying begins. Some people prefer to cook each component separately to maintain each ingredient’s individual flavor and then mix them together in the wok just before serving. Others toss all the ingredients into the wok to cook at the same time. When using the latter method, it is important to make sure the vegetables are cut around the same size so they will take approximately the same amount of time to heat.


The wok should be pre-heated before adding the cooking oil. Some fried rice recipes call for a medium heat while others call for higher temperatures; always set the temperature as per the recipe instructions. For best results, use an oil that has a high smoke point, like canola, grapeseed or peanut oil. Stir-frying garlic, scallions or onions in the pan before adding other ingredients will season the wok for added flavor.


The important thing to remember when stir-frying is to keep the food moving. Vegetables, meat and rice should be tossed and stirred constantly to prevent sticking or overcooking in the hot oil. Soy sauce or oyster sauce can be drizzled in for color and extra flavor, but should only be done at the end of heating time to prevent burning. Following these simple techniques can help any cook create savory, delectable stir-fried rice dishes at home.


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