Given that it's essentially: rice - some variety of diced meatage - vegetables (usually carrots and peas) and some sort of seasoning, you really wouldn't think there would be that much differentiation between recipes and production.... stir-fry it all together and you get fried rice.... right?
The possibilities for construction are endless, and if you happen to find that magical step-to process, you'd be rewarded with starchy, salty, meaty nirvana. Why then is fried rice the culinary crap shoot at Chinese restaurants? Tasteless and oily, gummy and salty, dry and..well... just d r y. But understanding what the majority of fried rice is - a way to utilize leftovers in a restaurant environment - then you can see why there really is very little thought put into something that is basically a throwaway dish.
However, in order to be good (and I mean really good) fried rice, it has to be made fresh, with quality ingredients, and not left to steam away to oblivion in some holding table waiting for that specific "quality" diner that prefers fried over steamed with their sweet and sour chicken.
And knowing that, you can make fried rice better than any place you've ever ordered.
If I had my druthers, I'd prefer to use some of that ruby glistening Char Sui for my fried rice, I love the bits of color it adds and those little jeweled surprises in the dish gives it that little extra punch. However, for this recipe, I've used ,rightly so, what I had on hand... and augmented it.
Serves 2 to 4
1 Cup Diced Cooked Pork
1 Teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Blend
1 Teaspoon Honey
2 Cups Cooked White Rice - don't get fancy, plain, long grain rice works perfectly fine.
1/2 Cup Diced Carrots
1/2 Cup Fresh Peas
2 Scallions - Diced
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
2 Eggs - Beaten
1 Tablespoon Fermented Black Beans
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
2 Tablespoons Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper
Other things you'll need:
A Wok - preferably. If you don't have one, then use a large skillet with a lid. You'll need the lid for the last step in making your perfect fried rice
Assorted Small Bowls for holding things
Spatula or Scraper
In a small bowl, mix together the diced pork, honey and 5-spice and let marinate while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients
Heat your wok over medium high heat. (If you are using an electric wok -like mine - heat to 350
Add the cooking oil, carrots and garlic and saute until the carrots soften a bit
Add the pork and peas and cook another minute or two
Add the rice and toss with the ingredients in the wok to coat all with the oil
Add the peas and push everything to one side of the pan
Quickly pour the eggs into the cleared side and allow to make a flat omelet - cook the omelet until the eggs are dry, then break up into bits with the spatula
Stir in with the rice mixture
Mash up the black beans a bit, then add the beans, soy, sesame oil, and fish sauce and toss well to combine
Turn off the heat, Add the scallions and the chicken stock, and cover for 5 minutes
Serve with a snappy salad
You all know me by now - I don't like to pump name brand anything...
And, to be honest, I'm not really a fan of ready-made salads.... it's a salad - chop some veg up and serve.
I've recently grown an addiction to Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad. I swear to god..it's the best quick, no brain side dish you can put with any Asian inspired meal.
A nice bag of chopped cabbage, carrots and herbs
a little bag of toasted almonds and rice crackers
and a delicious sesame oil & honey dressing
It is absolutely one of the best prepackaged things I've eaten. I mean it... best.... ever....