Chinese Fried Rice
I love fried rice.
This recipe is a specialty at home & I make it all the time. I've spent about 3 years perfecting it, and when I gave a little cooking class last night, I finally jotted down proper measurements so that I can share it with y'all. Wanna try it?? This'll feed about 6.
The "cooking class"
2 lbs of cooked day-old rice*
1-2 lbs of cooked chicken*
4T brown sugar
3T soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
11T oil (we use regular olive oil for frying; extra-virg. will smoke!)
1 jalapeno (optional)
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
2 onions (I prefer the sweet yellow ones): 1& 1/2 chopped and the other 1/2 finely chopped and set aside
6T soy sauce
1/2 a head of garlic (about 6 good-sized cloves)
1 carrot, diced
1/2 c of frozen peas, slightly thawed (optional)
* Notes *
I say "day-old" rice because it helps give the fried rice that somewhat dry, toasted, "crunchy," texture. Make your rice ahead and leave it in the fridge overnight to make fried rice the next day. If it's too late for that, no prob! I still get good results the same day when I make my rice Nica style.
I boil about 1.5 lbs of chicken breast (with bones) and then remove the good stuff for the rice. This would work fine with dark meat, too! With what's left, I put it back into the boiling water to make a soup (throw in veggies, cumin, fresh cilantro, sauteed onions, garlic, salt, & pepper, and you can't go wrong!) 2 meals with one big chicken breast - not bad.
Making Fried Rice...
1. So with your 1 or so pounds of cooked chicken, shred it into pieces and throw it into a small bowl. Mix the chicken with 3T of soy sauce, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1T of brown sugar. Let it marinade a bit.
2. While the chicken is soaking, heat up 5T of oil over a medium-high flame in a fairly good-sized wok/pot (see pics for example). When it's hot, add the diced bell pepper, the 1 & 1/2 chopped onions, and the optional diced jalapeno (if you want a little kick).
3. Give the pepper mix some time to turn translucent, and then before they start turning golden-brown, dump in the chicken mixture and let it sit.
onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, and marinated chicken breast
4. The key to yummy chicken here is to let the mix sit for a while between stirs. Your goal is to let the soy sauce evaporate, to let the chicken get crispy and caramelized around the edges, and for the onions to become golden-brown.
mmm mmm See these yummy edges?
5. Now push it all to one side of the pot and add another 5T of oil. It'll get hot pretty fast and then you dump in all of your cooked rice. Let it sit a minute; let it fry! Stir conservatively off and on for about 3-5 minutes now, mixing the rice and chicken mixture together. If it starts sticking, scrape it (granted you don't have a teflon pan :-) and you'll have some yummy crunchy pieces. If it's getting out of control, no worries, throw in a bit of water as needed to help it un-stick.
6. Now it's time to add in the remaining 1/2 finely diced onion, the remaining 6 cloves of minced garlic, the finely chopped carrot, and the peas (optional). Adding the garlic late in the game gives it a nice garlicky flavor (and if you're a garlic nut like Tedd & I, hold it until the very end, right before you turn off the flame, and it's awesome!)
7. Just after adding your veggies, toss in 6T of soy sauce. I sometimes add up to 8T, so this is really a matter of taste. It's time to throw in 3T of brown sugar, too! This is the "secret" ingredient. YUM!
time for soy sauce
8. Let it sit 30 seconds and then stir; repeat twice more. Now push all of that rice to the side, leaving a little pan exposed at the bottom, and add 1T of oil. Get your 4 eggs ready and crack them right into the pot, one at a time, scrambling them really well as they cook. Make sure you don't mix everything together until the eggs have cooked really well on the one side of the pot. When the eggs are nice and scrambled (and well-done ;-), mix it all together.
9. At this point, you can add about a teaspoon of salt (and then taste-test it in a minute to see if you need more. The flavor usually "pops" once you get the right amount in there). Oh! and a couple dashes of pepper is nice too. Again, let the mixture sit for a 1/2 a minute, then stir, sit, then stir, until you like the texture of the rice. If it seems too dry, you can add a little bit of water still at this point.
10. Aaaaand, that's a detailed description of how to make fried rice. I hope you love it!! Turn off the burner, let it cool down a bit, and enjoy!