Start to Finish: 25 minutes Servings: 4 Difficulty Level: Beginner
Cooked rice that has been refrigerated -- such as day-old leftover steamed rice -- works best in golden fried rice. Dry grains that don't clump together are easier to fry than short-grain or sticky rice. Refrigerating cooked rice allows it to dry slightly, and dry, cold grains separate more easily than hot, moist grains. The rice should be dry but still pleasantly tender. Cover the rice while you refrigerate it so that it doesn't become crunchy or tough.
2 tablespoons peanut or sesame oil
4 egg yolks
4 cups long-grain rice, cooked and refrigerated
4 scallions or green onions
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat.
Place egg yolks in a bowl. Beat them with a fork until they have a smooth, even consistency. Set the bowl aside.
Hold your hands under running water for a moment to wet them. Run your fingers through the refrigerated rice, rubbing the grains to break any clumps.
Cut about 1/4 inch off both ends of the scallions to trim them. Trim and discard the white portions of the scallions, if desired. Slice the scallions into 1/8- to 1/2-inch-long pieces, depending on your preference.
Add the scallions to the preheated oil. Stir them with a wooden spoon or bamboo spatula until they are tender, approximately 2 minutes.
Add the rice to the wok. Stir the rice continuously as it cooks, frying it until it starts to brown, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
Push the rice away from the center of the wok with the wooden spoon or spatula, creating a crater-like space in the center of a tall ring of rice.
Pour the beaten egg yolks into the empty space in the center of the wok. Avoid stirring the yolks until they start to become opaque as they cook through, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir the half-cooked egg yolks with a pair of chopsticks or the wooden spoon or spatula you used to stir-fry the rice. Stir outward in a spiral pattern, starting in the center of the wok -- where there is only egg. Incorporate rice into the eggs gradually as you stir outward.
Continue stirring all the ingredients once you reach the outer edge of the rice. Make long and broad stirring gestures to distribute the egg yolk through the rice so that it is mostly uniform in its golden yellow coloring.
Remove the wok or skillet from the heat once the egg yolks are completely opaque and evenly distributed.
Season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Serve the golden fried rice while it is still warm.
Tips: Ingredients and Substitutions
Basmati rice and jasmine rice are two types of long-grain rice that work well in fried rice dishes. Long-grain rices are generally drier and less sticky after you cook them, which is critical to successfully preparing fried rice.
Add about 1/3 cup of meat per serving of fried rice, if desired -- 1 1/3 cups total for a four-serving recipe. Diced chicken, chopped pork or whole shrimp are the most common types of meat in fried rice dishes. Add the meat to the oil before you cook the scallions. Add the scallions once the pieces of meat cook through. Pre-cooked or leftover meat only needs to become warm before you add the veggies.
Add about 1/3 cup of vegetables per serving of fried rice, if desired. Cook veggies with the scallions until they are tender before you add the rice. Frozen mixed vegetables, chopped lettuce or cabbage, sliced carrots, whole pea pods, sliced mushrooms, broccoli florets, sliced peppers and cut green beans are appropriate choices.
Substitute 2 whole eggs for 4 egg yolks, if desired.
Add one serving of golden fried rice per plate as a side dish for a Chinese or Chinese-inspired main course. Dish two servings per person if the fried rice is your main course.
Garnish the rice with thinly sliced scallions.
Beer complements fried rice well, or maintain the Asian-inspired theme by serving jasmine tea with the dish.