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Fried Rice for the Win!

Old Rice = Perfect Fried Rice

Fried Rice is that simple dish that for most of us was our first taste of Chinese cuisine when we were young. This was the year of Fried Rice in our house. Our kids learned to appreciate the beauty of food when ingredients are mixed together and not squared off on a plate so that none shall touch each other!

It is an uncomplicated comfort food, but for optimal results should be thought of a day ahead in order to have day old rice at the ready. When the rice kernels have a day to dry out slightly you get a lovely texture in the dish that cannot be achieved with fresh, moist rice. The other prepare ahead ingredient is the meat. I tend to cook extra of whatever meat I am making for another meal in the week. Typically, I like to cook two pork tenderloins on the grill and reserve one for the Fried Rice. This savory favorite is enjoyed on a day of the week when I don’t feel up to cooking a big meal. Some like to call the “kitchen sink” meal because really whatever leftovers you have in the refrigerator can be used to enhance the flavor.

When starting fresh the below recipe makes for a satisfying dinner that leaves time for relaxing when the dishes are done, and a leftover lunchtime favorite enjoyed by my daughter and I.

Fried Rice Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely minced

  • 1 cup peas (you must defrost if frozen)

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

  • 4 cups cooked, day old white rice, basmati is a favorite

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • ¼ cup Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine provides additional flavor) or use water

  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (see cook's note below)

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • ½ cup minced cilantro or scallions




  1. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a large skillet, and turn heat to high. When it begins to shimmer, add onion, pepper and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables to a bowl.

  2. Add thawed peas to skillet; cook, shaking pan, for about a minute, or until hot. Remove and to the bowl.

  3. Put remaining oil in the skillet, followed by garlic and ginger. When the mixture is fragrant, about 15 seconds later, add the rice, breaking up clumps with a spoon as you go along and tossing to coat with oil. When the rice is well coated, make a well in the center and scrambled eggs into well and stir into rice.

  4. Return vegetables to the skillet and toss all together. Add wine or water and cook, stirring, for approximately 1 minute. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, and a hint of fish sauce then taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Turn off heat, stir in the scallion and serve.

Cook’s Note: You can add fish sauce, hoisin sauce or substitute soy sauce for liquid aminos which was my recent substitution when I learned about liquid aminos and the difference in flavor.


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