Easy, Serves 4, Prep time: 25 mins.
Few guilty pleasures deserve to be indulged as much as fried rice. Whether accompanied by fish in oyster sauce or just had as is, this particular late night favourite is a quick and flavoursome dish. With a hint of technique and spirited wrist-work (I jest), you can ace takeout-level fried rice right in the comfort of your kitchen.
- Rice, long grain, 1.5 cups
- Carrots, medium, 2 nos.
- Spring onions/Scallions, 1 bunch
- Garlic, 12-15 cloves
- Green chillies, 2 nos.
- Ginger, 1 inch piece
- Lemon, medium, 1/2 no.
- Red chillies, soaked, 5 nos.* or Chilly paste, 2 tsp
- Schezwan sauce (optional) , 1 tsp
- Soya sauce, 1 tsp
- Ground black pepper, 1 tsp
- Salt, 2 tsp
- Oil, 3 tbsp
* We soaked the red chillies for a homemade chilly paste. You can eliminate this step if you already have a store bought paste lying around.
- The first and the most tedious step of this entire recipe: the mis-en-place/pre-preperation. For this step, wash and soak the rice for 15-20 minutes. Peel the carrots, ginger and the white bulbs of the spring onions followed by finely chopping the carrots, spring onion bulbs, chillies and ginger. Prepare for the “burnt garlic” element of the dish by mincing your cloves of garlic (the finer the mince, the more flavour and aroma). Thinly slice the slender greens of the spring onions. Pulverize the soaked red chillies with 1-2 tbsp of water into a fine thick paste.
2. Heat a large stock pot filled 3/4th with water on a high flame. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp salt and your soaked rice. Cook on a high flame for 7-10 minutes until al-dante*. Drain the rice, spread it on a large plate (which will help release steam and prevent the rice from clumping) and let it cool.
*The time for cooking will vary depending on the variety and size of rice you’re using. The most reliable way of knowing if your rice is cooked is by tasting it. The rice should not be overcooked.
3. Believe us when we tell you this: speed is everything once you’ve fired up the wok. The best way to prevent your ingredients (other than the garlic of course) from browning too quickly is to keep them ready and organized (rice cooked and cooled, sauces mixed and vegtables chopped), like we did:
4. Heat the oil in a wok/saute pan on a high heat**. Once sufficiently hot, lower the flame and add your minced garlic. Stir fry the garlic for 5-7 minutes until it starts developing a slight golden colour. Increase the heat to medium and add your chopped ginger, green chillies, onion bulbs and carrots. The vegetables will only take 1-2 minutes to cook because of the hot oil. Once done, add your mixed sauces and salt and stir fry for 2 minutes.
** Heat regulation is crucial while cooking in a wok.
5. Add your cooked rice to the wok along with the ground pepper and gently mix. We learnt the best way of mixing the rice into the sauce without breaking the grains is by lifting it from the bottom using a metal spatula/spoon and putting it back on the top. Continue doing so until well incorporated. Taste your fried rice and adjust the seasonings (salt,pepper and/or soy sauce). Serve steaming hot garnished with finely sliced spring onion greens and bits of toasted garlic.