Fried Rice, Again!

fried rice
At last I have a recipe using brown rice that the whole family will eat. I might also come out in the open about the fact that I love white rice. While I do on occasion cook brown rice, I find white rice is more suited to absorbing the curries we all love so much. You can mush it up with dal, or with dahi (yoghurt), and it feels right. Brown rice just refuses to soften up despite all the pressure-cooking I subject it to, and then it dares me to refuse. A lot like dalia (cracked wheat). But I put dalia in its place once I realized I could eat my cake and have it too, sort of. I needed a recipe for brown rice that would make it really sing instead of the forlorn ditty, “I’m good for you.”

I tried Musical’s mothaan di khichdi (using sprouted moth as Nupur had done) and reluctantly agreed with my teen son that it would have been better with regular white rice. My son will not touch brown rice with a ten foot pole. But lap it up he did with his 10 inch chopsticks when I made it into fried rice!

Now, who doesn’t like fried rice! I bet that all of us have our own favourite version of this classic Chinese dish. There are many traditional Indian avatars of this dish too using leftover rice – Maharashtrians have their phodnicha bhath (literally, rice with tempering), and the many South Indian rice preparations use the same concept too (chitranna, tamarind rice) – leftover rice mixed into seasoned oil, with or without the addition of vegetables.

While most of the dishes consumed in India under the “Chinese food” label have the most superficial of resemblance to the cuisine of that ancient country (Chicken Manchurian is as Chinese as Chicken Tikka Masala is Indian), I will wager that home-cooks serve a decent version of Chinese fried rice. That is because the home cook likely limits his Chinese pantry items to the generic soy sauce; and most Indian homes are never out of ginger, onion, and garlic. I have since also bought myself a bottle of hoysin sauce, and will be using it in this rice (and pray that it is not blasphemy); fermented beans are on my list next.

rices varieties
How many have you? Nine kinds of rice in my pantry: Clockwise, from bottom: Goan brown rice, fragrant white Basmati, black rice (a gift from a friend!), a mix of Kerala red rice (rosematta) and a dark red rice from Uttaranchal (from Navdanya) – I use the mix in soups, par-boiled rice for idli (from Madras Store, INA), short grain brown rice, brown Basmati; center -lightly fragrant short grain rice from Madhya Pradesh, which I have been saving for Ver)

The fried brown-rice happened quite by chance. I had (pressure) cooked a big pot of Goan brown rice, swearing to eat no white rice for a whole month. The following day I Google-chatted with a certain friend too late into the afternoon that cooking lunch on time was not likely.

My family will readily eat bread and butter, or bread and eggs, whenever I forget them on account of this computer affair. Only, I feel guilty if I do that more than thrice in a week. And there was that healthy bowl of brown rice sitting in the fridge…and since Kylie Kwong, I don’t ‘chop fine’ the vegetables for my Chinese recipes…Half hour later we were enjoying a delicious healthy lunch of fried rice – egg fried rice for the son.

fried rice
Easiest Fried Rice
(Serves 3)

4-5 C cooked brown rice (if using leftover brown rice, pressure cook or steam again to refresh)
2 + 1 T peanut oil
1 medium onion, sliced
a few cloves of garlic, smashed
1 T fresh grated/julienned ginger
2-3 whole red chillies (fresh or dry), sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 green chillies, sliced thin, on the bias
2-3 C prepared vegetables of choice (shredded cabbage, sliced carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli florets – I had only green peppers that day)
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoysin sauce (optional)
1-2 t vinegar (optional)
¾ t ajinomoto (or salt to taste) [yes, I do]
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

To a hot karahi or wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil. To the hot oil, add garlic and ginger and stir till fragrant but not browned. Add the red chillies and onions and stir it all around till the onions change colour (a minute or so). Add the prepared vegetables and cook, stirring all the time, for 2-3 minutes, till the vegetables have all brightened up. Add the hoysin sauce and the soy sauce and mix. Add the cooked rice and stir. Sprinkle ajinomoto (or salt), and stir till heated through. Mix in the vinegar before removing to a serving dish.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Pour the beaten egg (to which you have added a pinch of salt) into the hot oil, swirl the wok around and lift the egg slightly to allow it to spread and cook. As it starts to set, break it up into large chunks. Tip a third of the fried rice into the wok and stir to combine. Serve this portion to the egg-lover in the family.

Other takes on Fried Rice:

Kylie’s Delicious Fried Rice
Manisha’s Leftover Chicken and Rice
Inji’s Indian-Chinese Fried Rice
Sig’s sunny Sweet Corn Fried Rice
Japanese Fried Rice
Thai Fried Rice
Chinese Fried Rice

35 thoughts on “Fried Rice, Again!

  1. These are the dishes I love for their simplicity and comfort they offer. Your talk through the types of rice was great!

    That’s it- comfort food at its simplest. I was myself surprised to find I had so many kinds of rice!

  2. we always make fried rice with brown rice – the long grain variety. somehow i prefer the flavour. the egg fried rice on our blog is with brown rice. i can understand why your son loves it.

    Eggs are great in fried rice.

    And you have quite the rice variety in your pantry too!

  3. You have 9 types of rice!!! I have only two – basmati and rosematta!
    But finally I can buy some brown rice, if the fried rice tastes as good as it looks… I normally can’t stand this rice, but sometimes I get guilted into ordering it at some restaurants when I go out with a certain set of friends 😦

    The rice tasted great with Goan brown rice – can’t vouch for other browns 😀 !

    I like the taste and texture of all browns – just can’t figure out what to eat them with!

  4. I love to chinese food. So i do have most of the chinese ingridients.I use hoisin sauce in lot of the recipes.
    Love the fried rice

    I have used soy sauce for forever…most of my Chinese cooking relies on just soy sauce and ginger-garlic-onion! Have to figure out what else to do with hoysin…

  5. Fried rice is always cool, though i have never used brown rice for it before. May be i’ll give it a try. The original khichdi recipe calls for non-basmati white rice, but the long rain brown rice worked well for me :-D.

    i have Basmati, sona masuri, jasmine and some brown rice in my pantry. You are really into experimental cooking :). Back in India, we used to have only Basmati and Parimal at home ;).

    The khichdi was good – just that white rice would have made it better!
    I think this brown rice was really tasty as fried rice – even my son ate his full.

  6. And why did you swear off white rice? That’s very unlike you :). remember the “moderation mantra” 😀 and our daal-chawals do taste the best with white rice! imagine haak with brown rice 😉

    Because…”it’s good for you!” 😆 couldn’t keep the resolution very long! Yes, moderation is the right mantra – brown rice in moderation!

  7. Now I know what I am having for dinner today & lunch tomorrow 🙂 Indo-Chinese dishes are just so perfect for the Indian taste buds. My team in the office order’s Chinese food on Wednesdays, and with nothing veggie on the menu I am left with just the wonderful smell lingering arnd. I made chinese’ish noodles last week to satisfy the cravings, its going to be the fried rice tomorrow :))

    If you know what’s good for you, you will make it with brown rice! 😉

  8. The fried rice looks yummy. I have never tried making anything with brown rice and I have only two types of rice in my pantry – white and basmati. Btw, I can never eat rice or noodles with a chopstick. I would rather gulp it with fork or hands:))

    If it is Chinese, it’s got to be chopsticks for my son! He takes his time and really enjoys it.

  9. I have 4 types of rice in the pantry currently: sona masuri, basmati, brown basmati and arborio. I am coveting your brown Goan rice 🙂
    That fried rice looks perfectly delicious.

    The Goan brown rice was really good this way – the colour was a rich brown after mixing with the soy sauce – very delicious, yes.

  10. I only have two. Basmati and brown rice. I am the only one who likes brown rice. Medha suffers through it once in a while and eats it because it is good for her. They don’t like to chew. The Gujaratis in our family and extended family cook their rice till it is mush. No separate grains for you. Just a mass of white goop, almost.

    Only 3 times a week? Gah! Today I was reminded that I had promised yesterday that dinner would never be this late again. It was earlier than yesterday so I didn’t really break my promise…It’s hard when the days are this short. And no-one will eat if I serve dinner at 5pm.

    I don’t know if hoisin sauce is blasphemy. I’m waiting for Bee to say something. I bought Tamari sauce recently though and it’s begging to be used.

    You know the best Chinese fried rice I have ever had has been at a restaurant called Oasis in Andheri(W). It’s so wonderfully and delicately flavored, it’s incredible. You can eat it by itself or with something else. And I do believe they use only ginger. The rice that masquerades as fried rice here is awful.

    And, I like egg in mine, too!

    5 pm is way too early…you’ll need to cook supper then (and you may never get around to it!) – we like our tea time too much to give it to dinner.

    I think the ‘secret’ to great fried rice is to keep it simple!

  11. I love this line :”…needed a recipe for brown rice that would make it really sing instead of the forlorn ditty, “I’m good for you.” A few years back I made a (temporary) oath to use it as my default rice…couldn’t do it, but I keep a few kinds in stock nonetheless. They can always be blended with white you know! I tend to think of them as decoration for white rices…hehehehe

    From your photos, I’m beginning to think that you are as much obsessed with collecting dinnerware as I am- love those green ramekins/katoris! Are they Fiestaware?

    Odd that you are on a Chinese tangent; just yesterday I found and prepared an interesting Cantonese (I believe) recipe for lightly-braised mixed veggies, except I skipped the mixed part and just used bok choy as I had a whole head that was in dire need of using. The dish turned out fabulously- delicious sauce- and I will post the recipe, but I think the photos would be better if I actually used a mix of veggies. I had it with white rice 🙂 …which reminds me…your dish looks awesome! 😉

    Now, that’s a thought! Brown rice as decoration…I do use it to ‘decorate’ some soups 😉

    Yes, give us some good Chinese recipes – and maybe one using Hoysin sauce?

    Those green bowls/katoris were bought eons ago – local pottery from The Cottage Emporium – like some of the other glazed pieces you see here (the bowl with the rice – one of my favourites – green+blue glaze inside, outside a celadon-like glaze).

  12. P.S. Since others are showing off their rice lists, I thought: why not? Here goes mine; I have 9 as well: Thai red, Thai jasmine, Thai black jasmine, Thai/Lao sticky rice, brown sticky rice, forbidden (black) rice, Japanese sushi rice, sona masoori, white basmati. I also envy your Goan brown rice!

    Very impressive, 9’s a good number, I think. All of mine are indigenous, of course – other than that black rice 😉 (and I have had other varieties at different times…) – which kind do you think that might be – Thai black or the forbidden kind?

  13. Wow, guys, I am so impressed by 9 types of rice. I only have 6’ish. Basmatti, my default rice. Two types of Italian arborio rice – one for thicker drier risottos and one for wetter risottos. Overkill I know, but wanted to try them both out. Short grain chinese for making congee. Red rice. Jasmine. No brown rice. Ever.

    It is an awesome dish.

    Ah…I am missing the arborios…6 kinds is not a bad stash at all!

  14. beautiful pictures! i like fried rice a lot.. 🙂 your version is a little different.

    You think it is a different version? …it’s very close to the authentic thing though…

  15. Great recipe, can’t wait to try. Have gone cold-turkey on white rice due to health reasons and the only problem I have with brown rice is the cooking time. I am experimenting soaking it in vegetable broth (for added flavor) for a couple hours and pressure cooking it in 10mts. Came up with some fluffy looking rice.
    Thanks for the great idea.

    For softer brown rice, I pre-soak in hot water for an hour before cooking under pressure for 10-15min – works well for some of them.

  16. Oooops. I believe “forbidden rice” and “black jasmine rice” are synonyms. Yours looks just like it! 😉 My other black one is “black sticky rice” (until I find a better English translation)- it has longer grains and a pronounced grass-like flavour.
    I find Japanese rice and arborio to be quite similar- both are in the semi-glutinous range- and have made successful risottos with it. And it’s much cheaper! 😀
    *Tip for those wishing to cook brown rice without a pressure cooker: 2 C wah-wah for 1 C (rinsed)rice; bring to bowl; cover, turn heat way low. 45 minutes. (Needs more water and more time than white rices).
    Gosh, I should start my own blog!

    45 min!! Too much energy, my friend – a total waste! Wah-wah – what is that?? I must find an Indian rice replacement for arborio…any suggestions?

    Yeah, how about that blog?

  17. Oh Anita, I couldn’t possibly use a pressure-cooker to streamline my rice-cooking! It’s such a ritual with me that I enjoy too much! I have vintage cast-iron pots with well-fitting lids that I use for rice, and I would miss that certain clang-clang were I to do otherwise…[pauses to reconsider]…however, if I were in a rush…mind you I avoid this state of mind as much as possible, but let’s say just out of curiosity :-)…how does one cook rice in a pressure-cooker, if I may be so bold as to ask? 😀

    An Indian rice equivalent for arborio? Well…the thing is, y’all tend to go fer them there DRY varieties of rice (what sort of texture does the Goan rice have?)- makes excellent pilaf/pulao, but all the grains remain so separate… unless you have access to some of that aged Thai jasmine rice? I’ve never tried it, but it might work!…Gosh, things would be so much easier if they got rid of those ridiculous import fees!

    Of course, the stirring…and the simmering! 😆 There is value to that!

    This is how I use the pressure cooker – for basmati rice, put about an inch of water in the cooker, place rice+water (in another smaller container) into the cooker, close lid (no ‘weight’, so not cooked under pressure – never ever cook basmati in pressure). Steam 12-15 min. Turn heat off, let rest 10 min. Basmati is easily cooked like you suggest, in a heavy pot -bring to simmer, cover and cook on simmer for 10 min; rest 10 min – perfectly cooked, separated grains!

    But brown rices and even most sela (par-boiled) types can be cooked in pressure – brown rice is indestructible! Soak in hot water for an hour, place the container in the pressure cooker (1 inch water or more) , and pressure-cook for 15 -20 min.

    Most of our short grain rices cook clumpy – no separate grains there – so those will work then? But I need one that will not turn to mush either, right?

  18. I made fried rice last night too….only my version was possibly the worst fried rice ever! I’ve made fried rice countless times and they’ve all been good….but this time I used oyster sauce, fish sauce and a lot of other sauces…which caused the rice to become goopy, definitely not appetizing!
    And wow, you’ve got 9 types of rice in your pantry…with you a northie too 😉
    I think I’ve got 5, maybe 6 varities.

    Shhh…I never talk about the failed experiments 😉 .

    And then there were 10! I found one more hiding in the corner!

  19. Yet again reminding me why I love your blog! I have the very same reaction to brown rice. I know it is good for you. At times I appreciate its nuttiness. But I LOVE white rice. This looks like a good way of treating it, and I will have to give the recipe a shot (BTW – made your haak recipe with gai lan tonight – that was a winner too!).

    Rice. Oh, I do love rice. Yes I do. Let’s see – I have basmati; par-boiled rice; sona masuri; rosematta rice; jasmine rice; white sticky rice; black sticky rice; chinese forbidden black rice; arborio rice (for risotto); and I guess I’ll be buying some brown rice to give it another shot.

    That’s not even including all the rice “products” like mochi, poha, rice sticks, etc! heh, heh, heh…

    Yay, another haak fan!

    Mochi…I had to look that up…you were referring to this?

    Brown rice is really good here, and also in Bisi Bele Huli Anna!

  20. If I don’t eat rice daily, I feel as if I have not eaten food. 🙂 I envy your pantry of rice. Wish we got such a variety.

    And fried rice, it is one of those dishes that I can eat daily.

    I hear you, Cynthia. In fact, I feel depressed if I go a few days without it. I’d be alright if I didn’t get to eat (or make) roti for the rest of my life!

  21. The smell of cooking rice is one of the most lovely scents that I know.
    When I am feeling especially in need of a lift, one of the ways to do it is to put on a pot of brown basmati.
    (My nerves have run me out of rice here of late :))

    I have gotten used to the scent of my daily basmati. But every time I visit my mum, just the scent of her rice simmering in the cooker makes me ravenous! You do have a spot for special scents, don’t you! 😉

  22. Nadine108 – I too love the smell of rice cooking. Once I had a Chinese housemate, for 2.5 years. When she left, I really really missed the smell of the daily cooking of rice.

    And basmati smells the best of all. It scents the whole house.

    Indeed, it does!

  23. Yes, I think the short-grained variety will work just fine for risotto- worth a shot eh? But only share the results if it works out of course! 🙂

    Thanks for the pressure-cooking info!

    😀 Only tried and tested stuff here…why talk about stuff you don’t want anyone to try!

  24. Chicken Manchurian is as Chinese as Chicken Tikka Masala is Indian Have you read Rude Food?

    Vir Sanghvi even interviewed Nelson, the creator of Chicken Manchurian, on the Discovery show…

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