Fried rice, whether the classic – seasoned with soy and vinegar or tossed with loads of fiery red schezwan sauce; it has to be one of the most preferred rice dishes we love eating at a restaurant. It could either be the delicious sauces or just the texture of the vegetables, fried rice in any avatar is comforting and downright amazing. And no matter how hard we try, we never get that texture, that flavour at home. However, what if we told you that we have the secrets right here with us, to make restaurant-style fried rice in your very own kitchen? Let’s get started.
Rinse your rice before cooking
Rinsing the rice before you cook results in the release of starch. This will not only prevent clumping of the grains but it will also help the seasonings and flavours to be absorbed in a much better way, resulting in more flavours. All you need to do is put your rice in a mesh sieve and run it under tap water for a few minutes, and you’re pretty much good to go.
Dry the rice after cooking
I’m sure most of us have used freshly cooked rice straight out of the cooker into the pan to make fried rice. However, that will result in clumping and we won’t get the texture fried rice is known for. Ideally, you must spread the cooked rice on a tray for a couple of hours till it is nice and dry. This way the rice will lose most of its moisture content, giving it a bite. You can also use leftover rice, however make sure it is stored in air-tight container in the refrigerator and get it on room temperature before you begin tossing it in the pan.
Choice of Additions
The common veggies used in a fried rice include the likes of capsicum, scallions or spring onions, beans, carrots etc. You definitely wouldn’t go wrong by adding veggies like Pak Choy, broccoli, water chestnut etc. in fact it’ll just make things more interesting. You could also switch the regular button mushrooms for shitake mushrooms. Sure, these veggies might not be easily available at the vegetable market near your home, but a stop at your nearest departmental store will be worth it. For proteins, boiled and fried chicken shreds and prawns are some of the more popular inclusions. However, you could also keep it simple by using just scrambled eggs to add to the overall texture and flavour.
Seasoning will give us the base flavour for the fried rice. The basics that are a must-have include vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli sauce or schezwan sauce, if you’re planning on making schezwan fried rice. However, apart from these, you could add rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sesame oil or fish sauce to enhance the overall flavour. A little trial and error can go a long way in making a lip-smacking batch of fried rice.
Prep before you cook
This goes without saying. Always keep everything ready on your kitchen table before you begin cooking. Cooking fried rice happens only on high heat, and this won’t give you time to look for things in your shelf or refrigerator. The wok will require constant attention so having everything in close proximity is ideal.
Cook in a wok, cook hot!
A wok is a perfect utensil to get your rice perfectly done. The large size wok will evenly distribute heat without causing clumping of rice. If you don’t have a wok, a large kadai should work just fine too. The wok needs to be on the highest temperature to create a perfect balance of texture between the veggies, protein and the rice. Heat the wok first and then add the oil and let it get warm. Only once the oil is nice and hot, you must add the rice. You also need to be on your toes mixing the rice well along with sauces and other seasonings. The high heat won’t overcook the rice. It’ll in fact help us with the texture we desire. But you must constantly keep on tossing and mixing the contents in the wok, or else it’ll stick to the bottom.
You can apply these cool tricks to a bunch of recipes for fried rice on Sanjeev Kapoor.com. Click here to check out the recipes.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.