How good is fried rice!? It’s a superbly family-friendly dish, that can be whipped up pretty speedy come the end of the day. It is also pretty forgiving and infinitely variable - use whatever rice is on hand, whatever protein-rich food you’d like (e.g. prawns, tofu, chicken, egg…) and whatever veggies your fridge and freezer is housing.
The all important ingredient to make an epic fried rice
The first ever dish I attempted to cook for my family was fried rice, and it was a spectacular inedible fail *bless*. I meticulously followed the recipe, adding the required ‘cooked rice, 2 cups’ to the wok. I began mixing in my assumed just freshly cooked white rice, noticing that something odd was happening in the wok - it was turning into a gelatinous, gluey, mushy mess! Gah!
Lesson one in fried-rice making: a great fried rice starts with leftover/day-old rice, and this is all to do with texture. While some may try it with freshly cooked rice and have a perfectly good experience, leftover rice, ideally from the night before, will give you the perfect texture for fried rice - a separated grain with a bit of a bite to its exterior.
If you don ‘t have leftover rice, then allowing freshly cooked rice to cool can help (once cooked, spread out on a sheet pan and then chill in the refrigerator for as long as you can - an hour or so). I’ve also noticed pre-cooked microwavable rice provide the perfect texture too - not the most budget-friendly option per serve, but a great time saver to fall back on!
I have made a few tweaks to make the classic a smidge more of a balanced meal to enjoy alone.
Classic fried rice is often a little rice heavy, so here I’ve bumped up the veggie-to-rice ratio. Veggies provide a plethora of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre - the more in our diets, the merrier! Use whatever’s in the fridge or freezer. If using frozen veggies, thaw first before adding to the pan - simply add to a bowl of warm water and leave for a few minutes then drain.
Each serving provides a good source of protein. Protein-rich foods help to leave us feeling full for longer and aid satiation. If you’re vegan sub out the shrimp and egg and add cubed tofu or tempeh for your protein hit.
As this dish contains both non-starchy carbs (e.g. veg like broccoli and carrot) and starchy carbs (e.g. rice) you’ll get in a source of dietary fibre! Fibre has vital roles in gut health, from helping to form and bulk stools to feeding our gut bugs to acting like an internal broomstick sweeping out toxins and waste. The veggies and rice you use will alter the quantity of fibre - basmati rice (used here, along with this specific medley of veggies) will provide about 6.2g/serve (if making this for two people), while brown rice will give you 7g, and jasmine rice 5.7g.
Shrimp, Egg and Veg Fried Rice
Serves 2-3 (2x large portions, or 3 smaller portions)
1/2 cup frozen cooked and peeled shrimp
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 cup of day-old or leftover rice
2 cups mixed finely chopped veggies (e.g. carrot, peas, broccoli…)
1 spring onion, white and green parts finely sliced and separated*
2-3 tbsp soy sauce, to taste**
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sesame oil
Optional: chili flakes, sesame seeds
Fried rice comes together quickly - so aim to prepare all your ingredients first, as above, so you’re good to go!
Add a light drizzle of oil to a wok or large fry-pan and heat to a medium-low. Add a drizzle of oil and over a medium heat and then cook shrimp. Avoid overcooking - aim for them to be pink, but still a little translucent. Remove from pan and keep to the side.
Wipe down/clean wok if needed. Add a light drizzle of oil to wok. Add ginger and and garlic, and sauté over low heat for a few minutes.
Turn up the heat to high. Add leftover rice, the vegetables and the white part of the spring onion. Stir-fry for five minutes or until the veggies are just cooked (and still have a slight bite) - make sure to continuously move the mix around the pan as you go!
Push rice to the side and add the whisked eggs into the pan and scramble, breaking up as you go into bite-size pieces.
Add the green part of the spring onion, soy sauce, salt, shrimp, egg and chilli flakes if using, to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes.
Turn off heat. Add the sesame oil and mix well. Serve immediately. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.
* I find using kitchen scissors easy-peasy to cut through the green of the spring onion.
**If you’re gluten-free use a gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari. Traditional soy sauce is made from four main ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt and water. Tamari is made with soybeans, but little to no wheat, depending on the brand (make sure to carefully check label!).