Fried rice is not rocket science. It’s so easy, providing you can make good rice in the first place. It depends on having nice, fluffy, non-sticky cooked rice that has had some time to cool. Ideally it would be made with rice that was cooked the day before and refrigerated, making it the ideal quick-to-cook meal that also has the advantage of using up leftovers.
Fried rice can be made with any meat and any vegetable, pretty much. This is my favorite treatment of it; ham isn’t traditional but I like using it in fried rice because the meat stands up and stands out. I find chicken fried rice a little bland, but it is certainly a good alternative, as are regular cooked pork, seafood, or even cooked beef. A mix would be awesome too.
As for vegetables, most restaurants add peas, and I would too if I kept them around. You can add carrots, broccoli, mushrooms…anything you like. To me, the absolutely necessary add-ins are the egg and the green onions. The rest is very flexible.
Ham Fried Rice
(about 8 servings as a side dish)
2 cups raw rice (I like to use Jasmine for this, but any long grain rice will work fine)
1 Tablespoon oil
1 cup diced ham
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
red pepper flakes to taste
Cook the rice according to package directions, or however you usually cook rice. Allow to cool–overnight is best, but if you are pressed for time, cook it and immediately turn it out onto a cookie sheet, spread it out, and let it cool as long as possible.
Have the vegetables and meat prepared and ready to go. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and set aside.
In a wok or a very large frying pan, heat the oil to very hot. Break the eggs in a bowl and beat them, reduce the heat to medium, then pour into the wok. Allow them to cook on one side until completely set, then flip the omelet over and cook the other side. Remove the omelet to a cutting board and dice.In the same wok and without wiping it out, add the cooked rice. Stir it around to break up any clumps, and add the sesame oil/soy sauce mixture. Stir fry it until it is all one color.
Add the vegetables and meat, and stir fry until everything is heated through. Add the egg and serve.