Making your own fried rice may seem like one of those skills best left to the chefs at your local Asian restaurant or takeout, but is actually something you can definitely do at home with a little practice. Once you know the basics like what rice is best for fried rice and how to prepare it, the rest is easy.
Jasmine rice or another similar premium long-grain white rice is the best for fried rice, with basmati and plain long-grain rice also suitable options. The rice needs to be cooked and then allowed to cool and dry out before frying.
Jasmine is my personal favorite as the fragrant taste is great and its texture comes out dryer and slightly chewy. This texture makes it great for frying rather than wetter, soggier rice.
I’ve included some other tips in the article like how to cook the rice and add the other ingredients. Hopefully, I’ll answer all your questions so read on and you will soon be frying up tasty fried rice in no time.
Is Jasmine, Basmati, Or White Rice Best For Fried Rice?
When it comes to what type of rice is best for fried rice, you have three main long-grain options to choose from: Jasmine, Basmati, or just regular plain long-grain white rice. All of these work well, but each has its own unique flavor and texture that may or may not be what you wanted.
The long-grain variety of rice is technically called indica rice and differs from short-grain (japonica) rice as its thinner, longer, and less sticky. Avoid using short-grain rice like sushi rice or arborio rice as it’s too sticky when frying.
Jasmine rice is a great choice. It’s from Thailand but is commonly found in Chinese restaurants. It seems hard to find proper Chinese rice outside of China so Jasmine is a good substitute. From my research, it’s even popular in China too.
It tastes great as it has a fragrant, floral note to it, and fries very well in fried rice. The grains are slightly more rounded and seem to have a bit more satisfying bite to them which I love.
Regular long-grain rice is another good option and cheaper than Jasmine rice. In my opinion, it’s not quite as good in terms of texture but still tastes good, especially when it’s fried in oil and seasoned with soy sauce.
This type of rice will soak up the flavors of the other ingredients in your recipe as it’s the most neutral-tasting. When cooked, this type of rice comes up fluffy and definitely not sticky which is perfect for fried rice dishes.
Basmati rice is from India and has a nutty, popcorn flavor with long, thin, distinct grains. It’s another good option for making fried rice but is more popular in Indian biryani or pilaf than in Chinese fried rice. I don’t think you’ll find this rice in many Chinese restaurants but is a good backup at home.
If it’s rinsed and cooked well it’s not very sticky at all so makes a nice fluffy textured fried rice.
How To Cook Rice For Fried Rice
To cook rice for fried rice, you need to follow these basic steps:
- Rinse it to wash the sticky starch off
- Cook it until tender
- Cool it so it firms up and dries out
Start by measuring out the correct amount of rice using a dry measuring cup. One cup of uncooked rice will yield around three cups of cooked rice, so keep that in mind when deciding how much to make.
Important: Once you have the rice measured out, wash the rice once in a bowl or pan of cold water and drain. This helps to remove any excess starch from the surface of the grains and results in less sticky rice.
Next, there are a few ways to actually cook rice but here are two ways.
My most common is to use a microwaveable rice cooker (you can get a cheap one from Amazon). Simply add rice and water to the packet instructions and microwave for about 8-9 minutes then stand for 10 mins.
If you want to use a saucepan then try this:
Add rice to a medium saucepan with water – the packet should give you the amount. For jasmine, I use 1.25 cups of water per 1 cup of rice, and for basmati, I use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. For larger quantities, just multiply by the same ratios.
Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer until most of the water is absorbed.
Turn off the heat and let the pan sit for an additional ten minutes with the lid on. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining water and results in perfectly cooked grains. After the ten minutes is up, fluff the rice with a fork then transfer it to a large plate or tray and spread it out so it can cool.
You want the cooked rice to be cooled completely before using it in your fried rice dish, so chill it in your refrigerator for an hour or so for the best results.
Do You Have To Cook Rice A Day Before?
Many cooks believe that day-old rice is simply the best for fried rice. Allowing the rice to sit out and dry overnight results in less sticky and more fluffy grains, which is exactly what you want for your fried rice.
However, if you’re short on time or just forgot to plan ahead, you can still cook your rice a short time before you need it on the same day by following the process below.
To make rice for fried rice on the same day:
If you spread your cooked rice out on something such as a large tray it will cool and dry out fairly quickly even at room temperature.
However, for a quicker (and safer!) method, pop it in the fridge for around an hour. If you’re really in a hurry you can try putting it in the freezer for around 15 minutes instead.
Do You Add Egg Before Or After In Fried Rice?
If you prefer the egg in your fried rice to be big fluffy chunks of egg, rather than simply coating the grains, then cook it before adding the rice. To do this, just cook the beaten egg first in the wok without scrambling it and push it up to the side while you cook the rice. Then break it up as you add it back in.
If you want some of your egg to also coat the grains of rice, then cook it after adding the rice to the pan. Make a space in the center once the rice is almost ready and pour the egg in. Let it cook gently until solids start to form, then start mixing it into the rice to finish off.
5 Secrets Of Good Chinese Fried Rice
By following these five simple secrets, you can make good Chinese fried rice every time:
- Use pre-cooked jasmine rice that has been cooled.
- Use a wok or large frying pan: This may seem like an obvious one but using a wok or large frying pan makes it easier to toss everything together and keep things moving.
- Cook the rice over high heat: This helps to give the rice a nice texture and wok flavor. If you’re not used to cooking with such high heat make sure to keep stirring so the rice doesn’t stick or burn.
- Use enough oil: You don’t need to completely drown your fried rice in oil but make sure to use enough to help add flavor and also stop the ingredients from sticking to the pan.
- Don’t use too much soy sauce: A little soy sauce goes a long way in terms of flavor. You can always add more later if you need to but it’s much harder to take away.
Why Is My Fried Rice Mushy?
If your fried rice turns out mushy there are a few things that could have gone wrong:
- You didn’t rinse the rice before first cooking it.
- You didn’t use pre-cooked rice or you didn’t allow it to dry and chill properly before frying.
- You didn’t cook the rice over high enough heat before adding other ingredients.
- You added too much seasoning sauce
Hopefully, you now know all about the best rice for fried rice. Jasmine is a great choice, followed by plain long grain and basmati.
Fried rice is delicious and easy to make at home, just follow the simple tips and tricks in this guide and you’ll make a great dish.
And, if you want to take your fried rice to the next level, try adding some of your favorite ingredients such as meats or vegetables.
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