One way to get more whole grains in your diet is to switch from eating white rice to eating brown rice. Brown rice contains both the bran and the germ of the grain, so it also contains more fiber and nutrients. You can substitute brown rice for white in pretty much any recipe that features the grain, including fried rice.
Type of Rice
Fried rice works best when you use a long-grain rice rather than a short-grain variety. Pick a variety that isn't sticky so that the rice doesn't clump up or cling together when you prepare the dish. Both Basmati rice and Jasmine rice work well in fried rice, as the grains stay separate when cooked. Basmati rice tends to be on the pricy side; if you need an economic alternative, you can use brown rice simply labeled "long grain" to make the dish.
Preparing the Rice
Preparing the brown rice the day before and letting it chill in the refrigerator overnight is the key to making fried rice at home. If you use rice that is just cooked and still warm, it tends to stick together, and the end result is softer. When you cook brown rice, use 2 1/2 cups of water for every cup of dried rice. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the rice simmer for up to 50 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Spread the cooked rice out on a baking sheet and let it cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least three hours, or overnight. The rice should be cold to the touch before you use it for fried rice.
Cooking fried rice is a quick process. You need to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start. Measure the oil you intend to use and place it by the stove. Chop up vegetables into 1/2 inch pieces and place in bowls near the stove so that you can dump them into the pan quickly. Get the rice out of the refrigerator and place it by the cooking area, too. Measure out any liquid ingredients you intend to use and have them ready to go, as well.
You can use either a flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch skillet to cook the fried rice. A wok can be cumbersome to use but is the traditional method. A skillet may give you a more even cooking experience, since the entire surface of the pan is in contact with your oven's burner. If you use a seasoned wok or a non-stick pan you can use less oil when cooking. Heat the pan before you add any ingredients. Add ingredients to the pan based on how long they need to cook. For example, add meat first, then add hard vegetables such as carrots or broccoli. Finally, add the rice and any softer vegetables, such as peas or green onions, plus your sauce. If you are adding an egg, break it into the pan at the end and stir until it is cooked.
- "How to Cook Everything"; Mark Bittman
- The Guardian: How to Cook the Perfect Egg Fried Rice
- Eating Well: How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly
- "Everyday Stir-Frying"; Cook's Illustrated, July and August 2013
- Photo Credit Maria Teijeiro/Photodisc/Getty Images