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Egg fried rice is a classic staple of many a Chinese takeaway. However, did you know that it is actually an incredibly easy dish that you can make at home with just a few basic ingredients? This rice/egg breakfast makes for an excellent start to your day that can keep you feeling full and energised for hours. The best part though? It can be all this whilst still being fairly healthy.
Table of Contents
- What Is Egg Fried Rice?
- What Type of Rice Should I Use For This Egg Fried Rice Recipe?
- Wok Versus Skillet? – Which Should I Use To Make Fried Rice?
- Should I Use The Hob Or A Rice Cooker To Make My Rice?
- Common Mistakes When Making Egg Fried Rice
- How To Make Breakfast Egg Fried Rice
What Is Egg Fried Rice?
As the name suggests egg fried rice is quite simply rice fried with eggs. However, just using eggs and rice would create a rather underwhelming dish, as such soy sauce, and/or salt and pepper are very common additions.
This however is merely a foundation. Whilst egg fried rice with a bit of soy sauce will be very nice, many recipes will expand on the concept by adding proteins, vegetables, aromatics and additional seasonings. Common dinner recipes that use this foundation include chicken fried rice and nasi goreng.
What Type of Rice Should I Use For This Egg Fried Rice Recipe?
The majority of different long or medium grain rice types can work with this recipe. However, the drier your rice the better. This is because rice when fried will release any moisture trapped within. This can make the dish come out very soggy.
For this reason, grains like basmati which are naturally drier when cooked make an excellent choice. However, recently cooked rice will have moisture trapped within either way. As such, allowing naturally drier grains to cool will help prevent sogginess.
The same is true with stickier rice grains such as jasmine rice as well. However, in the case of these grains, they should be left and cooled longer.
Whichever grain type you use though, leftover rice will produce the best results. This is because leftover rice is typically left in the fridge or freezer for multiple days and will naturally be drier.
Aside from the quality of the finished egg fried rice, whether to use basmati or jasmine rice can also come down to other factors. These can include their flavour and aroma or their nutritional value.
Brown vs White Rice
In terms of pure health concerns, brown rice will likely be better for you due to its higher fibre and nutritional content. However, brown rice also typically contains more calories so if you’re calorie counting white rice may be better.
White rice will also cook much more quickly than brown rice. This is as a result of the brown rice have the extra bran layer which is stripped back in the process of making white rice. This reduced cooking time will be useful if you intend to use cooked rice from scratch. However, if using leftover rice then this will be less important.
Many people also prefer the taste of white rice over brown rice. Cooked brown rice is often more earthy in taste with many people considering it almost bread-like.
Wok Versus Skillet? – Which Should I Use To Make Fried Rice?
If you have the option of using a wok, then that is without a doubt what you should go for. This is because the wok will help concentrate the flavours of each individual ingredient and create the mythologised wok hay. Additionally, as far as healthiness goes, using a wok generally requires less oil than a frying pan or skillet.
However, using a wok is not something that most are used to, as such the extreme heat and the need to pre-season your wok makes cooking with one slightly more complex. Additionally, everything that happens when cooking in a wok will be very quick whereas a skillet will likely be a more relaxed process.
Should I Use The Hob Or A Rice Cooker To Make My Rice?
Whilst using cold rice is recommended for making egg fried rice, it still needs to be cooked. Whether to use a hob or rice cooker though mainly depends on one thing, Do you own a rice cooker?
If not, then it’s the hob for you. However, if you make rice dishes regularly, then why don’t you have a rice cooker? They will make consistently great rice and are much less involved than using the hob.
Whether you use the hob or not, however, it is important to know how much water you should add to your rice.
Common Mistakes When Making Egg Fried Rice
The process of making egg fried rice can be very simple. However, there are plenty of plenty of pit traps one can blunder into if you’re not careful. Thank you so much Uncle Roger for showing us that even professional chefs like Jamie Oliver can mess up egg fried rice.
Meanwhile, a home cook can easily create something that is truly delicious if they are conscious of the following:
Not Using Cold Rice
This is perhaps the most common mistake people make. As mentioned before, when making egg fried rice it’s important to use cold and dry rice. Not doing so can make the egg fried rice into a soggy and gloopy mess.
As such using leftover rice that has been cooled in the fridge or freezer is ideal for egg fried rice.
Using Too Much Soy Sauce And/Or MSG
Many lovers of Asian cuisine will swear by using soy sauce and msg in their food. However, both of these ingredients have incredibly strong flavours and high salt content. As such using them in excess can quickly make your egg fried rice both unhealthy and very salty.
Due to this a light drizzle of soy sauce and a small sprinkle of msg is best. This is especially true if you added salt and/or chicken stock when initially cooking your rice, as it will already be salty.
Adding Rice To The Eggs Too Early
The best egg fried rice dishes will have distinct chunks of egg with loose grains of rice. However, this can only be achieved when the cooked rice is added when the egg is already mostly fried.
This is because when the uncooked egg and cooked rice are added at the same time, they will bond together completely. As a result, the dish will not have a distinct egg taste at all and the rice will have an unpleasant crumbly texture.
To avoid this allow your eggs to be roughly eighty percent fried as you would an omelette before adding the rice. Then as you stir and fry the eggs together they will mix whilst still being distinct from one another.
Using Too Many Wet Ingredients
An issue with using wet ingredients in a stir fry or egg fried rice dish is that in excess they can overwhelm the eggs. Potentially, they could also turn the dish into something more akin to a broth or stew.
Additionally, they can take a long time to reduce if you try to salvage the mistake. For these reasons be very conservative with wet ingredients or use pastes such as sambal instead.
Not Cooking Any Added Meat First
Similarly to how adding rice first can mess with the consistency of the eggs, so will uncooked meat. This is because it will increase the length of time the eggs will ultimately be cooked for. As such the eggs may burn or become crumbled.
Additionally, cooking the meat simultaneously is likely to either burn the rice or any added vegetables or aromatics.
How To Make Breakfast Egg Fried Rice
Egg fried rice is one of the most versatile dishes in the world with many variants and recipes in existence. As such the ingredients and instructions displayed below is simply a foundation that you can build upon.
These ingredients will provide roughly enough for a single portion of egg fried rice. One thing to note however is that the more optional ingredients you add to the recipe, the larger an individual portion will be.
- Two eggs
- One cup of cooked rice
- Half a tablespoon of soy sauce (or a tablespoon if adding additional ingredients)
- Cooking oil of choice. Vegetable or peanut oil is best but in a pinch olive oil or canola oil will do
The above are the essential ingredients. However, adding some of the following options will enhance the flavour:
- One to two tablespoons of chopped green onions/scallions
- Salt (or MSG) and pepper to taste
- One clove of thinly sliced garlic or half a teaspoon of garlic powder
- Half a tablespoon of sesame oil
- Half a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
- Half a tablespoon of oyster sauce
- Precooked protein such as chicken, prawns or pork. For the best results season with herbs and spices of your choice. A personal preference for me is paprika.
- Beat your eggs in a mixing bowl. Typically I will use a fork for this, however, chopsticks or a spoon can also work. Season with salt (or msg) and pepper if you wish as well.
- Heat your wok or skillet over a high heat, then turn it down to a medium-high heat when the wok or skillet is hot. If using a wok season with oil and remove any excess before reducing the heat.
- Oil your wok (again) or skillet (for the first time) and allow the oil to heat up. Once it has done add your beaten eggs.
- When your eggs look nearly cooked break them into large chunks using either a shallow ladle or spatula. The consistency should almost resemble chunky scrambled egg.
- Add your rice and soy sauce. Then and toss your pan and stir with a spatula or shallow ladle to mix the ingredients. If using any additional ingredients add them now, with scallions towards the end.
- Toss and stir thoroughly until all of your ingredients a well mixed. When you’re happy, serve immediate