Rice is one of the universal staple grains in the world - present in a number of global dishes, and a perfect blank slate for any type of seasonings, vegetables, and meat or fish. And whilst plain white rice might be the default option for many, there are over 40,000 varieties of rice to diversify your dishes; from brown rice to wild rice, there’s a type suitable for all tastes.
Fried rice is maybe one of the most famous of the Chinese rice dishes and can be found on most Chinese restaurant menus. However, it’s also incredibly easy to make at home. Check out this video clip from Jamie Oliver’s food channel, in which the Dumpling Sisters show us how to make a classic fried rice.
For a slightly different variation, go for this recipe that includes sesame and peanut oils along with scallions and egg. For the best-fried rice, go for a bowl of leftover rice which will be slightly drier - allowing it to crisp up more easily in the pan when fried.
Or, go for a Thai-inspired egg-fried rice with prawns and peas. This version includes making an egg and soy milk omelet that then gets cut into strips, before adding in mixed herbs like coriander, mint, and Thai basil. Delicious prawns and a dash of fish sauce finish the job.
Chinese sausage fried rice
If you’d like a bit of meat in your fried rice, try adding in some sausage-like in this recipe from Red House Spice for sausage fried rice. Inspired by “clay pot rice,” a popular Cantonese dish that involves cooking rice in a clay pot then adding meat and vegetables on the top. This version opts for fresh rice and is cooked in a deep frying pan, or wok, instead. Opt for a Chinese sausage such as lap cheong, a fragrant and slightly sweet pork sausage cut into slices.
Yangchow fried rice
Yangchow fried rice - also known as Yangzhou or Yeung Chow fried rice - is a fried rice cooked in the wok. In the UK it’s often referred to as special fried rice and in the US, it’s known as house fried rice. It also includes some type of pork element such as char siu or lap cheong, scallions, and various fresh veg. A colourful rice ensues, with hints of green, pink, yellow, and orange peeking through the fried rice grains. Thisrecipe from China Sichuan Food is packed with wonderful ingredients.
Congee is a rice dish that’s slightly lesser known outside of China and other Asian countries but nonetheless equally delicious and nutritious. The savoury rice porridge is commonly eaten for breakfast and is believed to have restorative properties. Rice is cooked in water until the grains start to break down, making for a thick stew. Your favourite vegetables, meat and fish can be added to your taste. Various Michelin-starred restaurants have even put their own twists on the dish.
Of course, you can still make delicious fried rice that is also vegan and abstains from eggs and meat. Have a go at thisvegetarian thai fried rice that is packed with beans, sweetcorn, and scallions and is flavoured with garlic, ginger and lime juice for a satisfying meal in. This version fries all the veg together and only mixes in the rice at the end, for a much lighter version.
Sizzling rice (crispy rice)
Sizzling rice, also known as guoba, is a delicious version of fried rice that involves boiling rice in a large metal wok over a big flame, ending up with a crusty layer of rice at the bottom of the pot. That layer is what gets eaten, resulting in a toasty cracker-like rice wedge similar to what you’d get from charring bread for a toasted flavour. It can be eaten as is, or used in dishes with sauces and seafoods; and when the sauce gets poured over, a properly made crispy rice will pop and sizzle. Check out this recipe from The Spruce Eats for a classic guoba