Expat Fried Rice
When Kathy told her friend Ginny about this cookbook and the kind of dishes we planned to include, she immediately offered up her fried rice recipe. A single mom and news editor who worked and traveled in Asia for more than 20 years, she knows a thing or two about getting a fast, fuss-free meal on the table.
She uses leftover meat or fish (salmon is a favorite) — but you can also start with raw and cook it in the pan before you add the rice. The thyme is an unusual addition that Ginny calls a delicious accidental discovery. What’s more, she felt compelled to clarify two things: It’s oyster sauce, not soy sauce, that belongs in fried rice (otherwise, it’s like a "salt lick"), and don’t just serve it for dinner; it makes a great weekend breakfast.
*Fried rice is best made with cooked short- or medium-grain rice (not long-grain or coverted rice) that’s at least a day or so old and cold. The moisture in freshly cooked, warm rice will result in a gummy texture. Ginny’s recipe charmingly called for "yesterday’s rice you’d otherwise throw away" but if all you have is just-cooked rice, spread 4 cups of it on a sheet pan, let it cool on the counter, then, depending on how fast you need it, put it in the refrigerator or freezer until cold. Another idea is to order extra rice when you get Chinese takeout and make the fried rice in the next few days.
- 1/4 Cup vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 Cups cooked rice*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 Cup bite-size pieces cooked meat or fish
- 2 Cups packed baby spinach, 1 cup cooked small broccoli florets, or 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
- 3 Tablespoons oyster sauce, plus extra, if needed
In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they start to brown but are still crisp, about 1 minute. Add the rice and heat through, breaking up any chunks and mixing the grains with the oil and onions, about 2 minutes.
Crack the eggs onto the rice and cook until almost set, stirring to break up the yolks and coat the rice, about 1 minute. Add the meat or fish and vegetables and heat through, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the thyme and oyster sauce and cook for about 1 minute more, stirring often. Check the seasonings, adding salt or more oyster sauce if needed, then serve hot.