This version of fried rice is not particularly authentic to any one cuisine, but was inspired mostly by Indonesian fried rice. It uses Thai fish sauce rather than ketjap manis, and they probably don’t use peas. But they do use the scrambled eggs that I like to throw in. It is reasonably healthy, although a bit high in salt (thanks to the fish sauce). The main feature is that you can change things around however you like. If this is too salty use less fish sauce. If you don’t like peas, leave them out. If you’d rather use pork than chicken go right ahead. Have fun, and enjoy.
This recipe will feed 4 – 6 people, depending on their appetites.
- 4 cups cooked Basmati rice, cooked a day ahead (see notes)
- 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (see notes)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 6 TBS fish sauce (see notes)
- 6 scallions, white and light green sliced thinly, dark green in 1″ pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 TBS crushed red pper or 2 thinly sliced fresh cayenne peppers (optional, or adjust to desired heat level)
- 2 TBS canola or any vegetable oil, divided
In a large (at least 10″) skillet ! TBS heat oil over medium low heat. Beat the two eggs throughly, and add to skillet. Make sure they spread out as much as possible – the goal is a very thin omelette. Cook until mostly done through, being careful not to create any browning. Carefully flip and cook another 30 seconds, then lay out on a cutting board. Add the remaining oil and bump the heat to medium. Let the skillet reheat. Add carrots, cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. While these are cooking, slice the omelette into strips about 3/4″ wide. Keep 4 or 5 of these whole, and chop the rest into pieces about 1″ long. Next add the chicken and let that heat throuh (about 1 minute). Add rice and scallions, and mix . Add fish sauce, and make sure everything is mixed thoroughly. Add pepper (if using), the diced pieces of egg, and peas, and continue cooking until everything is is well mixed and heated through. Place in a large serving bowl and garnish with the whole strips of egg.
Notice that I specified Basmati rice, which is grown in the Himalayan foothills and cured for (I think) a year. This rice has a lower glycemic index than starchier rices, and I think it works better for this dish. You really don’t want sticky rice here, unlike the Chinese version. I am diabetic, and this is actually the only type of rice I can eat. If you can’t get Basmati, use another long grain rice. Jasmine rice (which comes from Thailand) will work fine, although not quite as well as Basmati. Do NOT use any short or medium grain rice, it will be much too sticky.
The rice must be cooked ahead of time, preferably at least a day ahead. This allows the rice to firm up and dry out a bit. What I do is to cook 2 cups (raw) basmati rice according to package directions, and when cool enough, place in a storage container and cover with a dish cloth, and let sit in the refrigerator until it is time to use. 2 cups of uncooked basmati rice makes around 7 or 8 cups of cooked rice, So you can either have a lot kleftover (I eat it a lot anyway), or just cook 1 cup and adjust the recipe if it doesn’t make quite enough cooked. Proportions aren’t that critical anyway.
For the chicken I normally use rotisserie chicken. Last time I made it I didn’t have quite enough so I added a smoked chicken thigh (which added a nice smokey undertone). Use what you have available.
There are a number of brands of fish sauce available in the U.S. (not to mention worldwide). In general they are quite pungent, but brands can vary quite a bit. So my suggestion would be to start with a smaller amount than called for, and taste as you cook. You can always add more, but if you put in too much, there’s not much you can do. Note that I did not call for salt in this recipe. fish sauce is generally quite salty. But if you think you need some, go ahead and add it.
For peppers, fresh is better, but they can be hard to find. Cayenne (red or green), Thai, or even Fresno, should all work. Use what you think you need for your desired heat level. I did not have fresh peppers available for this batch so I used crushed red pepper. The 1 TBS called out in the ingredients made a moderately spicy batch. Better to have too little than too much.
This is one of those recipes that should work with nearly any ingredients you have on hand (within reason). I add peas and carrots because they are colorful, and I like them. They are not required. You could also probably add a few cilantro leaves as a garnish. Use this as a starting point and have fun with it.