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Authentic Chinese Fried Rice [Split from L.A. board]

Come on....Fried rice is a no brainer to make for anyone. The only Asian ingredient in it is soy sauce and the secret ingredient is day old rice.
I know what the OP is talking about because I've sat at the counter at Koraku numerous time watching the guy making it.

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  1. Absolutely not true, unless you are being sarcastic. That's the way older style restuarants might make it to save money, but usually good fried rice is used with fresh rice or with sticky rice(which is not really fried rice). The Asian ingredients depend on what you order, such as barbecued pork. You can easily make it at home and taste the difference.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cfylong

      Sorry to disappoint....you don't know fried rice.

      Ask any Chinese cook or Chinese mother. Day old rice is better because it has less water to it and less starch and the rice grains don't stick or clump together when you stir fry it. Next time you're looking at your perfect idea of fried rice, look at the grains of rice and you'll see they're not sticking to each other. You don't get that by using fresh rice. Actually day old Japanese medium grain rice makes great fried rice too (its stickier than long grain rice). You could never make fried rice with short grain sticky rice...you'd have one big clumpy mess.

      Google up "secret to making fried rice" you don't believe me. I've been making it long enough to know. In a clinch...bacon fried rice (Hawaiian favorite).

      Fried rice is an Americanized Chinese dish and probably conceived from what to do with day old rice.

      1. re: monku

        Yup.

        Gotta have day-old white rice (or at least rice that is a bit dry or "stale").

        At our old restaurant, we would also cook up a big batch of rice the night before, refrigerate it, and then use it the next day to make fried rice.

        Another key is to use really hot oil.

        1. re: monku

          Hmm ... my 76-year-old Chinese mother and my 81-year-old Chinese father have both been making fried rice with fresh, short-grained rice for as long as I can remember, and I don't ever recall it being a clumpy mess.

          And as for it being an Amerticanized dish, that certainly would have been news to my Lao-lao, who used to make it all the time and never got within 5000 miles of the US.

          1. re: mclaugh

            Like everything else there are different ways of making fried rice.

            Let's see, my grandfather had a Chinese restaurant in the midwest maybe 60 years ago and he would be about 115 if he were alive today and that's how he taught me how to make it and I've been making it that way for maybe 45 years. Several times in a clinch I didn't have day old rice or cold rice so I used rice out of the pot.

            I'm sure in the world wherever there is rice there's fried rice as a way to use leftovers. You name it I've made fried rice out of it.

            This was part of another post and the subject went on a tangent when poster "cfylong" claimed you had to go to an authentic Chinese restaurant to get good fried rice. When the original place I recommended was a Americanized Cantonese restaurant take out place that's been in business for 30+ years.

            Tell me it isn't Americanized Cantonese when I've used ham, Spam, bacon, hamburger meat,corned beef, steak, meat from BBQ ribs,and whatever meat I got leftover.

            "About fried rice in America"
            "The [American] restaurant convention of ordering a dish of fried rice with numerous other main' courses, or ordering it place of white rice, is Western and not Chinese at all."
            ---The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cook Book, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap:New York] 1975 (p. 633)

            1. re: monku

              Quite obviously now, as attested by other posters, day old rice is neither the only nor necessarily preferred way to make fried rice. I do claim that a place like Uncle John's Chinese Food certainly makes fried rice that would be different from say Capital or NBC fried rice and that the OP can get either Uncle John's on the Westside or he can come to the SGV for much better fried rice.

              1. re: monku

                Your quote is saying the way westerners eat fried rice compare to Chinese. We eat it as a main course while westerners eat it to accompany their main course.

            2. re: monku

              Totally disagree about the Americanized Chinese part. It's definitely authentic. There are many regional variations. Using day old rice is one variation, but there are others.

          2. Anyone can make it...but there are a few secrets, as mentioned -- hot oil, day old white long grain rice (never use short grain like Cal Rose) and add the soy sauce near the end (too early and the rice absorbs it and gets blotchy).

            BTW, fried rice isn't just Americanized Chinese. It has many Asian variations. Bacon is great and a favorite Hawaiian and Japanese American variation and Nasi Goreng is the national dish of Indonesia. You will also find variations in the Philipines, Malaysia, etc, etc.

            Saying all fried rice is the same is sort of like saying serrano and prosciutto are the same. Certainly similarities but not the same. BTW, I had a Mexican friend joke to a Spanish friend that paella was just Spanish fried rice and tapas were dim sum...so maybe it is all the same.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              You can use Japanese style rice like Calrose, that's what they use at the Japanese style places in Little Tokyo LA and that's what they use when they make it at Benihana.

              Instead of soy sauce I usually add oyster sauce, you can use less and still get some decent color and maybe it isn't as salty.

              1. re: monku

                Okay I won't get into the long grain vs. short grain debate. :) You can use Cal Rose but it can be tricky in my experience if it's cooked sticky.

                1. re: ML8000

                  Never had a problem, just like using long grain rice. Half the time that's what I'm using.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    japanese fried rice is always short or medium grain, as is korea's kimchi fried rice.

              2. Soy sauce isn't always used in fried rice. Yangzhou fried rice should be white though I've had some poor versions that were stained brown. Arguably it's the most famous version in China. Fukien fried rice is also white as is the sauced topping poured over it.

                As for other Asian specific ingredients, don't forget fermented shrimp paste or dried salted fish!

                3 Replies
                1. re: usr.bin.eat

                  "As for other Asian specific ingredients, don't forget fermented shrimp paste or dried salted fish!"
                  Yum.....(dried salted fish) I call it "dirty fried rice".

                    1. re: usr.bin.eat

                      usr.bin.eat -- can you share a bit more about what goes into Fukien rice? I'm heading to Hong Kong again in a few weeks and would love to know what to look for specifically. Usually I'm doing noodles for most of the trip in the form of shui jiao mian (shrimp dumplings in noodle soup ... yum!) , but want to taste as many authentic dishes as possible. Cheers!

                    2. FYI: I'm not the original poster of this thread and it isn't the title I gave to the post-the Chowhound Team gave it the title.

                      This was the original post.
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/343900

                      1. One thing I've done that's made my fried rice a lot tastier is not shying away from having a lot of oil in the wok- I watched that Aussie Chinese woman make fried rice on her show on FNW and was appalled at how her wok had perhaps an inch of oil in it, but I tried it and it was tremendous- oily but delicious.

                        1. I had a scallop based fried rice that was done with egg white and stems of chinese brocoli. No soy involved and it was a great dish!

                          Shrimp Paste fried rice has no soy too.

                          I think its most important that the rice doesn't stick together.

                          The world of fried rice is much bigger than you think!

                          1. No soy sauce, please. White fried rice, without soy sauce, is soooooooo much better. Some crumbled dried scallops, bits of Chinese sausage and scallions, maybe some strands of egg white.

                            In a few Chinese restaurants I've gone to, when I've ordered the white-style fried rice, they ask me to be sure, "You want the Chinese-style, not American-style, right?" or words to that effect.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Karl S

                              I agree... I don't get brown fried rice. Fried rice "should" typically be white or yellow and definitely shouldn't taste like a bottle of soy sauce. However, whenever my family makes fried rice at home we do add soy.

                              1. re: Blueicus

                                Is it dark or light soy sauce, and how much?
                                I have never experienced anything that tastes like Fried Rice from a chinese takeaway, anywhere other than a chinese takeaway. I've met dozens of people who have offered to give me or cook me their recipe but it has never been the same. P.s. I'm talking about plain fried rice that they serve with other dishes, not special fried rice etc - I promise if anyone ever shows me how to make the rice I'll figure out how to add a few peas and bits of pork myself!

                                1. re: ricecurrysearcher

                                  Ricecurrysearcher, I too have longed to make this dish at home. The thing is you need a very hot pan and lots of oil to make it like the take-out places do. That's what gives take-out "wok hei", or that indefinable, almost smoky flavor.

                                  If you are making fried rice at home and you can't get those high temperatures, try adding some bacon grease to your cooking oil, which will lend a hand in the smokiness department. Oyster sauce, Sriracha and a little sesame oil will help in the savory department. It won't be exactly the same as take-out but it will be pretty good.

                            2. Hi all I am very new here and am hoping someone here can answer my question about plain rice? I LOVE the plain rice I get with my food when I order chinese take out however, I cannot make it at home. Perhaps someone here can tell me what kind of rice they use? If different than what I can buy at my local market. The rice I get no matter what resturant I go to is always thick and sticky, and I love it that way!!! My experience in rice cookery is limited to minute rice, (typical anglo-american, lol) and now boil in bag types. If ANYONE can tell me how to make the delicious clumpy, sticky, rice sold with dishes from most chinese resturants I would be most grateful. Thank you!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Brinkle20

                                The white, plain rice I get in Chinese restaurants is usually a long grain like Jasmine, which is my personal favorite. However, if you want a stickier one, get a medium grain. Invest in a rice cooker. It'll give you more consistent results over time. Good luck.