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Fried brown rice

I love fried white rice (especially kimchi rice) and make it often, but I'm trying to get more brown rice (which I also love) into my diet.

I haven't ever tried using brown rice for fried rice. Wondering if anyone has technique tips, or rice variety recommendations.

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  1. Fried brown rice is actually one of my go-to easy, healthy meals. Here's my recipe, adapted from a long-ago Shape magazine one:

    Heat up a small amount of sesame oil, throw in some crushed garlic for a moment, and add cubes of boneless skinless chicken breast. (Optional: saute some onion with the chicken.) Once the chicken is browned, add uncooked brown rice (I use the Uncle Ben 10-min variety for time purposes, and it works just fine), stirring it around for a minute. Stir in soy sauce, then add chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer according to your rice directions. About five minutes before the rice is supposed to be done, lay some broccoli florets and chopped baby carrots on top, and cover to steam up the veggies while the rice finishes cooking. Once it's all done, stir in chopped green onions.

    I've tried sauteing the carrots at the beginning, but leaving them in the rice so long gives the dish a strange flavor. Other than that, though, it's really fool-proof, and you can easily up the veggie content. It also reheats really well for lunch the next day. So good!

    3 Replies
    1. re: porceluna

      doesnt cooking the rice AFTER browning get rid of all the wonderful crispy-ness? I know mom used to "brown" white rice before cooking to make sort of a "rice-a-roni" type dish, but I've never before seen fried rice where the rice was fried raw then cooked. Interesting concept.

      just a note: generally day old refrigerated white rice works better for fried rice, doesn't stick as much, assume the same is true for brown rice.

      1. re: porceluna

        The browning-before-cooking is also how you make Armenian pilaf (which they knocked off when they "invented" Rice-A-Roni), and brown rice works very well for that - in fact, I think I like it much better. You cook about a cup of crushed angel-hair pasta (the nests are the best) in butter or oil until it's golden brown, then put in a cup of rice and cook it, stirring, until the grains turn chalky. Pour in two cups water or chicken broth (all at once or it'll boil over!), bring it to the boil again covered, then reduce heat and simmer half an hour or so. I was taught to add salt and cayenne pepper at the beginning, and have never seen a good reason not to...

        1. re: Will Owen

          yep, thats what mom did... I could never understand why people paid so much for that little box of rice a roni when it was so easy to make at home.

          thanks will

      2. Works wonderfully. Good spices are cumin/coriander, garlic (as above), ginger, maybe some chili flakes or chili paste. With those spices tarragon is great. I'll saute in toasted seesame oil and maybe some butter, adding seasoning at the end. Caramelize some onions or shallots, add peas, roasted corn, etc. Toss with a little soy. Top with toasted sesame seeds, chopped scallions.

        1. When my brother came back from duty in Vietnam, he started making us fried rice for breakfast. He'd lived in a house, and he watched the housekeeper cook. Don't know whether she taught him anything, but the rice sure hit the spot.

          He'd saute chopped green onion and mushrooms in an electric skillet (anyone remember those?) till soft, then add a few more T oil, when it was hot he'd add rice cooked al dente, and stir stir stir. When the rice was well crisped, he'd add some cocktail shrimp and season with soy and fish sauce.

          I changed the recipe to use brown rice, which is even tastier. I find when cooking the rice beforehand, adding the rice a few tsp at a time to boiling water (so it never comes off the boil) keeps the outside of the grain from bursting and the rice from getting all gooey. Makes a nicer rice for eating or cooking with. Cover, lower heat to very low and steam for 40 minutes, fluff, and let sit covered off heat for 5 more minutes.

          1. I have used brown rice as a substitute for white in my fried rice recipe for years to rave reviews from family. They still say my rice is better then take out. Just follow your fried rice recipe using brown rice.

            1. I've made it often, using brown rice instead of white. Of course, the results are not the same, but still wonderful. I've also used a combination or cooked-and-cooled-overnight brown rice and barley.... with the usual: a little soy sauce, sesame oil and hot seasonings, onion, maybe celery, maybe garlic, definitely ginger, some leftover meat, a small omelet, chopped, and a few times, some softened bean thread, cut to about 2 inch lengths....


              1. I mix the two now - 1/8 to 1/4 cup brown rice per cup of white. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon well soaked black rice (well soaked means it won't turn your rice purple).
                Follow your normal recipe.

                1. I make this on a weekly basis for my 19 month old, who pretty much eats hot dogs, mac n cheese, fried rice and lo mein. go figure. Anyway - my recipe (using Susanna Foo as a guide):

                  Buy sushi brown rice - I think the brand is Nishiri. Cook according to package directions. (I make 1 c) When the rice is done turn it off and just let it sit and steam itself for another 15 minutes or so. At this point you can either refrig the rice and make the dish later or you can make the fried rice if you are in a rush to get to the good stuff. My understanding is that "real" fried rice is made with leftover rice.

                  Next: slice scallions. I use 4 - 6 for the 1 c., but you can use more according to taste.
                  Beat together 2 or 3 eggs.
                  In a 12 in skillet, heat a generous glob of oil on med high. Don't use olive oil. Peanut, corn, etc. Do not skimp on the oil; you will regret it. Add the eggs and cook over med-high heat, separating with fork/chopsticks/spoon and cook until dry and fragrant. Remove from skillet. Quickly add in the scallions and cook until fragrant. Add in the rice, add back the eggs, and cook over medium to warm and fully combine the dish. I add a few jigs of soy sauce at the end - not too much. My toddler loves it, and my all-grown-up husband is pretty fond of it too.

                  If you want to add veg or meat, you can add them after the egg. Usually I add carrot and sometimes cooked and shredded chicken. I add them when I add the scallion. It's easiest to make this dish with leftovers. If you have stuff that just needs to be warmed e.g. baby corn or water chestnuts, they can get added with the rice. According to Susanna Foo's cookbook, soy sauce shouldn't even be a major part of the dish, but hey, I grew up on Americanized Chinese food. Good luck. I highly rec the sushi rice.

                  1. Whatever recipe you use for your fried rice (white or brown), make sure to use day old rice.

                    That is, cook the rice the day before, leave it out or put in the fridge overnight and use that rice for your fried rice.

                    1. BTW -- brown basmati rice is delicious, including for fried. The 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline gives it a wonderfully nutty taste...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Richard 16

                        Golly, I was wondering what that nice taste was ;-)

                        Brown basmati has turned into my favorite rice for about anything. There's a mushroom, rice and onion stuffing I threw together for a boned lamb roast last year that was well received, and I think BB would make it even better.