I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a stone’s throw from Chinatown so I’m kind of picky about my fried rice. Whenever my mom had a few extra bucks, she’d treat me and my siblings to dinner at a small restaurant there, off the beaten path. Sometimes the posted menu was in Chinese and we’d have to ask the waiter for a familiar dish. Often, the family that owned the place sat at a big round table right alongside the patrons sharing a big bowl of noodles, chatting in Chinese. I was determined to learn how to make fried rice that reminded me of those days and I think I’ve finally figured it out. The two must-haves: a sizzling hot wok or skillet and day-old white rice. — L. Weal
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups day-old cooked white rice
1 small (3 ounces) onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
1/2 cup cooked meat, cubed or shredded
1/2 cup diced cooked vegetables
1/4 cup bean sprouts
wok, or large (12″) skillet
1. Place oil in wok over high heat. Meanwhile, break up rice in its container, stirring well to separate the grains.
2. When the oil is very hot, add rice and onion. Stir continuously for about 5 minutes, making sure rice is well coated with oil.
3. Push rice and onions to one side and add beaten egg to the empty side of the wok.
4. Scramble egg quickly with fork, breaking it into small pieces, then mix with rice.
5. Add scallions, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and any optional ingredients. Stir well until thoroughly combined and heated through.
NOTES & TIPS
• Day-old cooked rice is best for stir-frying. Freshly made rice has too much moisture and will turn to mush in a hot pan.