While I was growing up, we would eat out as a family to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Since Mom cooked only vegetarian at home, we looked forward to eating non-vegetarian food outside and Chinese food was one of our favorites. My earliest memories of Chinese food center around Century Club in Bangalore and later when we moved to Hyderabad, Haiking and Alex’s Kitchen soon became our favorites. Over time, I have tried cooking Indo-Chinese food at home and even though some dishes come fairly close to the ones at restaurants in India, I’ve never quite replicated the taste exactly. I guess I am missing some secret ingredient or technique! This fried rice is inspired by the fried rice I ate at restaurants in India.
Its said that fried rice is served best with a day old rice. Fried rice gets done very quickly because you are cooking in a wok on very high flame. Hence its very important that you have all the ingredients ready and handy.
- Cooked white rice - 1 cup
- Chicken tenderloins - 6
- Corn starch - 1 tsp
- Eggs - 4
- Mixed vegetables (french beans, carrots and green peas) - 1 cup
- Onions - 1, medium sized, finely chopped
- Scallions/spring onions/green onions - 1/3 cup (about 5-6), chopped fine with the whites and greens separated
- Cabbage - 1/3 cup, finely chopped
- Black pepper powder - 1 tbsp, divided
- Green chillies - 4
- Garlic cloves - 4
- Ginger - 1" piece
- Soy sauce (low sodium)- 1 tbsp
- Vinegar - 1/2 tbsp
- Oil - 3 tbsp, divided
- Salt to taste
Cook the rice a day before or if you do not have time, cook it a couple hours before you make the fried rice and spread the cooked rice out on a large plate to cool so that the grains are separated. If you want, you can add a tsp of oil and gently fluff/toss the rice with a fork.
Wash and pat dry the chicken tenderloins and cut into thin strips.
Break the eggs in a bowl, add little salt and pepper to it and beat well.
In a separate bowl, take a tbsp of the beaten egg, add cornstarch to it and mix well so that no lumps are formed or remaining. Marinate the chicken strips in the egg and cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
Chop all the vegetables uniformly and set aside.
When you chop the scallions/spring onions/green onions, separate the greens and the white, using the greens for garnish and the whites while cooking.
Using a food processor, finely mince the ginger, garlic and green chillies.
Making the fried rice:-
Heat a large wok and when it is very hot, add a tsp of oil in it. Put in the chicken strips and keep stirring till lightly browned. As its been thinly sliced, it will get cooked pretty quickly. Set aside.
In the same wok, add a tsp of oil and pour in the beaten eggs. You can make a thin omelette of the eggs and cut them into strips or you can scramble them, its upto you. Set aside.
In the same wok, put in a tsp of oil and add in the mixed vegetables(carrots, french beans and green peas). Add very little salt and pepper and stir fry till the vegetables are cooked but they still have a slight crunch to them. Set aside.
Again, in the same hot wok, add in 2 tbsp of oil and put in the minced green chillies, garlic and ginger. Fry till light golden. Put in the chopped onions, cabbage and scallions and stir fry for a minute. Put in the rest of the cooked ingredients (mixed vegetables, eggs and the chicken strips). Combine.
Add the cooked rice and salt to taste and mix well. Stir in the soy sauce and vinegar and mix well.
Take off the heat, garnish with the finely chopped greens of the scallions. Toss with a fork gently so as to not break the rice and serve hot.
- Always make sure you use cooled rice and not freshly cooked rice because it can make your fried rice very soft and mushy and you don’t want that.
- Instead of tenderloins, chicken breasts can be used too.
- You do not need to marinate the chicken strips for a long time, just till you get the other ingredients ready.
- Make sure you use fresh vegetables and not the frozen ones as fresh veggies impart a totally different taste than the frozen ones, that’s been my observation! But if you are short on time, go ahead with the frozen ones.
- If you do not have green chillies at home, you can substitute them with either red pepper flakes or chilli sauce.
- If you are using regular soy sauce, go a little easy on the salt in your rice as the soy sauce tends to be pretty salty. We buy the low sodium one which gives the required amount of flavor but with less salt.
- You can skip the step that involves stir frying the veggies separately and go directly to frying them all at once. When I do that, I find that some veggies are either overcooked and some are under cooked, hence the separate steps.
- If you are a vegetarian, skip the chicken and eggs, instead go for vegetable fried rice using the same recipe!