Foodblogging Friday: Korean-Style Fried Rice

You’ll see tons of videos online showing how to make fried rice, and almost all of them are correct if you’re making a serving for one or two people at most, like Gordon Ramsay’s 10-minute fried rice. Fried rice has two challenges: first, ingredients cook at different speeds. A carrot cooks significantly more slowly than an egg. By the time you cook ingredients that require a certain level of doneness, other ingredients are overcooked.

Second, when you’re cooking a larger portion, the ingredients tend to overwhelm all but the largest pans. If you want that restaurant-style flavor, take note of the size of a restaurant wok or griddle – it’s the width of your entire stove. Your 10-inch frying pan isn’t suited for the task. If you’ve ever been to a hibachi restaurant, note that they cook everything separately, spread out across the table. That’s what we have to replicate at home.

I’m personally partial to rice cooked in the same way you get from a dolsot bibimbap (stone pot rice bowl) served at Korean restaurants. Crispy, crunchy rice and delicious, fresh vegetables. So let’s get cracking.

Equipment

  • Large baking sheet pan
  • Frying pan or cast iron pan
  • Large metal or glass mixing bowl
  • The usual implements to cut, chop, and stir things
  • A rice cooker or other means of cooking rice
  • A food brush
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Oven with a functioning broiler

Ingredients

  • Rice – your choice of grain (I’m partial to sushi rice), but nothing parboiled (no Instant Rice/Uncle Bens etc.)
  • Bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg per person served (making a dish for 4? use 4 eggs)
  • Scallions if you’ve got ’em, chopped
  • Soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • Sesame oil
  • Powdered garlic OR minced garlic
  • Powdered onion
  • Butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil
  • Non-stick spray
  • Protein of your choice
  • Container of mushrooms, fresh or frozen

Directions

  1. Cook the rice according to your rice cooker’s directions. Feel free to cook this ahead of time, even hours before. For fried rice, I tend to use a little less water, usually in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Spray the baking sheet with non-stick spray and drizzle 1 tsp of sesame oil over the sprayed surface.
    1. Spread the rice in an even layer across the sheet, flattening it out.
    2. Brush the rice with melted butter and lightly salt.
    3. Place this sheet under the broiler, rotating every 2-3 minutes. Remove at any point if the surface goes from brown to burnt.
  3. Thaw the mixed vegetables in hot water.
    1. Drain. Repeat until the vegetables are no longer cold to the touch.
    2. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
    3. Toss in mixing bowl.
  4. Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and heat until the surface reads 375F/190C.
    1. While you wait for it to come to temperature, scramble the egg and add a pinch of salt.
  5. Cook the egg in the frying pan until firmly set. Remove from heat and toss in the mixing bowl.
  6. Melt 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil together in the pan.
    1. Cook until fragrant and the garlic darkens.
    2. Add 1 tsp of soy sauce, then quickly add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms darken and caramelize.
    3. Remove mushrooms to the mixing bowl.
  7. Repeat step 6 with onions.
  8. Repeat step 6 with the protein of your choice, cooked to the doneness you prefer.
  9. Ideally the rice should be done just as you finish the other ingredients. Scrape the rice off the sheet pan and empty into mixing bowl.
  10. Drizzle soy sauce onto the rice. Add scallions.
  11. Stir the mixing bowl’s contents vigorously, folding the ingredients together.
  12. Serve.

Exceptions and Substitutions

If you love crispy rice, double the cooking time and remove the rice when the first side is done, and flip the sheet of rice over to cook both sides.

Substitute vegetable oil for the butter if you have a dairy allergy.

Substitute salt for the soy sauce if you have a soybean allergy.

Other than the rice, pretty much every other ingredient is optional. Swap in or out whatever you have. The secret to this recipe is that you cook the components separately to your preferred level of doneness and then you combine the components at the end, using the heat from the largest component (the rice) to warm up everything else that’s already been cooked.

If you don’t have a broiler, but you do have a grill, you can use the baking sheet with the grill.

If you don’t have a broiler or grill, you can do the rice in batches in your largest frying pan, but it won’t be as good.


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