Chicken Fried Rice

Posted on May 29, 2014


Chicken Fried Rice on thingswemake

A while back I went to one of those parties where a group of wine drinking women pass round items for sale. These enforced gatherings leave me feeling a little awkward, like I should join in more, laugh more…buy more.

The host gets the ladies to do a few getting-to-know-you exercises then gets out the big box of shiny products to pass round and fondle.

“Where does THAT bit go? Oh, it’s a very pretty colour, maybe I should try it.”

“Oh yes, you must get one Erica. I use mine every week. I couldn’t get by without it, even Dave uses it when I’m out at yoga. It’s changed my life”

thingswemake fried rice

The big ticket item of the evening that they all wanted? The rice steamer. Oh, how they discussed their love of it.

“I could NEVER cook rice before. It always came out all sticky and welded to the pan.”

I sat quietly wondering if I was from a different planet. Really? Why do they find cooking rice so hard? Do I really want another product cluttering up my cupboard when I have perfectly good saucepans?

We eat rice a lot. A lot of our quick standby dinners (of which more to come in the next post) start with a batch of white rice. One problem is that it’s so easy to cook too much. Even a cupful of rice grains drinks up a pan of water and swell to produce a decent sized bowl of fluffy rice. I weigh mine now to save getting carried away, 200g is the right amount for the 2½ of us.

I don’t use the cheapest rice, I use Tilda Basmati. (not an advertisement, just true!) Not least because I have a shiny blue Tilda tin to keep it in, but I love the smell of it, that it’s never gluey and it does only take 10 minutes to cook. My Mum used to stew away her rice using the absorption method, the kitchen windows thick with steam, for 20 minutes or more. I just boil a full kettle of water pour it over the rice, boil it hard and fast then drain it after 10 minutes, rinsing it through well with cold water if it’s for re-frying.

This recipe starts with just that. I have a colander of cooled rice draining in the kitchen as we speak ready to make tonight’s chicken fried rice. There is also a bowl of chicken salvaged from yesterday’s roast chicken: a couple of thighs, a leg, plus a bonus slice of breast meat that Ed didn’t manage to divert into Ernie’s treat bowl.

‘Stir-fry’ would be a misnomer here. It’s not a quick hectic stirring and frying (that sort of cooking gets me in a lather) it’s a squashing and browning process. The main trick is to cook this a little longer than you think but not to fiddle about too much, just press the rice onto the hot buttery pan to make some heavenly crispy brown bits.

That’s how we like it anyway.

Things{we}make Chicken Fried Rice

200g Basmati rice, cooked and rinsed until completely cold
Sunflower oil
1 handful of spring onions or shallots – finely chopped
1 stick of celery – finely chopped
2 carrots – finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic – thinly sliced
Leftover chicken from a roast – about a cereal bowl full, chopped into small pieces
5 spice powder
Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons of butter
A handful of frozen peas
An egg (optional – as the boy doesn’t like it with egg)

  1. In a large non-stick pan gently fry the onions, celery and carrots in oil until softened
  2. Add the garlic slices and cook for a little longer
  3. Add the chopped chicken with a bit more oil and a large tablespoon of 5 spice
  4. Cook until browned
  5. Pour the drained rice in with and a 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce until it looks quite brown – turn the heat up to cook through until all is hot
  6. Pull the rice to the side and add 2 tblsps butter, when it’s hot and melted stir well
  7. Press the fried rice down with a spatula to get it cooking into the hot butter
  8. Occasionally turn it all over and press it down with your spatula – you will start to see lovely crispy browned bits forming on the bottom
  9. Add a handful of frozen peas
  10. If you like egg, pull the rice to the side again, crack an egg in, with a pinch of salt, whisk around with a fork until nearly cooked then stir it into the mix
  11. Taste it – add more soy and 5 spice if it needs more flavour (I sometimes add teriyaki sauce or sesame oil too)
  12. It’s done when the rice has some good colour and toasted bits
  13. Serve with sweet chilli sauce on the side