Is All Fried Rice Vegetarian?
Originally from China, fried rice is a supremely adaptable dish and quickly becomes the perfect one bowl meal. Make so-so fried rice into sensational fried rice with the addition of aromatics and a super easy sauce.
Fried rice is so versatile and quickly converts to either vegetarian or a hearty meal for meat lovers. Watch out, it may become your “go to” last minute dinner plan. It is a great way to use up leftover rice not to mention the little bits of everything else you have put into the fridge the last few days.
No leftovers? Good for you, but fried rice is actually best using day old or precooked rice. Freshly cooked rice is too soft and absorbent to make into really good fried rice.
Rice is the Staple Food in 2/3 s of the World
In over half the world rice is the staple food and is served in one form or another at every meal including breakfast. In many countries it is considered the most important food and is celebrated and even worshipped. But is there really any difference between all that rice?
There are 3 broad categories of rice: short grain, medium grain and long grain. Beyond that each category has variations on top of variations to equal 40,000 different types of rice in all the world. For example, in Japan alone there are hundreds of different types of only short grain rice sold. Astounding, don’t you think?
In terms of only the Asian countries there really are distinct differences between the rice native to each country. There are differences in the length of the grain, but also color, aroma and the stickiness factor.
I have compiled a brief list to describe the rice most commonly found in the US but by no means is this to be all inclusive:
- Japanese Style short grain is tender with a little bite through the center and moist to the point of sticky. Short grain rice is used for sushi and commonly referred to as “sticky rice”. This enables the use of chopsticks to pick up the rice with a little practice.
- Chinese Style long grain is dry and loose
- American Style medium to long grain dry and loose
- Thai Style Jasmine aromatic long grain. Cooks up fluffy white and lightly scented
- Indian Style Basmati fragrant long grain. Cooks up to very long firm dry rice
- Glutinous Rice is sweet and very sticky but does not contain gluten. Its name is derived from the stickiness of the cooked rice. Most commonly used in making sweets and desserts
Interested in learning more about the varieties of rice grown in Asia? The Ultimate Rice Guide was full of facts and intimate details about the characteristics and cooking methods best for each grain and includes lots of pictures.
No “Fail” Fried Rice
What I love about fried rice is that there is no wrong way. Not true. If you try to make it with fresh cooked rice, it will fail on you. But there isn’ t a “fail” when it comes to ingredients or condiments.
What transforms so-so fried rice into really fantastic fried is the addition of aromatics. Mince garlic and/or ginger, add whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Don’t forget salt and pepper and if you like heat, chili pepper flakes or chili sauce to top it all off.
Make it your main course or a side for stir-fry. If you don’t have the ingredients I have listed for sauce, try mixing in a couple of tablespoons of ketchup at the end. Ketchup fried rice is a real “thing” in Japan. May not sound sophisticated but it tastes great!
Here are a few things you may need for this recipe:
Chinese Rice wine is made from fermented glutinous rice or millet. It is aged for 10 years or more and is used for both drinking or cooking. Rice wine used for cooking has lower alcohol content.
Made from oysters, sugar salt and thickened with cornstarch. This dark brown viscous sauce imparts a savory flavor to all types of dishes.
Made from soybeans, wheat salt and fermenting agents. Used as a condiment to give food a rich meaty flavor.
Next time you need dinner fast, get out your leftovers and make Vegetarian Fried Rice. Don’t forget to let me know what your family thinks about these super easy dinner with a comment below.
Vegetarian Spinach & Egg Fried Rice
- November 1, 2020
- 30 min
- Print this
- 4 c precooked/day old rice
- 2 c spinach
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 c onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T fresh ginger, minced
- 2 T oyster sauce or mushroom sauce
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 T Shaoxing wine or white wine
- 1 t sugar
- Step 1
- In a small bowl or jar with lid mix together ingredients for sauce and combine well using whisk or put lid on jar and shake vigorously then set aside
- Step 2
- In large frying pan on high heat with a little oil sauté spinach until wilted about 1 minute then remove to plate. Wipe out pan with paper towel
- Step 3
- Add little more oil to hot pan and swirl to coat pan then add eggs. Allow the eggs to cook for 1-2 minutes then scramble lightly til just cooked through and remove to plate with spinach.
- Step 4
- Add 1 -2 T oil to hot pan and add onion and sauté1 minute add rice and mix with onion and stir to coat with oil and separate any clumps of rice clumps
- Step 5
- Once rice is heated through and no clumps remain add garlic and ginger and cook til fragrant about 30 seconds.
- Step 6
- Add the spinach and eggs back to pan and mix to distribute evenly
- Step 7
- add sauce and continue cook about 1-2 minutes and stir to distribute the sauce to coat the mixture.