Quick and easy to make egg fried rice makes a great light midweek meal or side dish that can be prepared, cooked and on the table in under 30 minutes. There is no excuse now not to ditch the takeaway and make it yourself for a tastier and more nutritious home-cooked fakeaway.
A side dish or the main attraction
For a long while I tended to think of egg fried rice only as a side dish to be served as part of a Chinese meal alongside other dishes including meat or fish. But I have come to realise that I was missing out on something that is also a great meat-free meal in itself.
A good egg fried rice packed with tasty vegetable and soft flavoursome rice is more than satisfying enough for a light mid-week meal and it is quick and easy to make.
What Rice do I need to use for egg fried rice?
If you are making this recipe for one or two (it is easy to divide the recipe to serve less people) then it can be perfect for using up any leftover rice from a previous meal.
If you are making it for a family of four you will need about 500g (4 cups) so you are unlikely to have enough leftover rice unless you went completely over the top previously.
Long grain rice – Any regular long grain rice is ideal for making egg fried rice.
Basmati – Perfect for simple plain rice the long fine grains have a delicate flavour for which you pay a premium. They are a little wasted when used for egg fried rice as the grains tend to break when reheated in this way so I would only use basmati if I was using up leftovers.
Easy cook rice - is my preferred rice for this dish as the grains stay whole and have less of a tendency to become soggy which can occur when regular long grain rice is over cooked.
Brown rice - If you are looking to charge up the dish nutritionally then brown rice is a good choice increasing both the trace nutrients and fibre of the dish. Cook brown rice in a pressure cooker to save time.
Cooking the Rice
Ideally, cook the rice in advance, allowing time for it to cool and dry. Day old rice is ideal. Make sure you cool and chill it quickly. If you are cooking it on the day, as soon as it is just cooked, spread it out in a thin layer on a large baking tray to allow to "steam" dry.
For 500g (4 cups) of cooked rice you will need approximately 250g (1cup) of uncooked rice.
Cooking the egg
Always keen to cut down on washing up I prefer to cook the egg in the same pan as I have fried the vegetables, pushing them to one side before pouring in the beaten egg into the empty side of the pan. If you prefer you can tip the vegetables out into a bowl and then add the eggs before returning the vegetable to the pan. Or scramble the eggs in a separate pan.
Big it up
You can also big it up to make it even more filling with the addition of some meat, prawns or if you want to keep it meat-free, tofu. To do this fry some cubed chicken, strips of lean beef steak or pork, peeled and deveined raw prawns, or cubes of tofu in a little oil until cooked through. Remove from the pan and return to the dish with the rice.
Better still use left overs
Not only is easy egg fried rice a great way to use up leftover rice when cooking smaller amounts, but its also great for using up leftover roast meats such as chicken or pork. You don't need a lot about 25-50g (1-2oz) per person is perfect. As the meat is already cooked just add along with the rice.
Ramping up the Flavour
I've kept the base dish quite simple, flavouring the rice with garlic, ginger a little soy sauce and some toasted sesame seed oil, which allows for the flavour and crunch of the vegetables to stand out.
If you prefer you can ramp up the flavour further with the addition of some chopped fresh chilli (add with the garlic and ginger).
Oyster sauce will also add some additonal depth to the flavour but does tend to make the finished dish look more murky.
Or serve with sweet chilli sauce or extra soy sauce on the side.
How to make easy egg fried rice step by step
Easy egg fried rice
- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 1 large carrot diced
- 50 g button mushrooms quartered
- 1 red pepper seeded and diced
- 3 spring onions including some of the green tops sliced (scallions)
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp grated root ginger
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 500 g cooked rice
- 100 g frozen peas
- 100 g sweetcorn niblets frozen or canned drained
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
- fresh coriander, optional to garnish (Cilantro)
- Heat 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil in a large non stick frying pan and add the carrots and gently stir fry for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Add 50g (2oz) mushrooms and 1 diced red pepper to the pan and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until softened.
- Next stir in 3 sliced spring onions, 2 copped garlic cloves and 1 tbsp grated root ginger and stir fry for another 1–2 minutes.
- Push the vegetable to one side of the pan and pour in 4 beaten eggs, cook stirring the egg to scramble, then combine the egg with the vegetable.
- Add 500g (4 cups) cooked rice and 100g (3½oz) each peas and sweetcorn. Toss together to combine and pour over 3 tbsp each sesame seed oil and soy sauce. Cook over the heat stirring frequently until the the rice is pipping hot.
- Serve garnished with coriander (cilantro) if desired.