The type of Chinese fried rice you get as a side when you go to your local Chinese restaurant isn’t really one of my most favorite things. It’s just plain rice. Boring, really, but add some veggies, meat, and a little love, and that rice becomes amazing! I LOVE the rice from Benihana’s too – wow, is that a satisfying dish – but the issue is that you can’t make that same recipe at home. Sure, do an Internet search and you’ll find copy cat recipes, but you can’t actually replicate that recipe. Even if that recipe you find is identical to the actual recipe, you’ll never get the same heat that those grill tops do at the restaurants, so the recipe will never taste the same as you get at the restaurant.
Perhaps, I’m picky about my recipes and my foods, but getting those same flavors at home are almost impossible.
So, what’s a gal to do?
Research the heck out of how Chinese and Japanese fried rice, of course! Learn the techniques of the perfect rice; the perfect details to an amazing fried rice. Read as many details as you can on what authentic recipes do to make sure the rice comes out perfect. I’m a bit of a data geek and research just about everything, so I’ll go ahead and let you know the main things I found to a perfect home fried rice – duck, pork, venison, or whatever other meat you’d like to use.
- Your rice has to be made a day ahead of time. Don’t make the rice the day of and expect to make a good fried rice. If you stir rice too much, it becomes mushy, because it’s sooooo sticky! In the refrigerator overnight, the individual grains of rice become separate – not so sticky – which makes it easier to manipulate with fried rice. Leftover white rice from your local Asian restaurant is perfect for this recipe! I also don’t do minute rice; I do the real thing – it’s takes less than an hour, not really that painful. I’m not sure if this changes the recipe or not, though.
- Shake the rice. When I store rice overnight, I usually put it in an over-sized bowl with a lid, so when I pull it out of the refrigerator, I can easily shake it and make sure all of the rice grains are separated.
- Don’t plan on cooking everything at the same time. A lot of recipes I see have you cook everything at almost the same time – meat, veggies, and then rice. I prefer to separate it a bit, but in the same pot – so not so many dishes. I’ll cook the meat, and then take it out of the pot. Cook veggies, take them out, and then mix rice with sauces before adding everything back in. This helps ensure the rice doesn’t become mush.
- The pot has to be hot. Whether it be a wok or a dutch oven, the pot has to be HOT! That’s what you get at Chinese and Japanese restaurants – a super hot wok or grill. The only way we can even get close to those temperatures at home (without using an outdoor propane/grill system) is to cook in waves (like mentioned above).
- Veggies need to be crisp. Asian recipes don’t have limp veggies. If you think about it, almost every time your eat good Asian food, the veggies are crisp, yet cooked. Don’t overcook your veggies.
Why Duck Fried Rice?
It doesn’t have to be duck. It can be just about any type of meat you like, just slice it thin and add it to the recipe. The hubby brings home duck all of the time and I’ve had to teach myself how to introduce it to my dinner dishes – this is one of my favorites. Duck fried rice is a great way to use duck meat and it’s super tasty.
Duck Fried Rice
- 3 cups White Rice Day-Old
- 1/8 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup Water
- 2 tbls Mirin
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 2 cloves Garlic Diced
- 1-2 tbls Butter
- 1 1/2 lbs Duck
- 1/2 cup Carrots Shredded or Diced
- 4 Green Onions Sliced
- 1/2 cup Peas
- 1 inch Ginger Diced
- To Taste dash Salt + Pepper
- 3 Large Eggs Scrambled
- 1 tbls Sesame Oil
- 1 whole White Onion Diced
- Take the rice out of the refrigerator, give it a good shake (in a covered bowl), and let it set at room temperature.
- Warm soy sauce, water, mirin, sugar, garlic, and butter until diluted.
- Debone the duck and chop all of the meat into thin slices/chunks. If you have skin still on your duck, you can decide to discard it or keep a little in to flavor the meat a bit more.
- Heat olive oil in the pot on high heat (we'll be cooking everything on high heat until we mix everything back in) and cook the duck until it's done. If you're not familiar with duck, just make sure to cook like you would beef, for this recipe. Remove the duck, put in a separate container, and set aside.
- Add all of the veggies and cook on high for about 8 minutes. 5 minutes seems to be too fast and doesn't get the veggies cooked enough and 10 minutes seems to be just about too long. The best tip I can give you is to taste test and make sure the veggies are still crisp, but done. Also, know that they'll continue cooking after you take them off of the oven. Remove the veggies, put in a separate container, and set aside.
- Add about a tablespoon of soy sauce to the bottom of the hot pan. It'll start sizzling. You want it to cook a bit to deepen the flavor, but not necessarily burn, so keep stirring at this point. After about 2 minutes, add in your rice, soy mix (step 2; yet, add a bit at a time to your taste), and mix the ingredients together lightly. We don't want to destroy the rice here; we want to blend the flavors. A wooden spoon or rice fork/spoon works well here. Since we're still cooking on high heat, you need to keep mixing... gently.
- Take the pot off of the heat and stir in the scrambled eggs. A lot of people make a well or mix the egg separately from the fried rice recipe, but I just mix it in with the hot rice.