Fried rice is a staple in American Chinese cuisine:  every restaurant – even the smallest, cheapest, most hole-in-the-wall take-out place – has it on their menu.  In China itself, fried rice dates back to the 6th century AD, and it became a dish that you could cook up to put all of your leftovers to use.  While many people today order fried rice with meat, there’s almost always a vegetable version on Chinese menus so that us vegetarians can eat too.  Here’s a meat-free variation that you can make at home, which we were inspired to try based on this recipe in Bon Appétit.  It’s got some ingredients you might not see in the fried rice from your local neighborhood joint, so this is a more elevated, upscale version – but it’s still tasty, and a great carb-y comfort food.

To make it, you’ll need:

  • At least 8 garlic cloves
  • Vegetable oil
  • Ginger
  • An egg
  • Rice
  • 3-4 scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame seeds (we used black sesame seeds)

The very first thing you need to do is prepare 3 cups of cooked rice – that’s one cup of dry rice simmered in 2 cups of water – and then stick it in your fridge for a few hours or more (you can also leave it overnight).

When you’re ready to make the fried rice, thinly slice up all of your garlic.


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In a large wok, pour out 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and place in the garlic, making sure none of the slices overlap.  Fry them over medium heat and shake the pan so the garlic moves around.  Watch the wok carefully and cook the garlic until it just begins to brown.


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Then take the garlic out with a slotted spatula and let it drain on paper towels.


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Now use the same pan again and turn the heat up a little.  Cut off a 2-inch piece of ginger, peel it, and grate it into the wok.  Let that heat up for 2 minutes, then break your egg into the pan – it will start to cook right away, so use your spatula to break it apart and swirl it around.  Immediately take your rice out and add that to the wok as well.  Sauté everything for a few minutes, using the spatula to press the rice into the pan so it browns just a little.

Once the rice is fried to your taste, take it off the heat.  Slice your scallions and add those to the rice, along with the garlic.


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Then mix everything together.


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And serve your fried rice with cilantro leaves and some sesame seeds on top.




As you can see, it’s pretty easy to make this fried rice at home, and you need just a few ingredients.  The only tricky part is adding the egg and then the rice, because the egg cooks so fast that you have to be prepared to move quickly to make sure nothing burns.  Once you get past that hurdle, though, you’ve got a delicious rice dish that brings in some interesting flavors:  lots of garlic, green scallions and cilantro, and some texture from the sesame seeds.  If you’re craving some Chinese takeout but you want to make a slightly nicer version at home, this is a really simple recipe you can make in just a few minutes.