As long as I can remember I’ve loved Chinese food. Unfortunately most of the Chinese food you find at restaurants is full of highly processed oils, MSG, and other not-so-good for you ingredients.
Thankfully I know a little something about cooking Chinese food from scratch. You see when I was in graduate school I decided to take Chinese cooking lessons. Although I was knee-deep in studying at the time, I needed a creative outlet. I had always enjoyed cooking and was pretty comfortable in the kitchen. So when I found a little Chinese grocery store whose owner also taught cooking lessons at night, I jumped at the chance to learn from an expert!
My teacher’s name was Lan, and boy was she full of interesting stories. One of her little anecdotes that stuck with me over the years was about chopping green onions. Apparently Chinese women would judge a future daughter-in-law by how she cut the root tips off green onions. If a young woman cut very close to the roots, she was viewed as frugal and a worthy spouse for her son. But if too much of the green onion was thrown out with the roots, then the future daughter-in-law was seen as a spendthrift. So as silly as it may seem, I always try to cut my green onions as close to the roots as possible so I’m not wasteful. 🙂
Anyway, of the three dozen or so Chinese dishes I learned to cook, this fried rice recipe has been the one that I’ve made the most over the years. My son, Ben, absolutely loves it! And although I’ve modified the recipe to make it less processed, it still tastes amazing and comes together pretty quickly.
One of the biggest changes I made to the recipe was switching out white rice for brown. In the early days of making this swap I was a little frustrated thanks to mushy, soft brown rice. So, I went on a mission to perfect an easy way to cook up firm yet tender brown rice. If you’re looking for a way to make this dish spectacular, please learn from my mistakes and use my foolproof brown rice as the base for this Chicken Fried Rice recipe. It really does make a difference!
Also, be sure to check out the notes in the recipe as well as the tips and resources section below for some suggestions on perfecting this recipe for your tastes, cooking utensils, and ingredients. 🙂
And with that, let’s get cooking. I hope you enjoy this delicious meal with your family!
- 3 tablespoons oil
- ½ pound chicken (boneless), chopped into small, bite-sized pieces or strips
- 1 egg
- 3½ cups cooked brown, long grain rice
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 green onions, chopped (reserve half for garnish)
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- ½ cup peas
- ½ cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts (optional)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons rice wine, rice vinegar, or white wine
- ½ tablespoon tapioca starch, arrowroot, or cornstarch
- Cook brown rice and cool. I usually make mine the night before.
- Mix together marinade in a bowl.
- Chop chicken and add to marinade. Mix and coat chicken completely. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in wok. Stir-fry chicken for 3-4 minutes or until cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.
- Beat egg. Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the empty wok you just cooked your chicken in. Stir in beaten egg and scramble. Break into small pieces and when cooked, remove and set aside on the same plate with your cooked chicken.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in the same wok. Add onions and stir-fry until translucent. Add half the green onions, carrots, and peas and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add rice and stir until the rice is separated and thoroughly heated.
- Add soy sauce and white pepper. Mix well. Finally add in the cooked egg, chicken, and bean sprouts (optional). Stir until well blended.
- Serve and garnish with remaining green onions.
It should come as no surprise that there's a ton of sodium in soy sauce. There's still a lot in this recipe, even though I've tried to ease it back from what your typical take-out version might serve up. So, as you're transitioning, feel free to add soy sauce to taste and cut it back slowly over time.
If you're looking for a vegetarian option, cut out the chicken and add 2 more cups of vegetables or extra-firm, browned/stir-fried tofu.
I prefer using high-temperature, cold-pressed, naturally-refined oil like avocado oil.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- I’ve used both the classic carbon steel wok and my stainless steel one for making fried rice. If you’re good about keeping pots seasoned, I think the carbon steel wok works best, and the recipe will need a little less oil. That said, if you’re not into seasoning cookware (or buying another piece of cookware), a stainless steel wok or a large 8-quart sauce pot will also work.
- Wooden spatulas and spoons perform well when stir-frying vegetables, but if you’ve ever tried a wok spatula, you’ll never want to go back—especially if you’re using a wok. I absolutely love mine!
- I prefer using an organic, naturally-fermented soy sauce for my Chinese cooking. Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu is a great choice that you can find online and in many natural food co-ops.
- Avocado oil tastes wonderful and is a perfect, high-heat oil for cooking up fried rice.