Easy Chinese egg fried rice recipe, for a quick lunch or to accompany a more elaborate meal. Make this quintessential takeout recipe in your own home!
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Egg Fried Rice
We all know it, and many of us enjoy it. And yet, most people I know hardly make it at home, leaving it as part of their Chinese takeout or restaurant meal.
Since I made the nasi goreng recipe some weeks ago, I’ve had so many requests for “takeaway egg fried rice”. So here we are.
Today’s recipe is a basic egg fried rice recipe with just a few ingredients. I’ll explain somewhere below on how you can make it different, if you want to, by adding protein, vegetables, or more spice.
Chinese Egg Fried Rice Recipe
Cooking egg fried rice at home is so very easy to do. It’s a super quick process and you don’t really need to go out and buy specialist tools like a carbon steel wok or anything like that. You can make it in a regular wok, or frying pan (skillet), if you don’t have the former.
I make it the way my grandma did, although hers was always along the lines of the nasi goreng here.
This is what we’ll be doing to make this favourite takeaway rice dish:
- loosen the cold rice with a little bit of soy sauce and/or salt. This was my grandma’s method.
- Lightly beat the eggs.
- Chop up the spring onions (scallions) and mince or finely chop the garlic.
- Fry a soft omelette and scramble it a little, then take it out.
- Fry the rice. That’s it.
Egg Fried Rice Ingredients
As mentioned above, you don’t need much to make just egg fried rice. You know, as opposed to egg fried rice with shrimp or chicken. Let’s take a look at the ingredients I use to make basic recipe, the way I teach it in my Chinese cooking classes, and the way I’ve been making it for as long as I can remember!
This is rather obvious. But what we must ensure is that we are using day old rice (or 2 – 3 days old) that’s been sitting in the fridge. So in other words, leftover cold rice.
Why is cold rice best for egg fried rice? Simple answer is that rice grains firm up as they get cold, allowing you to fry your rice without any fear of it getting mushy or clumpy.
The technical answer is retrogradation. This is a process during which the starch molecules (specifically the amylose and amylopectin) reorder themselves and form an ordered, crystalline structure. This allows the firmer rice grains to be subjected to heat without them breaking down and turning to mush.
This is why in many Asian homes, fried rice of whatever variety, is often made because there’s leftover rice. It’s how we use up all our day-old rice.
When I was growing up, it would be lunch or even breakfast egg fried rice.
No cold rice? If you’re caught short, don’t sweat it. Cook up some rice, spread it out on the largest plate you have or a tray and leave to cool for 1-2 hours. Then go ahead and fry it up. It won’t be as grainy as frying cold rice, but it won’t be mushy either.
What type of rice is best for making egg fried rice? Any long grain rice will do, whether that’s jasmine rice or basmati rice. You could perhaps get away with medium grain variety as long as they’re not starchy. But we definitely don’t want sticky short grain rice for this. So no sushi rice or glutinous rice.
You don’t want much if you’re making a basic egg fried rice dish. This is what I’m using:
- spring onions (green onion or scallions)
- light soy sauce and salt – use 1 Tbsp soy sauce + a pinch of salt for a lighter coloured egg fried rice
- a touch of white pepper
- tiny drizzle of sesame oil
- vegetable oil for frying
A quick look online will reveal countless egg fried rice recipes. You’ll find basic ones like today, known universally as Chinese egg fried rice. Or perhaps nasi goreng of various inclinations and even egg fried rice Indian style, with a touch of curry powder.
So you can change up this basic recipe by adding pretty much anything you like, from different flavours to different “fillings”. Like the following:
- any form of protein – chicken, beef, pork, prawns (shrimp), dried anchovies, tofu, tempeh, vegan chicken type things.
- vegetables – peas are very popular, as are chopped green beans and corn. But you can also add cabbage, bell pepper, broccoli, chopped or shredded carrots, see where I’m going with this? Anything you like.
- in terms of flavour – You could also add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce or kicap manis (ketjap manis in Indonesian).
- make it gluten-free by using tamari
- make it spicy – add some chillies. sambal oelek (click here for homemade sambal oelek recipe on my YouTube channel). Sriracha or tabasco are also options.
So you see, there are many, many ways you can make this egg fried rice different.
How to Serve Egg Fried Rice?
Today’s recipe is for a basic egg fried. So fairly plain in terms of what it is. Not the salt content, as we have enough here.
Personally, I eat it as it is, with some peas thrown in for the vegetables. And some sort of sambal, because I cannot have a meal without spice.
But when I’m entertaining, it’s always part of an East or South East Asian meal. Here are some examples of dishes you can serve Chinese egg fried rice with. You’ll find more on this Recipes page.
If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating! 😉Thank you!
If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.
Chinese Egg Fried Rice Recipe
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 knife
- 1 chopping board
- 1 fork
- 1 spatula
- 1 wok or frying pan (skillet)
- 360 g cold, cooked rice (this is 3 cups, loosely packed), weight, give or take
- 2 Tbsp light soy sauce or 1 Tbsp soy sauce and ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 2 spring onions or 1 large one
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 dash ground white pepper optional
- ½ tsp sesame oil optional
- Tip the cold rice into a large bowl and drizzle the soy sauce all over. Using just your fingertips, mix the soy sauce into the rice by gently rubbing the grains and loosening them if they've formed clumps. Do not rub or massage the rice as you want the grains cold and firm.If you want your rice to be a lighter colour, use just 1 Tbsp of soy sauce along with ¼ tsp salt.
- Lightly beat the 2 eggs, and set aside.
- Finely chop or mince the garlic.Slice the spring onions, no need to separate the white and green parts.
Let's get Cooking
- Heat ½ Tbsp vegetable oil on medium heat and pour the lightly beaten egg in. Let it set for 20 seconds, then scramble it quickly and tip it out onto a plate. You want softly set eggs here.
- Wipe the wok with a kitchen paper if you like, but I don't bother. Pour the rest of the vegetable oil in the wok (1½ Tbsp) and when hot, fry the minced garlic for 10 seconds.
- Tip the rice in and mix well with the spatula, tossing and turning. Fry for 1 minute.
- Scatter most of the spring onions over, along with the scrambled egg and white pepper and once again, mix well, and cook for another minute. Chop up any large bits of egg with the edge of the spatula.
- Take it off the heat and drizzle the sesame oil over, mixing it in. Serve immediately.