Sunday, 28 June 2009

Garlic and Ginger Chicken Fried Rice

This is a recipe I've been making for a long time now. It's not traditional chinese in any way shape or form, nor does it claim to be. It's just easy to cook and delicious, take it or leave it.

Since Jo was diagnosed coeliac, I've had to make a few changes to the recipe, such as making hers with gluten-free ingredients, but essentially it's remained the same since I started cooking it many years ago, with minor tweaks here and there.

Firstly, let's have a list of ingredients.
  • Thai fragrant jasmine rice (or american long grain if you can't get jasmine - just not easy cook rice - that stuff is rancid!)
  • Fresh eggs
  • Chicken (or turkey) breasts
  • Frozen peas
  • Fresh root ginger
  • Fresh garlic
  • Light soy sauce (I like to use golden label superior soy, but light soy is fine)
  • Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins)
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Chinese shaohsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • Pure sesame oil
  • Cornflour / corn starch
  • Salt
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG, yeah I know I know, but the amount I use isn't going to make bits drop off you or anything...)
Begin by measuring out as much rice as you want to cook. I usually do a cup or two per person, as I tend to eat this as a meal in its own right.

Next, you need to wash the rice thoroughly. I start with a few cups in a sieve running water through it, then I transfer the rice to a pan and let water fill the pan and overflow for several minutes, until the water is no longer cloudy.

When that is done, cook the rice in the normal manner. Best results always come from a dedicated rice cooker. Err on the side of very slightly underdone rice rather than allowing it to become mushy - mushy rice does not fry well at all.

After the rice is cooked, allow it to cool for as long as possible. The longer you can leave it the better - the frying works best with cold rice. If the rice is still hot when you fry it, it will tend to steam in the wok rather than fry, which gives a different flavour.

While the rice is cooling, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Mix around a tablespoon of rice wine with a good glug of soy sauce, a teaspoon of five-spice and half a teaspoon of cornflour.

Slice up the meat and place it into the mix, stirring it so all the meat is coated. Leave it for a few minutes to soak up some of the flavours.

Next, heat up a wok. For this dish, extreme heat is all important, so although those of you with 'non-stick' woks will be able to have a go at this, they never get hot enough. What you really need is the sort of wok you can pick up for about £10 ($16) from a chinese supermarket. They are made of very thin steel, start off silver in colour and are only non-stick if you use them properly!

Turn the heat to full and when the wok starts to smoke, pour in about a tablespoon of oil. I use groundnut oil, but vegetable or sunflower oil is fine. When the oil is just starting to smoke, drop in the meat and stir fry vigorously until cooked.

Remove the meat from the wok, allow it to drain for a few minutes, then slice it again into matchstick-sized strips.

Next, roughly chop the garlic and ginger together, then stick it into a processor to mince it.

Don't blitz it too hard, you still want little pieces rather than a paste.

Now it's time for the rice, so wipe down the wok to remove whatever may be left behind from cooking the meat.

Break open an egg and beat it until the yolk and white are all together, as if you were making an omelette. When this is done, heat up another tablespoon of oil in the wok and wait until it's just started to smoke. All of this is done on maximum heat.

This next part is very rapid and time-critical, so be prepared. Pour the egg into the wok and quickly move it around so as to break it up. Before the egg has cooked through (there should still be some uncooked, liquid egg in the wok) drop a spoonful or two of rice onto the egg, then quickly toss and turn the wok's contents so the rice and egg are well mixed. Add a good pinch of salt, a tiny bit of MSG and half a teaspoon of the ginger and garlic mixture. Stir fry vigorously. Do not over-fill the wok with rice, or too much heat will be lost and the food will not cook in the proper manner.

When the rice starts to take a little colour from the frying, add a spoonful of peas, some of the meat and about ten drops of worcestershire sauce.

Continue to fry the rice, keeping it moving to prevent it burning on the bottom of the wok.

After a few minutes the rice will be a little darker, though you must choose this point yourself depending upon your taste. Add a splash of soy sauce (maybe a teaspoonful?) and mix it into the rice for a few seconds, then empty the rice into a waiting container.

You will need to repeat these steps multiple times in order to fry all your rice, because you will almost certainly have prepared more rice than will fit into a single frying stint.

When all the rice is fried and set aside, drizzle a few drops of pure sesame oil into the rice and mix it in. This stuff has a very potent flavour, so be sparing!

Allow the rice a few minutes to cool, then dig in!

Om nom nom nom.


  1. Delicious nom noms, even with gluten free ingredients :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Looks great! I'll try tomorrow :)