Chicken Fried Rice

Filipino Chicken Fried Rice

My mother is Filipino, and fried rice is a dish I grew up with. Most restaurants make super oily, heavy, fried rice, while us Filipinos make a savory, hearty rice dish that doesn't make you feel like you've eaten an oil slick.

This recipe is a play on what my mom still makes at home. Hers is better, but mine is close.

There are two very important things you need to make great fried rice, first, leftover cooked rice. If you take hot, freshly made rice and try to fry it right away, you'll end up with broken grains and some mushed pieces. So step one is to make rice in advance. In an Asian household, there is always leftover rice, so it's really not an issue, but if you don't have leftover rice, just make a pot of rice the night before and toss it in your fridge.

I am not going to give a tutorial on cooking rice in a pot on the stove. I have an old rice cooker I've been using for almost 20 yrs and haven't made white rice in a pot in my life. Risotto, rice pilaf, yes, but never white rice for Asian cuisine. I suggest a rice cooker because then it is as easy as set it and forget it. You just toss in your long grain white rice and water, then flip the switch. In 30 minutes, you've got perfectly cooked rice. As to measuring your water - here is a family trick, put in enough water to cover the amount of rice you want, when you put your pinkie finger in, the water should come up to the first knuckle. I don't know why it works, it just does, for me and every member of my family.
The other integral part of fried rice - the soy sauce. I use Silver Swan, made in the Philippines, and what my family has used for as long as I can remember.  I've tried lots of different soy sauces, each Asian country has their own take, and for me, no other soy sauce will do.

Boozy Epicure's Chicken Fried Rice
Like most family dishes, this is not specifically measured, it is made by feel and taste and sight. I am making fried rice for two, you can feel free to increase the amounts however you see fit. Also, the chicken is completely optional, beef, shrimp, pork, or just veggies and eggs work fine. And feel free to use any veggies you like.

Vegetable oil - I use grapeseed oil, you can use anything neutral with a high smoke point.
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small or half a large onion, finely diced
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 cups of cooked white rice
soy sauce to taste
2 eggs
salt/black pepper to taste

Fried rice goes pretty quickly at a moderate heat, while this isn't as immediate and fast as a stir fry, I would recommend you get all of your ingredients out and prepped, ready to go. It's why I don't have photos of the process, I still haven't mastered cooking quickly while snapping decent photos.

Place a few tablespoons of oil in the bottom of you pan (I use my dutch oven to keep me from making a mess) and turn the heat up to medium/medium high. Once the oil is hot, throw in your chicken and begin to brown on all sides. You can add salt and pepper now, but go easy on the salt because the soy sauce you season with at the end is very salty.

Once the chicken is browned, dump in the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and saute for just a few minutes, until the onions are just softened.

While that is going, in a separate non-stick frying pan, scramble your 2 eggs, salt and pepper them lightly, and once they are set, pull them off the heat to be added at the very end.

Then toss in your peas in with the chicken and vegetables and after a minute, drop in your rice. Stir everything to combine and heat the rice all the way through. Season this to taste with soy sauce, and once you are at the perfect seasoning, toss in your scrambled eggs.

Serve and enjoy. You can garnish with scallions (which is traditional) or parsley (which is not). I tend to just dig in.

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