Chicken fried rice is one of the most comforting Chinese dishes. It has been around for a very long time and is also popular in kitchens worldwide. The dish started to use up leftover fried rice some of which has dried up and might not be great on its own in old China. This recipe is easy to make and makes the perfect lunch or dinner.
Fried rice is not all that bad for you, especially when you load up on vegetables, use brown rice rather than white, and limit added sugars and oils, which is healthy. You would normally assume that stir-fried rice is high in carbs. The recipe calls for just 4 cups of cooked rice, compared to nearly 8 cups of the other ingredients (chicken, vegetables, eggs).
Chinese fried rice is absolutely my family’s favorite. I make it regularly, it’s so easy to make a bunch of them and there are always no leftovers! Here, I am going to show you how to make it at home, step-by-step.
How do you cook chicken fried rice?
Since we are cooking this dish in a hot wok, it is essential that you get your chicken fried rice ingredients lined up and ready to go into the wok. To prepare this recipe, add oil and the chicken to the wok. When ready to begin making this easy chicken fried rice, brown the chicken over a little bit of oil in a large pan or a wok on medium-high heat.
If your rice is cold from the fridge, break it loose by using the back of a spoon, and crushing any large pieces of rice to break it up. This will help the rice get cooked evenly during the cooking process.
Once the rice is broken and thoroughly loose (very important, otherwise the sauces will not combine well, and the rice will not look evenly cooked). Stir fry the veggies for 2 minutes, and then add the rice and add the sauce mix. Mix the sauce using a spoonful motion, until the rice is evenly coated with the sauce. By spooning the sauce around the edges of the wok, the heat helps caramelize the sauce, making your stir-fry even more delicious than simply spooning it over your rice.
Tips and tricks
It is best to prepare fried rice using leftover rice that is at least a day old. Otherwise, it becomes gummy in the pan very easily. If you don’t have any leftover rice from the night before, cook a batch of rice and spread it out on a large baking sheet. Allow the rice to dry for 1 to 2 hours before using it for fried rice. To be able to make perfect Chinese fried rice, I strongly advise you to leave the rice in the fridge overnight, to get rid of the extra moisture. It is easier this way and requires no effort on your part.
In the chicken stir fry process, I added corn starch to the raw-cut chicken. Corn starch helps to keep the chicken moist and juicy, which keeps it from turning rubbery or stringy.
Rice sticks to the pan very easily, so be sure to use a non-stick frying pan or skillet. I usually cook chicken fried rice in a carbon steel wok, but cast iron or non-stick pans work well too. You may need to add a little oil if things don’t loosen easily.
This easy chicken fried rice is loaded with golden brown flavorful chicken, a variety of veggies in rich color, and puffy eggs, and tastes way better than takeout at a Chinese restaurant. This recipe is worthy to be served as a main course, not as a fried rice side dish. You can also substitute brown rice with white rice and make a healthier chicken fried rice. Or substitute all pure veggies with vegetable fried rice!
How to store chicken fried rice?
I prefer to eat fried rice the same day I make it, but leftovers don’t taste bad either! You can store it in the fridge for up to three days.
When it’s time to heat the leftover chicken fried rice, you can simply put it in a microwave to heat it to your desired temperature. Or if you choose to heat it on the stovetop, sprinkle some water over the rice, and do a quick stir. And turn off the heat immediately after the rice is ready.
This recipe is one of the best that can be made in less than 15 minutes at home. Give it a try!
Chicken Fried Rice
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil divided
- 3 large eggs beaten
- ⅔ cup yellow onion cut into cubes
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large carrot peeled and chopped into small pieces
- ⅔ cup frozen peas rinsed in warm tap water for a few seconds thawed
- ⅓ cup frozen sweet corns rinsed in warm tap water for a few seconds thawed
- small bunch of broccoli about ½ pound, cut into 1inch pieces.
- 4 cups cooked rice preferably leftover at least 1 day
- 2 green onions sliced (separate the white and light green part from the green part)
- 2 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Few drops of dark soy sauce see footnote
- Cut the chicken breasts into small cubes from ¼ inch to ½ inch. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over the chicken and mix until combined. Set the chicken aside for 5 minutes. I usually use this time to chop all the vegetables and line up all the sauces to save time. Boil broccoli for 1 minute and set aside.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet. Add chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink. Use a spatula to scrape up any chicken pieces that are still stuck to the pan, so they don’t burn during the next step. Turn off the heat and then transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
- Stir 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 1 minute, until softened. Combine the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the carrots, sweet corn, and sweet peas, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir to combine, until the veggies soften.
- Push the veggie mixture to one side, add oil to the other side and cook the beaten eggs. Break the egg into small pieces.
- Add the rice to the wok or skillet over the vegetables and egg mixture and stir to combine. Add the white parts of the sliced green onions (except the green ones, which are for garnishing later). Mix it up. If the rice starts to stick to the pan, add a little oil.
- Fold the cooked chicken breasts and pre-boiled broccoli in. Stir the mixture briefly and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the light soy sauce, a few drops of dark soy sauce(optional), black pepper, and sesame oil over the rice, and stir until combined.
- Garnish with green onion slices (green part). Serve immediately while hot.