All photos by Liz Barclay (@liz_barlcay)
With the profusion of single-item restaurants that have inundated the food scene (need a place that sells only Rice Krispies treats, anyone?), it's surprising that no one has created a standalone temple to fried rice—a perfect all-in-one-meal that hits all the comfort food high notes while also being cheap and filling.
Oh well, all the more reason to make it yourself at home. Because chances are, you already have the main ingredient sitting in your fridge. Does this look familiar?
Extra cartons of rice are the fallen soldiers of the takeout game, relegated to a lonely, prolonged existence at the back of the fridge. But if you know any Japanese people, you know the old saying that for every grain of rice you waste, you kill a god. And you don't want that on your conscience. Instead, why not put that old rice to good use?
Making standard fried rice basically involves tossing it in a wok—or a standard skillet—with egg, ham, frozen peas, carrots, and soy sauce. But you don't have to stop there. For tips on how to take our fried-rice game to the next level, we enlisted the help of Diana Bianchi, an obsessive homecook (she practiced on her seven siblings), as well as an industry pro who works as a line cook at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya in NYC. (As we've learned from our GIF tutorial series, it's often the cooks, not jetsetting chefs, who really know how to make things happen in the kitchen.) She whipped up five inventive fried-rice variations—from a maple-bacon breakfast rendition to an inspired spin on sausage and peppers—to try next time you have extra carbs sitting around.
The good news: You really can't mess this up. For each fried-rice riff, Bianchi has demonstrated the steps to follow for best results. But as a general rule of thumb, the main idea is to combine a lot of deliciousness in a wok with rice, and cook it 'til it's toasty. Beyond some basic knife skills, you don't need any fancy techniques—though a little wok-flipping practice won't hurt.Click to start the list