Fried rice is an endlessly flexible canvas for meats, vegetables, and seasonings, whether you prepare them especially for the dish or just use up odds and ends. The key to great fried rice is in cooking technique.

You can cook fried rice in a wok or a skillet. As with other stir-fried dishes, it’s important to have all your add-ins prepped before you start to cook, to use high heat, and to keep the food moving in the pan, say hounds. Fried rice is usually made with day-old rice, which has a drier texture, but a couple of hounds report good results with freshly cooked rice.

Vegetables or meats that need cooking should be cooked first and removed from the pan. Then heat some oil until it’s almost smoking, add the rice, and “toss and stir like crazy,” says Sam Fujisaka. Add the rest of the ingredients and seasonings, and when it’s all hot, you’re done. Some prefer to cook beaten eggs first, remove, and add these to the rice at the end, while others crack an egg into the pan at the end of cooking and stir it in to coat the rice. monku fries diced bacon, and adds the rice when the bacon is done. “The bacon fat does wonders when frying the rice,” he says.

“Traditional fried rice should not be brown and is not primarily seasoned with soy sauce,” explains janel. Others concur that you should add only a small amount of soy sauce, and many feel oyster sauce or fish sauce give a better flavor than soy. puzzler likes adding thinly sliced green onions at the end, after the pan is off the heat.

Discuss: tips for getting started with fried rice

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