Veg fried rice recipe with easy steps for beginners. Fried rice is a delicious meal in itself, loaded with fresh vegetables, packed with flavors and comes together under 30 minutes. If you are looking for a go-to meal for busy weeknights then this Chinese fried rice can be a great staple. This tastes as good as any restaurant version plus it is much healthier. Customize it with your favorite add-ons & enjoy veg fried rice at the comfort of your home.
It needs no sides, but many of use love those saucy Chinese sides like Manchurian or a chilli gravy when we eat out. So if you plan for a special weekend meal, then try this out with my Veg Manchurian or chilli paneer.
About Fried Rice
Fried rice is an Asian dish made by stir frying cooked rice in a wok with vegetables, soya sauce and sometimes with meat & eggs as well. You will find numerous versions across Asia, made with varying ingredients like onions, scallions, preserved meat, garlic etc.
Though fried rice originated in the Chinese cuisine, it is a staple in lot of other Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and India. Perfectly cooked grainy & non-sticky rice, the right amount of sauce & high heat is what makes any fried rice the best.
Chinese food is all about the amazing smoky aroma, saucy flavors and the beautiful colors. Well-made fried rice is stir fried in a carbon steel or cast iron wok on the highest heat to acquire the unique smoky aroma. The right amount of sauces coat the rice with a delicate flavor & transform to a mouth-watering dish.
Home cooked foods can never beat the flavors of foods served in authentic Chinese restaurants. Large woks, large stoves/burners & high heat imparts a natural smoky aroma which cannot be replicated exactly. But still it is not viable for many of us to eat out often.
In this post I share with you the easiest recipe to make the best flavorful and aromatic veg fried rice at home.
My fried rice recipe does not use a lot of ingredients except for good quality aged rice, soya sauce, veggies, vinegar and oil. I do not use ajinomotto (MSG) to make any of our foods. You can still make a very good vegetable fried rice without it. Most restaurants use it as it enhances the taste & flavor.
So this is our favorite go to basic fried rice recipe. I also customize it in numerous way so my boys don’t get bored of it. Check out the possible variations below.
If you have precooked grainy (non-mushy) rice, then skip this section completely. Most people prefer to use up 1 day old cooked rice or left over rice. We don’t eat leftover rice so I always make fried rice with fresh cooked rice. I have shown below the way we personally prefer & is guaranteed to give the best results.
Preparation – cook rice
1. Soak 1 cup rice for 10 to 20 mins. If you are a large family you can make make more rice (upto 3 cups) following the same method. Add rice to a large bowl. This is the kind of basmati rice I use. You can also use any long grain or medium grain like Jasmine rice or sona masuri.
2. Rinse the rice very well at least thrice to get rid of the starch. Any excess starch is going to make the rice sticky and gluey. If using aged basmati rice, I prefer to soak for at least 10 to 20 mins. This prevents the grains from turning hard and dry after stir frying in the wok.
3. Meanwhile pour 4 to 5 cups of water to a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil on a medium high flame. When the water begins to boil, drain the rice.
5. Keep checking so you don’t overcook. This only takes a few minutes. Cook the rice al dente and not mushy. Grains must be separated yet fully cooked. This is how they look when perfectly done.
6. Quickly drain the rice to a colander. Cool it until all of the steam vanishes. Fluff it up with a fork. If the rice is perfectly al dente, you can cover and set aside. This prevents the rice from drying & becoming hard.
Troubleshooting: If you feel your rice is on the softer side & slightly over cooked, sprinkle 1 tablespoon oil on the hot rice and spread it. Cool it without covering.
Prepare vegetables for fried rice
7. While the rice cooks, chop all the veggies you need for this fried rice recipe. Here is the list:
1 small carrot – ¼ to ½ cup fine chopped
½ small bell pepper (¼ to ½ cup fine chopped)
4 to 5 French beans (¼ cup fine chopped)
¼ to ½ cup fine chopped cabbage or 6 button mushrooms sliced (optional)
¼ cup green onions (scallions, 4 stalks, separate greens & whites)
1 green chilies slit (optional)
1 tablespoon fine chopped garlic
Make Veg Fried Rice
Cook on high flame and do not overcook the veggies as they lose the crunch.
8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok on the highest flame. If you don’t have a wok, use a wide pan. Add garlic and sauté just for 30 to 40 seconds, till you get an aroma. Some fine dining Chinese restaurants also add star anise (whole or powder). So I do add it sometimes. This is optional but gives an awesome flavor.
9. Set some of the green onions aside for garnish. Add all chopped vegetables and slit green chilli. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook them as we want them crunchy. But also ensure the raw flavor has gone from French beans. If you stir fry too long, scallions will lose their crunch.
10. Optional – Next add half teaspoon sugar if you like. Using sugar keeps the color of the veggies intact & also helps to balance the flavors.
11. Ensure the flame is still high at this stage. Add 1 tablespoon soya sauce and 1 teaspoon vinegar (optional). You can add more or less to suit your taste. Any other hot sauces you prefer can also be added at this stage. Find some exciting ideas in the variations section below.
Do not cook the veggies further at this stage as they will sweat out & become mushy.
12. The sauce will bubble immediately & begin to smoke. Then add cooled rice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper.
13. Toss, mix, stir fry for 2 to 3 mins. Taste test. If needed add more sauce & salt now to suit your taste. Remember the entire cooking process should happen on the highest flame. Otherwise the moisture from the veggies can make the rice mushy.
Get rid of the excess starch
Rinsing rice: Always rinse the rice well at least thrice to get rid of the excess starch. This helps to cook the rice to grainy without becoming sticky.
Soaking rice: To soak or not is a personal choice. Whenever I use basmati rice, I prefer to soak it at least for 10 to 20 mins. This helps the rice to perfectly cook up to beautiful long grains and also prevents the rice from turning dry and hard after frying it.
Cook perfect non-mushy rice
There are 2 ways you can cook rice perfectly for this fried rice recipe. The first method is the absorption method which works well for lesser rice like 1 to 1 ½ cups. The second method is the draining method which is great if you have a large family or making a lot of fried rice. Most often I follow this second method as I cook 3 cups of rice for our meal.
So if you are cooking just 1 to 1 ½ cups rice, then you can easily cook following the absorption method. For this method, for 1 cup rice, you will need 2 cups water.
Al dente rice: Cook rice to al dente on a medium high flame, (NO low flame here). The grains should be firm and yet fully cooked. Do not overcook the rice, it takes only a few seconds for al dente cooked rice to get overcooked and become mushy. So be alert and drain the rice in time.