Who here has never had fried rice before? Please speak now or forever hold your peace.
Hmmmm, no one? I thought so too.
It’s hard to think of a meal that has more variations, more combinations of flavour and ingredients that are possible than fried rice. My mum, my dad, my sister, my husband, all have their own combinations and styles when it comes to making fried rice. When I was little, it used to be this “special occasion” meal that my parents and my grandparents used to make at home, which they often times made a big deal about. It wasn’t until a little later that I realized fried rice appeared on our dinner table, only when they had leftovers that needed to be used or when they had run out of ideas. But hey, I wasn’t complaining. It’s such an easy and flavourful way to use leftover rice, vegetables and meat and even now, whenever I make fried rice, it always seems like a special occasion to me.
There are times when I end up using all the leftovers in the fridge to make fried rice. However, my favourite is also the one that is the simplest. Fresh carrots and leeks, a choice of protein and spices. That’s it. Maaaybe some green onions at the end. My mother makes a fried rice that seems so simple but is so incredibly good that we always eat it just by itself. This is my twist on her classic. Ginger and Basil Fried Rice!
My mother is the culinary queen in my family and even out of all my relatives. She’s the best at it, from everyone I know. My father too is a great cook and the one thing he makes better than my mother is Bolognese. In fact, we are never allowed anywhere near the kitchen when he makes it, so I’m yet to learn his recipe. My mother on the other hand is much more forthcoming with her recipes (thankfully!). My father is also the “One Pot Wonder” king in my family! He specializes in the art of throwing whatever he can get his hands on (edible things of course) in one pot and cooking it all and then mixing it with rice. With delicious results no less. Sometimes, we would flinch at the ingredients he adds, but just like Professor Snape’s potions, they always work.
My fried rice is less adventurous than my dad’s, but just as flavourful. I use fresh veggies and one day old rice. It somehow makes everything taste better. I prefer adding only chicken, but Mr K loves shrimp, so in the true spirit of “Porque no los dos“, I add both. Since I love basil, I can’t resist adding it to my fried rice too.
What I love about fried rice is that anyone can add their own spin, their own signature so to speak, to it. Yes, there is a recipe here for this ginger and basil fried rice, but honestly, don’t let that stop you from experimenting. That is what’s great about food isn’t it? So this is more of a guideline for a great fried rice recipe. But sometimes, it’s fun to just close your eyes and throw things in that one pot fried rice wonder. Well, maybe keep your eyes open. You know, just in case.
I like this ginger and basil fried rice between a “wet” and “dry” stage. What I mean by that is that the rice is still dry enough that it’s fluffy (not clumpy and the cooked grains separate), but wet enough that each grain is coated with the amazing flavours of everything you mix it with. Using a good stock to add flavour is therefore important. If you’re using tofu, use a good vegetable stock. Otherwise you can use chicken, beef or pork stock instead.
Ginger and Basil Fried Rice
- 20 oz of cooked one day old rice (Basmati or Jasmine rice)
- 4 tbsp peanut oil can use vegetable oil too
- 1.5 oz ginger julienned
- 2 cups washed and sliced leeks white and light green parts only
- 1 ½ cups shredded or julienned carrots
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cups raw shrimps prawns, halved
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken I used left over chicken breast
- 4 eggs whisked in a bowl optional, but recommended
- 4 spring onions chopped
- 1 oz basil leaves
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- In a large wok or non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and saute until the ginger starts to turn brown at the edges.
- Increase the heat to high and add the leeks, carrot, ½ the soy sauce, cayenne pepper, black pepper and sugar and saute for a few minutes.
- Add the shrimp and chicken and spring onions and cook until the shrimp turns pink.
- Push the vegetable to one side of the pan and increase the heat to high. Add some oil to the empty side, and when the oil is heated add the whisked egg. Scramble the eggs. Once the eggs are scrambled and dry, mix it through with the rest of the vegetable mix. Lower the heat to medium heat.
- Add the rice, stock, the rest of the soy sauce and basil leaves.
- Gently saute the rice until the liquid is absorbed, and the vegetables, chicken and shrimp are mixed through. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Serve with extra basil leaves as garnish.
Tips & Tricks
Ginger and Basil together is one of my favourite flavour combinations! Using one day old rice does make a difference in this ginger and basil fried rice. It dries out the rice ever so slightly, which makes the rice soak up all the flavours readily without causing it to become “soggy”. It goes without saying that this is one of our favourite ways to eat rice and we just had it for lunch yesterday. 🙂 Sometimes I make it in bulk (like one huge batch) and then freeze it in lunch boxes, so that Mr K can take it to work for lunch. (It’s a little more challenging to make it in bulk while ensuring all the flavours are still in the correct proportions, but I’ve gotten much better at it now). The rice is perfectly cooked, the leeks and carrots add a fresh taste and texture and vibrant colours to this dish, and the ginger and basil add a nice earthy, spicy flavour. You just can’t go wrong with this ginger and basil fried rice.
On my lazy days, I will serve the rice as is (after all, it is a main meal and not a side dish). But on days when I do feel like it, I will make a chicken or shrimp stir-fry to go with the ginger and basil fried rice. And there are two things that will further elevate this dish. Asian chili paste and cashew nuts! 🙂
Do you like fried rice? Do you have a vegetable or an ingredient that’s a must have in your fired rice recipe?
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