Rice is a common staple for many cultures around the world. You’ll find it utilized in Mexican food, Chinese food, Indian food, and much, much more. Rice is an affordable carbohydrate for most people and can be added to nearly any dish. It’s been used in soups, salads, sushi, and on its own.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy rice is by cooking fried rice. This dish can be made with various types of rice. In fact, the recipe can be adjusted slightly to create a variety of fried rice options to please just about any palate.
Different Types of Rice to Use for Your Fried Rice Dish
Every type of rice each adds a unique flavor and texture profile to a rice dish.
Long Grain Rice
Long grain white rice is typically used for most fried rice dishes. This rice has a higher amount of amylose starch and a lower amount of amylopectin starch. A higher amylose, lower amylopectin ratio results in a chewy texture. On the other hand, higher amylopectin and lower amylose will result in a stickier consistency.
If you’re a fan of sticky rice, by all means – make your fried rice dish with it. You’ll find that glutinous rice (also called sticky rice) and Jasmine rice will cook up sticky, while a long grain rice like Basmati will be nice and chewy.
Short Grain Rice
Another option is to use a short grain rice. This type of rice is usually found in Japanese sushi. But the Japanese fried rice dish chāhan also calls for this type of rice. Short grain rice has a chewy consistency and a mild flavor, making it suitable for just about any rice dish.
Really, you can choose just about any type of rice you like, even brown rice. Just keep in mind consistency and flavor. Some people prefer white rice because of its mild flavor, which allows the other ingredients to stand out. Jasmine rice can have a nutty, buttery flavor. It’s delicious, but not what everyone looks for when choosing a fried rice dish.
How to Cook an Awesome Batch of Fried Rice
Cooking amazing fried rice comes down to two things: proper cooking and utilizing the best ingredients.
After deciding which rice you want to use, the next step is to choose the rest of your ingredients. Traditional fried rice includes eggs, carrots, peas, and soy sauce.
Other recipes will call for chicken, pork, broccoli, mushrooms, green onions, and even tomato sauce.
After choosing your ingredients, the next steps include preparing the rice.
You’ll want to use pre-cooked, even day-old rice. Rinse the rice with cold water to get rid of excess starch. Make sure there are no clumps. Cooked rice tends to clump, especially the stickier types of rice. Failing to break up the clumps can result in uneven frying, which will affect the texture and flavor of your dish.
The best cooking pans for this dish are a wok or cast iron skillet. If you have a gas stove – use the wok. However, those with gas coil ranges should use a flat-bottomed iron skillet, or a non-stick pan.
Add oil to the wok or skillet, and then get it as hot as you can. As J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats describes it, the oil should be “turn-on-the-fan-and-unplug-the-smoke-detectors hot.”
Cook the rice in batches – one cup at a time. This allows the rice to cook evenly and get a nice texture and golden-brown color.
After cooking a cup of rice, set it aside and cook another cup. Once all of the rice is cooked, add all of it back to the wok or pan for a final heat-up. Then, add your other ingredients – meat, veggies, and sauces.
You’ll end with adding the egg and your green ingredients, like the green peas or any fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, if your recipe calls for them.
Give the rice one final toss and enjoy!
Spanish Rice vs. Fried Rice vs. Cauliflower Rice
Just because rice is common doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You’ll find that with the different types of rice, ingredients, and spices used, you’ll get a new, tasty dish each time.
Besides fried rice, there are currently two very popular ways to make rice that you should definitely check out.
Spanish Rice: What It Is and How to Make It
Contrary to what the name may suggest, Spanish rice is from Mexico not Spain. This type of rice has a red tinge to it because of the fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce. Also included in a Spanish rice recipe are garlic and onions. Like Chinese fried rice, this is browned in a skillet before the remaining ingredients are added to it.
Cauliflower Rice: Why Give It a Try
Low-carb diets are all the rage right now. While this type of diet has helped people lose weight, it has made them give up some of their favorite dishes – like fried rice.
Fortunately, foodies have found a pretty awesome alternative – cauliflower rice.
You can make this by cutting up the cauliflower and then throwing it into a food processor. Allow it to whirl around for a while until it breaks down into rice-sized granules.
Heat some oil in a skillet, toss in the cauliflower rice and cook for about five to eight minutes. Add any ingredients you’d use in traditional rice dishes and enjoy.
Use Different Types of Rice to Create Interesting Recipes with This Common Staple
Rice is an affordable staple for most people. This makes it one of the most common choices when it comes to adding carbohydrate to a dish. But just because something is common doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
On their own, various types of rice have unique flavors that can be combined with interesting spices and other ingredients to create dishes that will soon become some of your favorites.
Whether you’re cooking Spanish rice, cauliflower rice, or the ever-popular fried rice – you can use a rice cooker and jazz up this staple and create something that everyone will love!