Mom's Vietnamese Fried Rice

Growing up, I remember my mom always making a big bowl of fried rice to bring to her office parties. She would, of course, make extra so we could have some for dinner.

My recipe is based off of mom's, but like mom, I don't really measure (unless I'm baking because it's chemistry and I have to.). All the seasoning is to taste, so taste your rice as you cook it. And if there's anything in this recipe you don't like, just leave it out or substitute it with something else.

Here we go, Mom's Vietnamese Fried Rice

First of all you need rice. DUH, right? Leftover rice is the best because it's slightly dried out and will absorb the flavors better. We rarely have leftover rice in our home. Or I forget and leave it in the rice cooker too long, so it gets all crusty and inedible. You can just cook some rice the night before and refrigerate it. Or in my lazy case, leave it in the rice cooker warming overnight. I usually cook 3 uncooked cups of rice per batch. You can use white or brown rice. Don't use instant rice!

I use a large non-stick skillet to fry the rice. You don't need any special equipment. I've never used a wok in my life. All you need is a skillet and chopsticks. That's right, I make my fried rice with chopsticks but you can use a wooden spoon or tongs too. Whatever floats your boat.

First, add some sesame oil and veggie oil into your skillet. Sesame oil is mainly used as an aromatic and for flavor. The oil will keep things from sticking. While that heats up, I dice a medium sized onion. I had some carrots on hand so I diced some of that up too. Throw the onions and carrots in the skillet when your oil is hot.

While the onions and carrots are cooking, I'll finish prepping the other ingredients. First I chop some chinese sausage (meat is not a necessary component, but usually is in our home). Then mince some garlic. Leave it all on the cutting board while you're ready. Once the onions are translucent, add the lap xuong or chinese sausage (chicken or tofu would be a good substitute).

I let the sausage get a little crispy because it's really yummy this way (kind of like fried bacon or pancetta). Chinese sausage has a high fat content so it fries up nicely. This is great too because the fat will come in handy for the next components. While the sausage is getting nice and crispy, I prep the egg. One egg with some nuoc mam (fish sauce), probably 1/2 teaspoon or so, beaten. Oh and some pepper too. If you don't have fish sauce, I recommend you invest in a bottle. It's gives the dish its umami and will last you a while. It's quintessential in Vietnamese cooking. Andrea Nguyen has a great guide on buying fish sauce.

Now if you want to add other aromatics, add them in before you add the egg. So throw in your garlic, ginger (I didn't have any or else I would have), chili paste, etc. Once the sausage has cooked to your liking, I scoot all the food over to one side of the skillet.Then poor in the beaton egg, let it spread around but not get too mixed up with the other food in the skillet.

Let the egg cook slightly and then use your chopsticks/spoon/tongs/whatever to scramble it. Make sure it breaks up in little pieces. How's that for one pot cooking? Once it's all broken up in little pieces, stir everything together.

Now here's your chance to add some veggie to your fried rice. My mother always precooked some mixed frozen veggies. Imagine lima beans in your fried rice! I added edamame into mine, but have done peas, green beans, whatever I have in my freezer. Just nuke them in the microwave, drain and throw into the skillet.

After the veggies are all warm and cozied up with the sausage, onions and eggs, I throw in the rice. I forgot to mention that should probably take it out of the fridge before you start cooking so it's not too cold.


Now I add soy sauce & fish sauce to the rice. Break up the rice with your cooking tool and mix it up with the rest of the ingredients until everything is well combined. While you're doing that, taste your rice and see if you need more soy sauce or fish sauce. I like my friend rice on the salty side. Season to taste with some black pepper too if you didn't add any chili paste.

We never ate fried rice as a side, like you see in Chinese restaurants. It's usually a meal all on its own. Whenever I see some eat pork fried rice with beef and broccoli and an eggroll, it seems like protein overkill. I guess that's what America is about right, meat?

I hope you like the fried rice. Let me know how it comes out if you make it.


Tech Savvy Mama said...

Mmmm...Love lop cherng! I'm definitely going to try your version since I have my dad make Chinese fried rice for me whenever my parents are visiting.

the J in PJs Til Noon said...

I've tried a few times to make fried rice and never got it quite right. I can't wait to try your step by step instructions. Thanks!

madamesaslow said...

Oh, yummy! I always have leftover rice, since I try to cook 6 cooks at a time for eating all week. I'll be making this soon, and probably sharing it with my food blog. Thanks!

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