My kids are finicky eaters, to be sure. But this dish has always been a family favorite. My mom used to make it when I was little, and though I have tweaked it here and there (increased the eggs, added more veggies, and included sesame seeds), it is largely the same dish I remember. I think it’s better than Chinese take-out fried rice – the flavors are crisper, cleaner, and there’s lots more meat, eggs, and veggies.
Fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers. Switch up the ham for leftover chicken, steak, or pork, cut in thin strips. Add or subtract veggies to suit your preference, or what you have kicking around in your fridge, begging to be used up. I have even used frozen mixed vegetables in place of the carrots and peas.
I admit that I do sometimes make rice solely for this dish, but more often I intentionally plan to serve rice a day or two ahead of making fried rice, and be sure to make plenty extra.
What you need:
- 5 large eggs (or leftover scrambled eggs)
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 2 T. vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
- 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 T. sesame seeds
- 3-4 c. cooked white rice (refrigerated 24 hours)
- 6-8 oz. frozen peas
- leftover cooked ham, 1-2 c. chopped
- 3 T. soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- large (12″) skillet and spatula
- measuring cups and spoons
- cutting board and knife
Time: 24 hours cooling time for the rice, 30 minutes to cook fried rice
Multiplying the recipe: It would be difficult to find a pan that would fit a double batch, so cook each batch separately.
(If you don’t have leftover rice, cook the rice 24 hours in advance and refrigerate, covered, until you are ready to cook the fried rice. This step is important because it keeps the grains of rice from becoming gummy.)
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook the eggs until set, and then break them up with a spatula. Set aside to keep warm in a small dish.
In the empty skillet, add the butter and oil. When the butter is melted, add the carrots, celery, onion, and green onions. Cook for 5 minutes, until the carrots are just beginning to soften. Add the sesame seeds and toss to coat them in oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the sesame seeds are golden brown.
Add the cold rice to the pan and stir to break up any clumps. Allow the rice to heat through, about 5 minutes. Add the frozen peas to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they are thawed.
Add the ham to the pan and stir; cook 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and then the scrambled eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.