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by350

New York-Style Chinese Fried Rice

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I have been attempting to recreate that Chinese restaurant taste in my own fried rice, but it's still off. Hoping someone can help. Here are my ingredients:

Pre-cooked white rice (cooked before and chilled)

Fresh garlic

Vegetable oil

Oyster sauce

Shallots

Carrots

Bean sprouts

This is cooked in a pretty new Calphalon hard anodized wok. How do I get that restaurant flavor that's missing???

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My secret ingredient for fried rice has always been bacon fat.

Duck fat is pretty good too.


--

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cook your rice, but not too much, then spread it out a bit to get rid of some of the steam, then lob it in the fridge.

when cooled, beat up an egg and lob it in a hot oiled wok. scramble it, then get the egg bits and set to one side.

now heat the wok up full, a generous amount of oil and lob in a little bit of garlic and ginger, plus other ingredients you want (perhaps a bit of diced ciar-siu pork or ham, a few prawns) then add the rice and stirfry it until cooked.

it probably still won't taste like chinese restaurants, though, at least the ones in europe... you need MSG for that..

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How do I get that restaurant flavor that's missing???

My guess is that what is missing is something called (and I'm spelling it phonetically since I don't know the correct spelling) "wok hey". The "hey" is literally the "chi" of the wok...the built up character/flavor that a wok develops the longer it is used. A well-used well-seasoned wok will be almost black on its interior and this is a key part of the magic of chinese cooking. A poor analogy would be a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. But a well-seasoned cast iron skillet won't really add that extra flavor, that extra "something", to your food like a well-seasoned wok will. I have a cheap sheet metal wok I bought for $10 in a chinese grocery store that is finally gaining some of this seasoning after years of use.

"Wok hey" is something that can never develop in a non-stick or hard anodized pan.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Try this:

Set out two eggs.

After you beat up one, then scramble it a la Gus, beat the other egg and set it aside.

Just as your fried rice is nearing completion, add the other raw, beaten egg, and scramble them all together.

You have to have a fairly good amount of fried rice for this to work properly, but the beaten egg should just coat all of your ingredients lightly.

You shouldn't be able to exactly tell it's there, but it adds a great flavor.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Try this:

Set out two eggs.

After you beat up one, then scramble it a la Gus, beat the other egg and set it aside.

Just as your fried rice is nearing completion, add the other raw, beaten egg, and scramble them all together.

You have to have a fairly good amount of fried rice for this to work properly, but the beaten egg should just coat all of your ingredients lightly.

You shouldn't be able to exactly tell it's there, but it adds a great flavor.

What Jaymes said.

Adding the egg at the last minute is crucial to make the texture correct.

I have some left over steamed rice....guess what I will be making for dinner :biggrin:


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Repeat after me: MSG

(Also peanut oil, an egg, and a super-hot wok)

by350,

Fat Guy's post is completely accurate. A hot seasoned wok will impart that "smoky flavor", peanut oil is the oil of choice by most Asians, and MSG will finish it off.

Just try it.

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Okay, in the interests of capturing the Chinese-restaurant taste, I've just finished eating some pork fried rice from my local generic Chinese restaurant. As far as I can tell, the ingredients were:

- diced onions

- peas

- egg

- white rice

- roast pork

- soy sauce

- peanut oil

- MSG

I did not detect ginger or garlic, though either or both may have been in there in small quantities. Most likely absent also were oyster sauce, shallots, carrots, and bean sprouts.

Most important, I think I could probably never recreate this dish at home because it was clearly cooked in a wok that was hotter than I could ever get a wok on my range-top at home -- and I have about as powerful a range as it's legal to have in a residence. The thing is, Chinese-restaurant wok burners are literally four times as powerful as my range, and eight times as powerful as most people's ranges, and as a result they allow for rapid stir-frying that keeps the food just this side of having the crap burnt out of it. I could see that each grain of rice had been seared in such a way as to give it a little extra texture and a Maillard/caramelized/whatever flavor. I might be able to achieve that in a very small batch if I pre-heated a cast-iron or heavy copper skillet for 20 minutes, but probably not.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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How do I get that restaurant flavor that's missing???

My guess is that what is missing is something called (and I'm spelling it phonetically since I don't know the correct spelling) "wok hey". The "hey" is literally the "chi" of the wok...the built up character/flavor that a wok develops the longer it is used. A well-used well-seasoned wok will be almost black on its interior and this is a key part of the magic of chinese cooking. A poor analogy would be a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. But a well-seasoned cast iron skillet won't really add that extra flavor, that extra "something", to your food like a well-seasoned wok will. I have a cheap sheet metal wok I bought for $10 in a chinese grocery store that is finally gaining some of this seasoning after years of use.

"Wok hey" is something that can never develop in a non-stick or hard anodized pan.

My understanding of wok hey relates to the seasoning of the pan, not the seasoning of the food. It's something that's very difficult to achieve at home because it requires extremely high heat. Even "professional for home" ranges can't pump out the BTUs in the same quantity as a commercial wok installation. Your best bet is to walk outside -- and wok outside, over an open LNG or propane burner like the ones that come with turkey fryers. Maybe Tolliver's experience demonstrates that time alone can achieve a similar effect; it just takes a while.

I don't think flavor per se is transferred from the pan to the food (a pan that contributes flavor directly would be a dirty pan, wouldn't it?) Rather, the searing ability of the pan is enhanced, and this is what helps create flavor.

Edit: thanks for taking one for the team, Fat Guy.


Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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An essential ingredient in home cooked fried rice for me is fish sauce. And chopped up chiles.

Fried rice also needs to have egg, and it needs to be made from day old leftover rice. You also want to use dark soy.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Pre-cooked white rice (cooked before and chilled)

Fresh garlic

Vegetable oil

Oyster sauce

Shallots

Carrots

Bean sprouts

My ancient chinese secret has always been soy sauce, a shot of sesame oil, and a little butter.

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Okay, but just to be clear, neither fish sauce, chiles, butter, nor sesame oil would ever likely be found in Chinese-restaurant fried rice. The question on the table here is how can someone reproduce Chinese-restaurant fried rice; not how can someone make fried rice that is good in general.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I like chinese sausage diced up in our homemade fried rice. The fish sauce is for when we make pad thai. No shallots, plain yellow onions. And scallions. And cilantro.

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I like chinese sausage diced up in our homemade fried rice. The fish sauce is for when we make pad thai. No shallots, plain yellow onions. And scallions. And cilantro.

I put fish sauce in the fried rice too when I make it for us.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Okay, but just to be clear, neither fish sauce, chiles, butter, nor sesame oil would ever likely be found in Chinese-restaurant fried rice. The question on the table here is how can someone reproduce Chinese-restaurant fried rice; not how can someone make fried rice that is good in general.

Lots and lots of soy sauce. Peanut oil. A really hot wok. And MSG

Oyster sauce has a lot of MSG in it... I've never tried it, but that can be the flavor and color we are looking for.

Theres also TWO or three distinct kinds of Chinese Restaurant fried rice. There's the retro kind from the 60's, with lots of egg and is a really dark soy color. That one is my favorite. Then you have the modern (bad) kind which is this yellowish kind of fried rice, which has like an artificial coloring to it. Then you have the expensive chinese restaurant fried rice which is young chow style with no or little soy added at all.

Then you got the vietnamese and thai restaurant fried rices, which use fish sauce and some soy, plus stuff like pineapple and cilantro to add extra flavor.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I like the retro kind too. I've always wondered how the rice gets so dark, though.

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Soy Sauce is key. And if you add soy sauce, you've got the MSG covered. Do you really need more?

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I dunno, is there really much MSG in soy sauce? The kind we use at home is the Japanese-made Kikkoman general purpose stuff... should we be using a Chinese type? I've seen them in asian food stores but they seem to be fairly low quality. Or is that the flavor we are looking for?

I realize the "umami" flavor comes from soybeans, but don't you really need to concentrate it via some sort of chemical process to get pure MSG?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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As far as I know there is insufficient glutamate in soy sauce to produce the flavor-enhancing effect of actual MSG -- you would have to add like a whole bottle of it I think. I'd have to check with an authoritative reference, but I recall reading that there are 500 milligrams of free glutamate in 100 grams of soy sauce (in other words about half a cup of soy sauce -- more than you'd likely ever add to a dish). Whereas, there is I believe that much glutamate in 1/8 of a teaspoon of an MSG powder like Accent.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My understanding is that at the top Chinese restaurants, for authentic fried rice, soy sauce 'is not used' at all.

-------

Steve

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I dunno, is there really much MSG in soy sauce? The kind we use at home is the Japanese-made Kikkoman general purpose stuff... should we be using a Chinese type? I've seen them in asian food stores but they seem to be fairly low quality. Or is that the flavor we are looking for?

I realize the "umami" flavor comes from soybeans, but don't you really need to concentrate it via some sort of chemical process to get pure MSG?

I use Kikkoman too so I couldn't tell you whether or not the cheaper soy sauces were any tastier or had more MSG. All I know is that soy sauce has naturally occuring MSG and it seems adding more would be overkill. Then again, I haven't tried putting Accent on my fried rice so maybe that would make a good thing better.

MSG is one of those ingredients that I feel evil using -- kind of like lard. There's that feeling someone's going to come in the kitchen and yell "Ah HA!".

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