Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goldilocks and the Fried Rice

It all started with leftover pork tenderloin and a taste for Asian flavors.  I made a quick trip to pick up some rice.  Rice is not a staple in my pantry.  Yes, I'm from that great Commonwealth of Virginia, a mid-south state.  No, I didn't grow up on rice (or grits either).  I remember a few times having rice pudding at the home of a relative.  Imagine my surprise when, ending up in Charleston, S.C. a few decades ago, I walked down an aisle in the Piggly Wiggly and saw fifty pound bags of rice!!  It still did not become a staple in my kitchen, but I enjoyed it at the table of others.

Back to my fried rice.  I picked up the store brand of regular white rice and followed the recipe on the bag.

Goldilocks was not impressed.

First try:  Too mushy!
Second try:  Too dry!
Third try:  NOT just right!  Still mushy.

What am I doing wrong?  Wrong rice?  Wrong technique?  How do Chinese take-outs get it right every time?  How do you?

The flavors were good.  The texture was .... mushy.


  1. I get a craving for Asian food with rice too. My mother used Uncle Ben's converted rice and cooked it in salted lightly boiling water for 20 minutes if it's white and 35 minutes if it's brown. Drain well and add a knob of butter and either serve right away or cover and it will save for 15 to 20 minutes. I still use the same method and it works every time. No sticky rice and perfect texture. Not long ago, I saw the same method in Cooking Light on "How to cook rice perfectly every time," so it works for other people too.

  2. I cook it this way.... 1 3/4 c water to 1c rice. Rinse the rice good before cooking. Rice usually has some powdery coating (cornstarch) and if you don't will gum up the rice. I cook my rice with the lid cracked a little bit. After about 12 to 15 min take it off the heat and cover tightly. Let it rest for about 10 to15 absorb the water that is left. Fluff it with a fork and perfect rice every time.

  3. Can I give you an easy peasy rice method?
    I use basmati these days..leftover works just fine for a fried rice.
    Now this will depend on your microwave(the only thing I use it for ..along with melting chocolate really..)
    I use a Corning or Pyrex casserole w/ lid.
    You can rinse your rice or not.(yes not..the Indian woman that gave me this recipe told me so:) )
    I usually melt a bit of butter in the Corning w/ a French shallot chopped first..then add one cup of rice..and stir to coat the rice..add 2 cups of a GOOD chicken broth..cover with a paper towel..then the lid..this is the tricky micro..and hers obviously were the same power..cook high 9 minutes..remove ..fluff ..replace lid and wait a few minutes.My daughters micro needs like 10-11 mins..The Indian lady..just like mine 9 spot on.not a spot of water.
    You will know right away..
    Mine never has any liquid left just right.
    I often add frozen peas ..herbs..sometimes a special preserved lemon right in the middle..and then when I fluff the lemon disintegrates in it..very good.
    Here I go even more flavorful way is to saute your onions in butter on the stove etc..then the rice then transfer..
    But rice to us is a staple and usually for a quicker 9 minutes works..and this cup rice to 2 cups broth leaves us enough for leftovers.
    Dr Oz says you should not keep cooked rice more than 2 days..:)
    Sam's way works great for our other many people love the way they are used to:)
    This recipe works great with long grained rice which is what we used to eat yrs ago.
    Depends what kind of rice you bought?
    When I first got married..I bought rice in a can w/ a seasoning..imagine.I was 20.
    I am sure you will be bombarded with rice methods..:)

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and entering my giveaway.

    Rice IS a staple in our house. I used to have a rice cooker, and that insured perfect rice every time. Now, though, I make a different recipe, which I always serve to guests. They always rave about it and ask for the recipe.

    Saute some onion in 3 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp olive oil. Add 6 tsp. chicken bouillion granules. Dissolve.

    Add 1 cup rice (I use Uncle Ben's), 1/2 cup orzo, and 2 cups water. Simmer, covered, about 30 min.

    When all the water is absorbed and rice is tender, add a nice helping of toasted pine nuts. (I omit these sometimes, as pine nuts are so expensive.)

    I guess this is more like a pilaf, but I serve it often....with just about anything. Everyone always loves it and eats 2 or 3 helpings.

    Have a wonderful day,

  5. the key to fried rice is to make the rice a day ahead. If you do that you will have much better luck....and don't use too much oil when reheating (frying) :D.....

  6. rice, grits and potatoes is most of what we had to eat.. that and the garden daddy planted was our main diet. i read la table and that sounds like a good way to make fried rice. i never had fried rice until about 10 years ago, because i don't like asian food at all. but i do love fried rice. i have never cooked it though... the microwave i might try. or not. LOL...

  7. some people are soooo fussy... looks perfect to me!

  8. This still looks good, Bonnie We love rice--all kinds and types of rice! We had good friends whose parents owned a Chinese restaurant. For Chinese stir fry they use left over boiled rice. The Chinese use a short grain "sticky" rice. Did you cook the rice first and let it cool and dry out, and then heat it wit the added ingredients at high temperature in a wok? That will give you the crunchy texture of a Chinese restaurant.

  9. Did you use converted rice?? The converted helps it to not be sticky and mushy. After you cook the rice, you have to refrigerate it first and get it really cold before you do the stir fry. Make it a day ahead of time. I hope that works. Never in a million years would I think I would be giving YOU cooking advice. The food world is all atwitter about the arsenic in rice, Consumer reports came out with the ones that had the lowest levels a few months back. So it is good that you don't eat it that much. I really eat it way too much!

  10. You've reminded me I haven't made fried rice in a while! Gonna correct that real soon:@)

  11. Oh,dear...I don't do mushy...and I've never tried to make fried rice....sorry I can't help.
    Yes, ma'am, they still decorate for Christmas at the RHCenter...just breathtaking.
    I haven't been up to Prairie Dog Town if forever but bet it's still there. :)

  12. I don't know how he does it but hubby makes PERFECT rice... Ask him for his recipe if you want it.... He worked in China several different times back in the '90's (before I met him)---and he had A LOT of rice while there!!!!!

    That being said, your photo of the rice looks terrific.

  13. I wonder if you didn't fry it long enough. I also put oil in my rice when I first cook it. And, the pantry doesn't seem right without rice in it --I guess I grew up eating rice.

  14. Wish I knew! I don't often cook rice but always have always followed the directions on the box (Uncle Bens). Glad you found some good suggestions :)

  15. It sounds like you have gotten get advice on cooking rice. As to fried rice, I agree with the others about using left over cold rice for fried rice. You may not have been thrilled with your rice but it certainly looks good. Karen

  16. Meant to say "great" advice. :)

  17. I am so behind on my blog reading - hi Bonnie!

    My husband makes THE BEST fried rice. Better than take out! Here is his video link on how he makes it - hope that helps!

    It's finally feeling like summer!


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