Folks, meet Japanese garlic fried rice. Like all simple dishes, it only looks easy to perfect.
I couldn’t believe that making fried rice could be so difficult, until I tried to recreate the dish at home. The results were not bad, but somehow my garlic fried rice lacked umami, or wok hei, or something. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
… until one day, I decided to combine three tips from three Youtube chef superstars.
Three key tips to getting the perfect garlic fried rice
1. Add mayonnaise to your rice
In her preparation of garlic fried rice, Marion of Marion’s Kitchen added Kewpie mayonnaise to her cooked white rice while it was still warm. I did that and wow! The addition of mayo added a savoury, subtly tangy sweetness to the rice.
2. Sear your rice, not toss it
All my life, I’ve thought that there was only one way of cooking good fried rice: tossing the rice grains vigorously in the hot wok to get the wok hei. After all, restaurant chefs do it this way.
But despite following this step religiously, I could not replicate the restaurant-quality wok hei … until I tried this game-changing method by Pailin of Hot Thai Kitchen.
She spread the rice out in a flat layer over the pan to cover as big a surface area as possible, and then let the rice grains get toasted by the heat directly from the wok. Then about half a minute or so later, she used her spatula to flip the rice so the other side of the rice grains get toasted too.
OMG, SHE WAS SEARING THE RICE!!
She explained that this action toasts the rice grains and give them that sought-after char and wok hei. Tossing your rice vigorously like those chefs in commercial kitchens won’t work because your home wok is not powerful enough to generate wok hei. Geddit?
Woah. I have tried this several times and I am telling you, it WORKS. #lifechanging
3. Add fried garlic chips for crunch
Last but not least, this little step by Chef Nami of Just One Cookbook may seem simple but it makes a big difference to your eating experience. She divides her garlic cloves into two batches. For the first batch, she slices the garlic cloves into thin chips and and adds them to cold oil in the wok. Then she slowly brings the oil up to heat. That way, the garlic chips flavour the oil without burning. Once the chips start to brown at the edges, remove and set aside. Add them to the fried rice at the end. They really add a lovely textural contrast.
Because it uses so few ingredients, and pantry ingredients at that, this makes the perfect quarantine meal. I guarantee that you’ll be returning to this recipe again, and again!
Note: as you can see, I don’t use Japanese short grain rice in this recipe. It’s not easily available where I live in Malaysia. Should I then rename this Japanese-INSPIRED garlic fried rice? But whatever type of rice you’re using, this is an absolutely delicious recipe and so easy to make!
Garlic fried rice
- wok, rice cooker
- Rice for 2 pax
- 1 tbs Kewpie mayonnaise
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-2 tbs cooking oil
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 egg
- Diced spring onions
- Cook rice. While rice is warm, add Kewpie mayonnaise and mix to coat thoroughly.
- Slice two cloves garlic into thin chips. Finely mince the other two.
- In a cold wok, add oil. To cold oil, add garlic chips. Cook over low heat to infuse oil with garlic flavour. When edges of garlic chips start to brown, remove from heat.
- In the same oil, add minced garlic and butter. Toss 10-15 seconds, then add cooked rice. Toss to mix.
- Add soy sauce and mix.
- Push rice to a side and add egg. Scramble egg.
- Push rice over half-cooked egg and stir quickly to break up egg.
- This step is key - spread your rice out over the wok. Yes, as flat as you can. Then after half a minute or so, use your spatula to flip the rice grains (as much as you can) and toast the OTHER side. This will toast the rice grains and give it that char and wok hei.
- Add spring onions and toss to mix. Serve hot.