Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

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Soy sauce fried rice is simple yet indulgent. It is a classic Chinese dish that uses minimal ingredients to create maximum flavor. Only takes ten minutes to prepare, and it’s robust enough to serve as a main or to satisfy your midnight salty snack craving.

Soy sauce fried rice (酱油炒饭, Jiang You Chao Fan) is a classic. It is not just another fried rice. It’s a signature of Chinese cooking, as it uses pretty minimal ingredients to create a wonderful flavor. It uses simple ingredients such as butter, soy sauce, tons of green onions, and eggs to turn your leftover stale rice into a feast.

Traditional soy sauce fried rice uses animal fat (pork fat or chicken fat) instead of oil to create the best taste. However those animal fats are less commonly used in the US. That’s why I altered the recipe to use butter while maintaining the best taste.

Soy sauce fried rice ingredients

It only takes a few ingredients to make a great soy sauce fried rice. But here are some important notes.

Overnight (leftover) rice

Jasmine rice is my favorite type of rice for soy sauce fried rice, because it has a nice fragrance, and the grains separate easily during cooking. You can also use other type of medium grain white rice for this recipe. I do not recommend using short grain rice, because it is starchier and the grains won’t crisp up nicely. For a healthier option, you can also use medium grain brown rice instead of white rice.

Overnight rice is not the most precise description. The best rice is 2 to 3 days old.

Freshly cooked rice contains a lot of moisture and its texture is sticky. It tastes great served as-is, but it won’t create the best result for fried rice.

When the rice is a few days old, it will start to get quite dry. You can easily separate the grains using your fingers without it feeling sticky. It is the best rice for frying, to get that crunchy crispy texture. Sometimes I freeze the rice and then thaw it, to achieve the desired texture for fried rice.

Dark soy sauce

Dark soy sauce is a dark-colored soy sauce that has a thicker texture and lightly sweet taste. It’s the key to the beautiful caramelized color of soy sauce fried rice.

Secrete ingredient – butter

It adds tons of flavor to the rice and it’s important. The next best choice is premium peanut oil with some sesame oil, but I still prefer the taste of butter. 

If you want to get a super authentic taste, consider using chicken fat, duck fat, or lard. Epic and Fatworks both produce premium high-quality fats. You can find both on Amazon (Chicken Fat by Fatworks & Duck Fat by Epic).

Mise en place

Before turning on your stove, your kitchen counter should have:

Mixed sauce

Butter

Beaten eggs

Chopped green onion

Rice, fluffed

Cooking process

Lightly scramble the eggs until the bottom is cooked but the top is still runny, so some of the eggs will coat the rice.

Add the rice and cook.

Drizzle in the soy sauce mixture.

Add the green onions and mix well.

NOTE: It’s important to heat up your pan really well and cook the rice thoroughly, so the moisture evaporates and the surface of the rice crisps up. If you’re using very stale rice, you will achieve a great texture more quickly. If you’re using fresher rice, it might take longer to fry the rice to achieve the desired texture.

How to DIY your soy sauce fried rice

Sometimes you might want to throw in some protein or veggies to make your fried rice into a full meal. Here are some great options:

Leftover ham, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, roast beef, cooked shrimp

Diced peppers, onions

Frozen vegetables such as green peas, corn, and carrots

You can add these ingredients right before you drizzle in the soy sauce mixture (Between step 3 and 4 in the recipe). 

NOTE: Making good fried rice is like choosing pizza toppings – less is more. You don’t want to add too many things that dilute the taste and texture of the fried rice. I would say only add a small handful of other ingredients (no more than 1 cup if combining everything you add). You’d be surprised how large the final volume will be. 

How to serve soy sauce fried rice

Soy sauce is a great side dish to add to your dinner, accompany with a main dish and a vegetable or soup. For example, consider serving soy sauce fried rice with:

You can also serve soy sauce as a quick main dish by itself for lunch.

Since it fridge and freeze very well and taste good after reheating, you can also make a big batch for meal prep.

Afterthought

I serve soy sauce fried rice on rare occasions at home. But not because I don’t like it that much. Quite the opposite, I LOVE it so much that I’d eat the whole pan myself! Yep. It’s THAT good. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but I enjoy every moment when devouring every bit of the fried rice directly from the frying pan. 

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Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

Soy sauce fried rice is simple yet indulgent. It is a classic Chinese dish that uses minimal ingredients to create maximum flavor. Only takes ten minutes to prepare, and it’s robust enough to serve as a main or to satisfy your midnight salty snack craving.

Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: SideCuisine: ChineseKeyword: takeout

Prep Time: 5 minutes minutesCook Time: 5 minutes minutesTotal Time: 10 minutes minutes

Ingredients2 tablespoons light soy sauce1 tablespoon dark soy sauce1 teaspoon sugar1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder3 tablespoons butter (*see footnote 1)3 eggs , beaten4 cups overnight jasmine rice (or other medium grain rice) (see blog post for description)3 green onions , choppedSalt to taste
InstructionsCombine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Stir to mix well.Add the butter into a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until melted. Add the eggs. Cook until the bottom is slightly set. Scramble until the eggs are mostly cooked.Add the rice onto the egg. Cook and chop the rice with your spatula, to separate the grains and coat the rice with egg. Cook until the heat builds up and you can hear a vibrant sizzling.Swirl in the soy sauce mixture. Cook and stir constantly, until the rice turns an even color.Add the green onion and stir to mix well.Carefully taste the rice. Season lightly with sea salt if needed. Stir and mix thoroughly, so the salt is evenly dispersed.Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve hot as a side or a light main dish.
Notes
My original recipe called for chicken fat or lard, to get the best flavor. In my latest update, I decided to use butter instead of animal fat, which is easier to find. The flavor of the rice will be slightly different but still taste rich.

Video
NutritionServing: 1serving, Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.9g, Protein: 6.2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6.5g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 786mg, Potassium: 117mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 1.7g, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 3mg

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