I kind of grew up around fried rice. Yes, I’m Asian. I remember when my teacher asked me about my favorite food I answered, “fried rice made by my mother”. I have eaten A LOT OF fried rice in my life. Fried rice is not only delicious but it’s also EASY to make and CHEAP! In fact, there are so many households that use this cuisine as a way to save money or to save the leftover rice.
What to serve with fried rice?
You can serve fried rice with a sunny side up (obviously!), omelet, crispy fried chicken, teriyaki chicken, dumpling, roasted shrimps, beef and broccoli stir-fry, ginger beef, chicken black pepper, lamb chop, tuna steak, pan-seared salmon, pickled veggies, sauteed mushrooms, or roast duck.
Although fried rice is a great way to stay on the budget, you don’t have to make it look cheap. There are so many side dishes that you can pair with fried rice to make it look more appetizing. Some of them are affordable, some of them might be a bit pricey. Fried rice with egg is probably the most common kind of fried rice that I have ever met and eaten. It’s super budget-friendly. It’s great for frugal families! However, if you want to make fried rice as a great-looking dinner, consider the other options. The choice is yours!
Sunny-Side Up Egg
Fried rice and sunny side up is a FAMOUS COMBO. They both look great together. They’re so cheap and easy and quick to make. If you have leftover rice from yesterday’s cooking in your rice cooker and some eggs in the fridge don’t forget to try this option. Oh, BTW, if you prepare your white rice with a rice cooker make sure your rice cooker is on “warm” setting all night to make sure the leftover is still edible.
HOW TO MAKE SUNNY SIDE UP EGG:
- Prepare a pan and heat it up on stove
- Drizzle some oil on the pan so it won’t be sticky
- Lower the heat
- Crack an egg carefully on the heated pan
- Add a little pinch of salt and pepper
- Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the white egg looks ALMOST set
- Turn off the heat and carefully place the egg to the plate
The combination of fried rice and egg is a smart idea to save money in the kitchen. But if you don’t really like sunny side up egg, you can try omelet instead.
As much as I love sunny side up when I was little, I now prefer omelet (I’m not sure why haha!). So, if you’re the kind of person who loves whisking your egg right before pouring it on the pan, maybe you should try this option.
HOW TO MAKE OMELET:
- Place a clean pan on a medium heat
- Drizzle some oil
- Crack 2 eggs in a bowl or measuring cup or whatever kind of cup you want to use.
- Add salt and pepper
- Whisk the egg using a fork or egg whisker
- Lower the heat of the stove
- Pour the whisked eggs into the heated pan
- Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the egg looks almost set. If you want to flip it, flip it now. If you want to add a layer of cheese, add it now. If you don’t want to flip it, just wait for another minute and turn off the heat.
Crispy Fried Chicken
Yes, crispy fried chicken matches fried rice. Although they both named “Fried”, only one of them are actually “deep-fried”. Fried rice is actually sauteed with little oil while crispy fried chicken is deep fried with a lot of oil.
I love crispy fried chicken! Aaah, the casual food that doesn’t sound so healthy but looks super appetizing. Especially for kids, am I right?!!
Now if you are about to arrange a family dinner with many kids involved, maybe you can consider this option.
HOW TO MAKE CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN:
- Wash the chicken fillet and cut it into cubes.
- Marinate it with salt, pepper, and other herbs or spices of your choice. You can also add milk and squeeze a lemon on it (just a bit).
- PLACE IT IN A FRIDGE. WAIT FOR 8 HOURS OR SO.
- Prepare 2 bowls. BOWL A (DRY): add flour and rice flour in a 3:1 ratio, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin powder, chicken powder. BOWL B (WET): the same of BOWL A + water (and then whisk it well)
- Prepare a huge pan or wok or deep fryer. Pour a generous amount of oil into it. Then heat it up. Using an air fryer for a wet batter is NOT recommended.
- After the oil reaching the hot temperature, lower the heat of the stove.
- Place the chicken cubes into bowl A (dry), and then into bowl B (wet), and then into bowl A again, into bowl B again, and then into bowl A again, and then toss them, and then deep fry them.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken cubes look crispy and slightly golden brown. Then immediately remove them from the pan.
Read more Fried Pork Chops with Cream Gravy
Teriyaki chicken is something simple that you can make in 15 minutes or so.
HOW TO MAKE TERIYAKI CHICKEN:
- Prepare a pan on medium heat. Drizzle some olive oil.
- Add boneless chicken cubes into the pan
- Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes until it turns brownish (don’t forget to flip it once in a while)
- In a bowl, mix soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, white vinegar or citrus juice, ginger powder, garlic powder, and cornstarch.
- Add the mixture into the pan. Stir it well with the chicken.
- After 30 seconds or when the sauce begins to thicken, turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the pan.
It’s easy to pair dumplings with so many other dishes. And you can also pair it with fried rice! Be it steamed or fried, dumpling is a tasty food that you can make simply!
Fried rice with roasted shrimp? WHY NOT?!
Look at the picture! Don’t they look good together?
You can add more greens to balance the color!
Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry
Beef and broccoli stir fry goes well with white rice. But you can be creative and turn the regular white rice into fried rice first!
If you’re Canadian, chances are you’re familiar with this cuisine, especially if you’re from Western Canadian.
You can make this delicious comfort food in 30 minutes!
Chicken Black Pepper
So, it’s common to find spicy fried chicken in Asia. But if you don’t want to make your rice looks reddish or spicy, maybe you can use the spices for the side dish instead. Chicken black pepper is a great idea for spicy and delicious side dish!
Read more How To Pan Sear A Tuna Steak
Place a couple of lamb chops on top of fried rice and serve!
Fried rice and lamb might feel a little bit heavy or fatty, but you can add tomato slices and lettuce or other veggies to make the whole dish feel a bit healthier.
So, if you’re a pesco-vegetarian or you just love fish very much, don’t forget to try combining fried rice with a tuna steak! Fried rice is a carb source [with some fat/oil added during cooking] while tuna steak is the protein source. Don’t forget to add a generous amount of veggies to the plate as a fiber source!
I LOVE SALMON!!!!
This is another great option for people who love fishes! You can combine fish and fried rice together!
Fresh veggies are great for accompanying fried rice. But if you want to take the extra mile in the kitchen, you can try pickled veggies.
HOW TO MAKE PICKLED VEGGIES:
- Prepare 1 big carrot, 1 cucumber, 5 shallots, and 5 green chili peppers
- Cut the carrots and cucumbers into jardiniere
- Cut the shallots into dices or slices
- Add 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp of vinegar, 1 tbsp of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir using a spoon.
- Add the carrots, cucumbers, shallots, and whole chili peppers into a jar
- Let it sit overnight in the fridge
- Strain [so the water is not included] and serve with fried rice
Can vegans eat fried rice? Yes of course! Can they pair it with something beyond the greens? Yes, of course!
You can sautee some mushrooms along with onions. Then, place it next to your fried rice.
Now if you want something fancy and fatty, check out the roast duck. You can serve it in chunks or shred it into tiny pieces. The tender and juicy meat can be a great addition to fried rice!
Just remember to add greens and sliced tomatoes to balance the taste and to make the whole dish look a bit healthier.