Hi Friends! With Chinese New Year on Tuesday, February 1st, we wanted to greet the Year of The Tiger with a few of our favorite Chinese dishes. First up, one of Alex’s favorite restaurant dishes, Egg Fried Rice. Today’s post is a repost of Alex’s first recipe for his Djalali Cooks Too column. Enjoy!
Hi all. It’s Alex, Kelly’s husband. I thought I’d try something new and begin a (semi-)regular Saturday column. So, here it goes. First things first: I’m not a chef by any stretch of the imagination. I can heat up “nachos” in the microwave pretty effectively, and if you twist my arm, I can make a decent sandwich. That’s about it, really, which makes this column a bit of a stretch. But as a I get older, stretching, as much as I hate it, is necessary. And in my defense, one thing I do do pretty regularly is grill and smoke meat. This means leftovers, which in turns means figuring out how to use them. So, that’s what my column is going to be about: how to cook and reuse meat. Last weekend, I smoked a 7 lb. Boston butt. (If you’re looking for a recipe, you can find one here.) There’s just two of us, so yeah, gotta figure out how to incorporate the leftovers into a new dish, which today, is Egg Fried Rice with Pulled Pork.
This is a wok recipe, so make sure you have a good carbon steel one. If you’re cooking on a stove top, either get a wok with a flat base (don’t want that thing wobbling), or get yourself a wok ring. I use the latter. Make sure the wok is good and seasoned, and you’ll be good to go.
Ingredient-wise, this recipe is pretty simple. You’re gonna need Sesame oil (but vegetable will work in a pinch), soy sauce (either light or dark), corn starch (more on that in a second), and the dreaded M.S.G. (Kosher salt will work fine too).
Additionally, you’re gonna need some day old (or freshly cooked) rice, a couple of beaten eggs, chopped green onions, and of course pulled pork. (Honestly, pretty much any kinda protein will work here. So if you don’t like pulled pork, no problem. I just think the smokey flavor adds significantly to the flavor profile of the dish.)
A quick note on the rice. I’m using Jasmine, but you can pretty much use any medium-grained rice. There’s a lot of back and forth on whether you should fry day old or freshly cooked rice. The reason being, fried rice shouldn’t be clumpy—grain independence as (I think) they say.
I’ve done it both ways and have had success. Today, I went with freshly cooked rice and threw in a little corn starch and mixed well. Yup, corn starch. Turns out it helps avoiding those pesky clumps. (Got this tip and many others from Kenji’s Cooking Show.)
Now for the cook. Just a warning: wok cooking goes fast. Real fast. So, make sure you’re fully prepped and organized, because once you get going, well… (I’m actually not totally sure how I managed to not totally screw up this cook while simultaneously taking pictures. God bless Kelly, I don’t really know how she does it day in and day out.)
Also, as far as I can tell, wok cooking is forgiving in that it allows relative imprecision: you don’t have to nail the exact measurements of anything really. A pinch here; another one there. You’ll be fine, I promise. So, turn on your burner and throw about a 1/2 cup of sesame oil in. Once it starts to smoke just a bit, we’re good to go.
The eggs are probably the hardest part of the whole cook. Took me a while to get ’em right on the wok, and if you don’t feel comfortable, cook them on the side in a pan you are comfortable with.
But if you are gonna cook ’em in the wok, here’s how I do it: pour those beaten eggs in, and start to shake the wok gently from side-to-side. When the eggs have a firm bottom going, you’re gonna flip ’em. Kinda hard to describe in words just how to do that on a wok, but it’s a sort of pullback/push forward and up type of motion.
It’s really only gonna take about a minute until the eggs are cooked through, and once they are, pull them from the wok and set them aside until later.
Egg Fried Rice with Pulled Pork
Now the rice. You’re going to want to add another 1/2 cup of sesame oil to the wok. Get it sizzling. Then, throw about 1.5 to 2 cups of rice in, depending on how big your wok is. (The trick is to not overcrowd the wok, which means you may have to cook in batches.) Pro-tip: if you’re cooking on the stove top, you can crisp up the rice with extra BTUs by hitting your rice with a small butane torch. Not necessary, but if you have it, it’s worth a go.
Now for the rest of the ingredients. First, about 1 cup of pork; next, 1/2 cup of chopped green onions; and finally the cooked egg. All the while, you’re going to be shaking and stirring the contents of that wok—just have fun with it. You’ll know you’re on the right track if you hear a crisp sizzle as you’re cooking.
Keep stirring, shaking and mixing the rice and the ingredients for about 2 minutes. About a minute before you’re ready to pull, you’re going to add about 1-1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce. The trick here is to add it along the outer ring of the wok, not the rice directly. You want that soy sauce to burn off a bit before you mix it into the rice. I went with dark soy sauce today, mostly for the coloring. But feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Finally, right before you pull the rice, add your MSG (or salt) directly to the rice. Stir. Pull. And serve.
The Finished Product
And that’s really it. Pretty easy, honestly. And if it’s not, I’m willing to bet it’ll still taste great. (Honestly, I’ve screwed this up pretty badly a few times, and everyone still ate everything.)
Looking back, I think the biggest “gotchas” here are 1) cooking the egg on the wok; and 2) how quickly wok cooking goes in general. From start to finish this recipe takes maybe five minutes?
With that, I bid you farewell. Until next week: Djalali Cooks Too.
Egg Fried Rice with Pulled Pork
Savory Pork Fried Rice, with smoked pulled pork, egg and scallions.
- 1/2 cup Sesame Oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Corn Starch
- 1 1/2 tbsp. MSG, to taste
- 2 cups Medium-Grained Rice, like Jasmine
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Pulled Pork
- 1/2 cup Chopped Green Onions
Have all of your ingredients prepped, measured and close by.
Heat the wok or large skillet over high heat, then pour in 1/2 cup sesame oil.
When the sesame oil begins to smoke, pour beaten eggs into the wok and when the eggs begin to set, flip them over and cook through, about one minute. Transfer egg to a plate and set aside.
Pour remaining sesame oil into the hot wok. Once the oil begins to smoke, and add the rice to the wok and stir vigorously for about 1-2 minutes, then add pork, onions and cooked egg. Continue stirring vigorously, breaking the cooked egg up in the rice for another 1-2 minutes.
Pour the soy sauce around the perimeter of the rice and let it sizzle for a few seconds before stirring the soy sauce into the rice.
Sprinkle on MSG, stir well to incorporate and remove from heat.
Serve with extra chopped green onions, if desired.