Fried Rice 101

Fried rice is easy to make…and yet it isn’t. Too greasy, too salty, too dry, too wet. The key is to use day-old rice (or at least cook and refrigerate it in the morning if you need it that night) and make sure all your ingredients are prepped before you turn on the stove. You can put just about anything in fried rice, and today we’re doing a little Hawaiian pizza-inspired dish that’s salty and sweet.

Let’s welcome 1 1/2 cups cooked, cubed ham, 2 eggs (plus a little milk for scrambling), 3 cups of rice I cooked yesterday, a chunk of ginger the size of your thumb, 1 shallot, 3/4 cup pineapple (fresh if you can get it), 1 tablespoon soy sauce (we’re going easy on the soy sauce because we’ve got ham), and green onion for garnish (optional)

Dice the shallot. Holding the ginger vertically on the cutting board, carefully slice the peel off with a sharp knife.

While the garlic is still standing on end, slice it lengthwise.

Cut into matchsticks, then dice it up.

Scramble two eggs with a splash of milk. Try to do a better job than I did. Put the largest, deepest frying pan you have onto medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour the eggs into the prepared pan. Cook them as you would an omelet or crepe, but we want the cooked eggs to be thinner than an omelet.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to just make scrambled eggs.

When the top of the egg is finished cooking, turn it out onto a cutting board. Roll.


And to think that this came out of a chicken.

Crank up the heat under that enormous frying pan to medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Add the shallot. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is translucent.

Add the ham and cook it just long enough to give the meat a slightly glazed look. Which beats having ham with a slightly dazed look. You don’t want to overcook the meat and dry it out.

Add the rice and gently break up the clumps with a spoon. You should hear lots of sizzling. That’s good. Just make sure to stir frequently so everything gets a chance to feel the burn without actually burning. This is a good time to add the soy sauce and stir well. If you like a little heat, mix some chili paste into your soy sauce before you add it to the pan.

Add the pineapple. We prefer our pineapple warm, not cooked. If you like the taste of cooked pineapple, throw it in earlier.

Grab those Goldilocks eggs. Get everyone to mingle.

Sprinkle with green onion. You now have a luau in a pan.

If you want a vegetarian option:

Here’s the same basic recipe but with carrots, edamame, and scrambled eggs. Add the thinly sliced carrots to the pan at the same time as the onion or shallot. Increase the soy sauce to 1 1/2 -2 tablespoons, and add chili paste or cracked black pepper if you want some heat.

Fried Rice with Ham and Pineapple (4-6 generous servings)


3 cups cooked, day-old rice

1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cubed

3/4 cup diced pineapple (fresh is best)

1 shallot, finely diced

thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 eggs

splash of milk (optional)

green onions for garnish (optional)


1. Place a large, deep frying pan on medium heat. Coat with cooking spray.

2. Scramble eggs with milk. Pour into the skillet. Cook omelet or crepe style. Remove from heat; roll and slice into ribbons.

3. Wipe pan to remove any lingering egg bits. Turn heat up to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil. Cook shallot for about 2 minutes. Add ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is translucent.

4. Add ham and cook just until ham is glazed. Avoid overcooking ham.

5. Add rice and stir frequently. Add a little more oil if rice seems too dry. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

6. Add soy sauce (and chili paste, if desired) and mix well.

7. Add pineapple and eggs, and stir.

8. Remove from heat. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

1 Comment

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One response to “Fried Rice 101

  1. Mimi

    Sometimes when I am feeling lazy I use the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s. Just follow the cooking directions on the box and dry it out in your pan before adding the other ingredients.

    Also, I really think your readers would enjoy a nice treat…something in the way of Mississippi Mud. (And if you have leftovers you can send them my way!)

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