Japanese (Garlic) Fried Rice, Vegetarian Version

If there’s a secret to quality fried rice, it’s high, high heat but also a pinch of sugar and a dash of MSG. I’m making Japanese Fried Rice with a few surprises.

In the video, I prepared three different fried rice versions: a vegetarian, a chicken, and a (traditional) pork. Today I’ll post the vegetarian version with brown rice and later in the week the remaining two.

Ingredients

  • 10 grams minced ginger
  • 15 grams minced garlic
  • 50 grams of the green part of a scallion, sliced
  • Up to 2 cups of minced vegetables (carrots, broccoli, red/yellow peppers, corn are good starts, but use what’s in season)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked brown (or white) rice
  • 1 teaspoon konbu salt (optional — recipe below)
  • ½ teaspoon MSG (optional, but restaurants use it)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, restaurants use it)
  • Up to ¼ vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake or Shaoxing Wine (optional, but used in restaurants)

Directions

  1. Prepare the garlic and ginger, set aside in its own dish.
  2. Prepare the scallions, set it aside in its own dish.
  3. Prepare all your vegetables, set them aside in their own dish and toss them with the konbu salt, if using.
  4. Beat two eggs with salt in its own dish and set aside.
  5. Heat a wok or deep fry pan, add your oil and gently sauté the garlic and ginger until it’s nicely browned.
    1. Strain. Keep the browned bits of garlic and ginger for later
    2. Add the oil back to the pan.
  6. Cook your vegetables in the flavored oil about five minutes until almost done.
    1. Remove them from the pan.
    2. Add the flavored oil back to the pan.
  7. Turn the heat up to the maximum setting and all at once add the eggs to the hot oil. Quickly stir. When the whites are set but the yolks still wet, add all the rice at once.
  8. Mix the rice into the egg — do not lift the pan from the fire.
    1. Restaurants cook at a much higher temperature and can toss the rice at this point, but the home cook should not. You want to cook the egg and dry the rice, so keep the pan on the burner until that happens.
  9. When the egg and rice are thoroughly mixed add the scallions and cook one minute.
  10. Add the vegetables and the browned garlic/ginger and mix well.
  11. Pour the soy sauce around the edge of the pan and mix well.
  12. Add the MSG and sugar, if using and mix well.
  13. Add the sake or Shaoxing Wine around the edge of the pan and mix well.
  14. Taste and correct for salt — you’re done.

Konbu Salt

Konbu (aka dried kelp) is rich in the flavor called umami, which is what MSG has. If you prefer not to use MSG in your cooking, you can get an umami boost with konbu salt — readily available in many asian markets, but you can easily make it at home.

To ½ cup table salt add 5 grams of dried konbu. Put it in a heavy duty blender and blend at full power until the konbu is pulverized with the salt. Strain through a wire mesh filter and use as needed. Discard any larger pieces that you filter out.

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