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Old 08-22-2011, 11:39 PM   #1
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Flavorless Fried rice?? Please help.

Like many I have become a food network junkie. I've never really been a foodie but lately I have been experimenting in the kitchen more and more. I have always had a couple of basic meals that were |dads" job, but am trying to expand my horizons more . I love asian food in all styles. I want to try to make a bunch of Japanese, Vietnamese, and thai recipes. Here is my problem.
So I made fried rice a couple of times now. I use Onions, peas, carrots, chicken and shrimp, some tomato sauce, soy sauce, garlic, day old rice fried in peanut oil in a wok. It tastes ok but not great. It's still missing something to keep it from being bland. I was hoping someone here may have some suggestions for what I have overlooked that will bring some flavor into my rice.

I appreciate any help you guys can give,

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:22 AM   #2
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The tomato sauce doesn't sound right, but the rest of the ingredients do. In addition to the garlic and onions, I also saute mushrooms, ginger, and scallions. Plus I add small pieces of scrambled eggs. Also, some dark sesame oil.

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:25 AM   #3
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Rice is pretty absorbant and can easily make something that tastes just right on it's own into something that's pretty bland once cooked into the rice. So it may not be what you are using but how much. You might try adding just a little more of what you already have.

I've never made fried rice with tomato sauce so I'm not sure it would work but I usually use ginger in mine. I think fresh ginger would probably work well. You could also add a little lemon or lime and some corriander. Or try adding a little curry powder or paste to it. If you like chilis you could add some spicey red peppers. Since you are using tomato a little basil might perk it up also. I think fresh would work best but dried would also be ok. I've seen a few thai recipes that call for tomato, ginger and basil. Oh, and lemon grass too. If you like it, might try adding some lemon grass.

Another idea that might help is to initially cook the rice in some sort of broth. A vegetable or chicken broth would work well with most other flavorings.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:40 AM   #4
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I find browning my raw rice first (think rice-a-roni) gives any pilaf or fried rice a nice nutty flavor. Pag is right about using broth for the cooking liquid. Scrambling an egg into your fried rice just before serving also adds flavor. Sesame oil is also a good choice for fried rice, but go easy on the soy sauce as it can overpower the other flavors. I sometimes add just a pinch of Chinese five spice powder. I like to add peas and green onions and sometimes shrimp. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:54 AM   #5
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Not browning enough and not enough soy could be he culprit.
X2 on ditching the tomatoe sauce.

You could try Furakake for a big flavor explosion sprinkled on top. I love it but the rest of the family doesn't. Good thing it is sprinkled on after and there are plenty of kinds to choose from.

Also try cooking things seperate until browned and then just toss the together with the rice and soy at the end in he wok.

An egg or two scramled in is good too. It really pics up the soy!
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:59 AM   #6
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My secret, too, is an acid. Acetic, citric, malic, doesn't matter as long as it counteracts the oil of fry.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:59 AM   #7
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Fish sauce for the salt / umami & shaoxing wine (or dry sherry) are the only two "seasonings" I use in friend rice and it tastes better than take-out!

Here's what I do, it takes about 10 minutes tops:

green onions
fish sauce
shaoxing wine

Scramble a couple eggs in oil over med-high until almost done, remove from pan.

Add a bit more oil and heat until the surface shimmers (meaning it's very hot).

Brown 1/4-lb finely chopped meat (pancetta / chorizo / bacon / sausage / linquica or leftover chicken, pork, beef).

Add thinly sliced green onions and stir with the meat until they're fragrant.

Add finely chopped spinach and stir until cooked down.

Put in 3-4 c pre-cooked (cold) rice and the scrambled eggs. Mix well, making sure that the meat, onions and spinach are distributed evenly and that all of the rice gets a very light coating of oil.

Once the eggs and rice are thoroughly heated through, add one tablespoon each of fish sauce and xaoshing wine. Toss quickly. Once everything is hot again, it's done.

Add some freshly cracked pepper over the top and it's done.

It doesn't get any easier. Nor any tastier! If it needs more salt, add an extra dash of fish sauce.

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Old 08-23-2011, 03:46 AM   #8
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I would add soy sauce for flavor and saltiness.

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Old 08-23-2011, 06:53 AM   #9
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I use a 50/50 mix of oyster sauce and soy sauce in mine.
When scrambling the eggs, I add some sesame oil to the eggs first.
I find that fried rice does take a decent amount of the oyster/soy .

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Old 08-23-2011, 08:15 AM   #10
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I agree, no tomato. Fried rice needs soy and oyster sauces, ginger and garlic and Chinese cabbage for that restaurant flavor. Also, bean sprouts, scrambled eggs and scallions.

Keep trying, you'll get it right.

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