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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:

eggs
meat
green onions
spinach
rice
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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Old 08-23-2011, 08:20 AM   #11
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I forgot to mention I did have ginger and an egg in my mixture. I saaw a couple of different videos online where tomato sauce was used to flavor/color the rice so I did it. I tried fish sauce last time when I used Chinese sausage and it tasted strange. I'm not sure whether to blame the fish sauce or the sausage so I left both out this time. Maybe I'll try upping the amount of my ingredients as suggested and see if that helps. I did cook all the ingredients separately before tossing them together and perhaps it ended up with too much peanut oil as well. It good enough that it's edible just seems like it's missing a certain flavor to really shine. Thanks for all the help!!

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Old 08-23-2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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To me the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds are what really make fried rice pop. My son used to chef at a Japanese steakhouse and I've got to tell you, he makes some awesome fried rice. Once we were out of sesame seeds and it just wasn't the same. Even using the oil. I'd try to add that to yours. You sprinkle the seeds on and stir in just before serving. They really make a difference. You can get them already toasted which is what I would recommend. We've not been real successful toasting them ourselves. Some would burn and others wouldn't toast. Just easier to get them already toasted.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrakenFan69 View Post
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,

Kraken Fan #69
Welcome to DC.

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Old 08-23-2011, 10:39 AM   #14
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Try adding some ginger and pork...or at least some pork fat. You can't go wrong with pork fat:)
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:12 AM   #15
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First thing first. You have to have good rice. You need to take good quality long grain rice. If you know that you are making it for fried rice specifically, make sure to slightly under cook it. Then when you fry it you will not get a mush.
Second you must have good soy sauce. There are quite a few on the market these days. Recently I found Lee Kum Kee brand soy sauce that is awesome. Check your market, or if you have Asian market check them out.
Preheat oil add rice and make sure to stir the rice as you fry so it is coated with oil completely, only then you should add soy sauce. Do not add to much at first add some stir well, try and then you can add more if need to be.
What you add to your rice is totally up to you. I usually make it vegetarian. I add fried egg, omelet like, shredded carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts. I do not like peas; to me they ruin the whole taste. Whatever ingredients you like should also be sautéed with some soy sauce and then mixed into rice.

Like everybody said No tomato sauce.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:19 AM   #16
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I like many of the mentioned ingredients in mine but diced bacon puts mine in the fabulous category.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:57 PM   #17
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I like many of the mentioned ingredients in mine but diced bacon puts mine in the fabulous category.
I agree wholeheartedly, Kayelle! I also season the bacon well during it's cooking, so that the end product adds both the bacon flavor and the seasoning to the rice. Same with any veggies I add. I Wok fry them first and season them. *Then* add them to the rice to mix well while frying the rice. Shredded and diced fine, pork roast is also a great way to flavor fried rice.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #18
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I'll try some pork fat. That sounds good. I am using good long grain rice. I live in a pretty small town but there is a decent Asian market and the owner is a great guy. I've been going in and stocking up on things to make sushi and yakisoba and beef sukiyaki. Every time I ask about another new ingredient he asks where I learned about this stuff. LOL. I'll try the toasted sesame seeds too!

Thanks for the tips and the welcome, I think I'm going to like it here!


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Old 08-23-2011, 07:20 PM   #19
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I'm for leaving out the tomato sauce and adding the five spice powder, onions, peas, carrots, eggs if you like it that way.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:01 AM   #20
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Pork fat? No way. I gurantee you nobody in any of Chineese restaurants uses any pork fat. So unhealthy. Oil, and not ven a lot of it is all you need.
Also when cooking rice did you add any salt? Was rice sticky when cooked? it is very important that it was not.
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