We’ve all eaten fried rice more times than we can count. Certainly enough times to know that a good fried rice can be hard to come by, and even harder to make at home without the right technique. I hope this basic Golden Fried Rice recipe can demystify the process, and perhaps ease some lingering frustration!
What Is Golden Fried Rice?
Golden Fried Rice (huángjīn chǎofàn – 黄金炒饭) gets its name from the fact that you coat the rice in egg yolk before stir-frying.
It has a luxurious golden color and a pronounced rich and eggy aroma. Add an extra pinch of salt to really make it shine. It’s subtle but so flavorful!
Its simplicity also makes it a great recipe to demonstrate some key techniques for making great fried rice.
While we sometimes encourage substitutions and adaptations, read all of my tips below and try this recipe as written. Even if it’s just this once!
Keys to Good Fried Rice: High Heat & Moisture Control
The absolute keys to making a good fried rice are high heat and moisture control. This prevents sticking, and helps you achieve that elusive wok hei (the “breath of the wok”) seared flavor.
Ultimately, it’s the wok hei that makes all the difference between a respectable fried rice and a so-called fried rice.
Here are some tips to help maintain heat and control moisture:
- Cook smaller batches. This Golden Fried Rice recipe only serves two, for good reason. Residential cooktops simply don’t get hot enough to reliably generate wok hei, even at the highest settings. One way to solve this problem is to cook less. If you need to make more rice, make it in separate batches.
- Get a wok! Use thin bottomed cookware (like a wok), which heats quickly, and reheats quicker after cold ingredients are added. If you are interested in cooking Chinese food, it’s an investment that can last a lifetime. (See our advice on buying a wok.)
- Use our non-stick preheating method. To get a nice non-stick surface on your wok, preheat it until it’s smoking BEFORE adding oil. See our post on preventing food from sticking to woks/pans for more explanation.
- Avoid adding overly wet ingredients to your rice. Of course, even with that non-stick trick, we still get complaints about rice sticking to the wok. The bottom line is, even if you initially have a non-stick cooking surface, too much moisture will cause a loss of that non-stick effect. So again, cook in smaller batches to balance the amount of moisture in the wok with your stove’s BTU output. Also avoid vegetables that produce too much liquid—napa cabbage and other leafy greens. Stick to “dry” vegetables, like corn, carrots, peas, broccoli, and peppers, and blanch beforehand if necessary to reduce cooking time.
This golden fried rice uses choy sum stems, but you could also use asparagus, broccoli stems, or gai lan stems. Avoid loading this recipe with too many additional ingredients/vegetables. You want to highlight the flavor of the egg yolk!
The egg yolk coating on the rice actually cooks quickly, locking in the rice’s moisture to help prevent sticking also.
I do hope this simple and basic recipe can help you experience what a “virtuous” fried rice should taste like!
Golden Fried Rice: Recipe Instructions
Add the turmeric (if using), and mix until every grain of rice is well-coated. There should be no lumps or chunks of rice.
Preheat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the oil, and swirl it around the perimeter of the wok.
Add the rice, and stir-fry continuously for 1-2 minutes.
Toss in the vegetables, and continue stir-frying.
Once the rice grains are dry and start to pop around in the wok, taste and add an additional pinch of salt if needed. (A pinch of extra salt really brings out the flavor of this golden fried rice.) Stir in the scallions.
Golden Fried Rice
- 2 cups cooked white rice (refrigerated overnight)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to tatse)
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or dry cooking sherry)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup choy sum stems (or asparagus, broccoli stems, gai lan stems, etc.)
- 1 scallion (finely chopped)
- In a medium bowl, add the cooked white rice, egg yolks, salt, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, sesame oil, and turmeric (if using). Mix until every grain of rice is well-coated. There should be no lumps or chunks of rice.
- Preheat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the oil, and swirl it around the perimeter of the wok.
- Add the rice, and stir-fry continuously for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetables, and continue stir-frying. Once the rice grains are dry and start to pop around in the wok, taste and add an additional pinch of salt if needed. (A pinch of extra salt really brings out the flavor of this golden fried rice.) Stir in the scallions, and serve immediately.