Lucas Sin Makes Golden Fried Rice Four Ways
In this week’s episode of Chefs at Home, the Junzi Kitchen chef shares three variations on golden fried rice—ketchup, Buffalo chicken, and asparagus with XO sauce.
After chef Rawlston Williams cooked two different Caribbean dishes with salted cod in last week’s episode, this week Sin is making golden fried rice. He makes a traditional recipe, and then also prepares three variations on it, saying you can “take it into any territory”—ketchup fried rice, Buffalo chicken fried rice (with a glorious swirl of ranch on top), and finally, asparagus with XO sauce fried rice—all using ingredients he had available in his fridge. He also shares the top five Chinese dishes he thinks everyone should try, including Cantonese steamed fish and a “perfectly steamed bowl of regular short-grain rice.” Read on for his step-by-step methods and follow along with the video above.
First Thing’s First: Golden Fried Rice
Sin begins by making traditional golden fried rice, which he explains involves coating the rice in egg yolks before stir-frying. You want every grain to be covered in a thin layer of egg, which provides umami flavor and also helps keep the grains from sticking together. It’s an Imperial technique, Sin notes—Chinese Imperial cuisine “dates back thousands of years,” per the video, and “often features elaborate cooking methods and unique visual presentations.” Sin says that many dishes we know in Chinese cooking today “that are complicated to make” (e.g. Peking duck) trace back to those kitchens.
For the rice, you’ll need about three cups of cooked jasmine rice (he recommends using a rice cooker), two eggs, about four cloves of garlic, a one-inch knob of ginger, “two sprigs of scallions,” and half a small onion. You can also use any day-old cooked rice you have. Before firing up the pan, Sin preps and cuts the scallions, garlic, ginger, and onion. Next, he cracks the all-important eggs, making sure to separate the whites into a separate container and season them with salt, and add a little oil (since an egg’s fat is in the yolks, you’ll need a bit of added fat to scramble the whites on their own). The yolks, on the other hand, go into the rice, and Sin mixes them well to ensure the grains are covered.
Now, it’s time to stir-fry, and it’s going to happen quickly. Sin grabs salt and sugar, and says to get the pan “super, super, super, super, super hot, as hot as it can get.” He doesn’t believe in using woks at home, and says that the best way to approximate high-heat wok cooking at home is to use a pan that has “as much of a flat bottom surface as possible.”
Once the oil is hot enough, the ginger goes in first, followed by the scallions and the onions. Next comes the egg-yolk rice, and then the garlic, sugar, and salt (use a 2:1 salt-to-sugar ratio). Sugar is added to savory dishes in Chinese cooking to make them taste more savory, Sin says, just like with adding salt to a dessert. He then pushes the rice to one side of the pan, moves it so the empty spot is right over the heat, and adds oil to that spot. In go the egg whites, which he scrambles, breaks up, and then mixes into the rice. He says to “check your work” and give it a taste to see if the seasoning needs to be adjusted. (He adds a little more salt and sugar in this case.)
And there it is—golden fried rice. To plate it like they do in Chinese restaurants, Sin demonstrates packing it into a bowl, placing a plate on top of the bowl, and then inverting it and flipping the rice on to the plate, carefully shimmying it out of the bowl. With a touch of scallions for garnish, you’re all set.
Ketchup Fried Rice
Sin says ketchup fried rice is “probably one of the most elegant elevations of this basic fried rice recipe,” and although a lot of people think of it as a “necessary evil,” he says that’s not the case—it has a “huge history in places like Hong Kong” where he’s from, for example. For this variation, all you need to do is squirt a “generous” amount of ketchup onto the rice after the egg whites have been mixed in at the end, letting the sugars in the ketchup caramelize in the heat of the pan. Mix it in and the rice is ready to enjoy.
Buffalo Chicken Fried Rice
For his Buffalo chicken take on golden fried rice, Sin grabs hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot), diced cooked chicken, and ranch—he uses his favorite from Jet’s Pizza, saying it’s “the best ranch in the planet.” He notes that for this recipe, you’ll want to use one to two cups of cooked vegetables or meat “maximum” in proportion to the three cups of rice and two egg yolks. In the pan, he pushes the rice-and-egg white mixture to the side and adds oil to the empty spot, using it to warm the diced chicken. Then, he tosses it all together, drizzles on the hot sauce and the ranch, and also adds some ketchup and paprika for color. After giving it a taste, he adds a little more ranch and sugar. It all gets plated and topped off with a swirl of ranch, precisely dispensed from a squeeze bottle.
Asparagus with XO Sauce Fried Rice
Last and definitely not least is the fried rice with asparagus and XO sauce, which Sin says is “kind of one of the classic Cantonese banquet versions.” (XO sauce was created in Hong Kong, and is “traditionally made from dried seafood, aged ham, chiles, garlic, and soy sauce,” per the video.) After prepping the asparagus and cooking it, he makes the fried rice, and then pushes it to the side just like with previous iterations. He adds the asparagus and mixes it in, uses chopsticks to add in some XO sauce (be sure to save a little for garnish), tosses it together, and then checks his work.
With that rice done and plated, Sin grabs all four of the different types of rice and gives them a try. The verdict? “They are all so good.”
Come back on Monday, October 12 for our next episode of Chefs at Home, featuring Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions.